Organic Food 101

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What is organic?

 

Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering and other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation. Cloning animals or using their products would be considered inconsistent with organic practices. Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food.

 

Not all of us can afford to go 100% organic. The solution? Focus on just those foods that are loaded with the highest amounts of pesticides, chemicals, additives and hormones and deploy your organic spending power on buying organic versions of these whenever possible.

 

So as an example; here are foods you should buy organic whenever possible:

 

Milk

The fat in dairy products is another haven for pesticides, antibiotics, and bovine growth hormones. These get passed on to you through commercial milk, cheese, and butter. Organic dairies do not use chemicals or growth hormones.

 

Coffee

Many of the beans you buy are grown in countries that don’t regulate the use of chemicals and pesticides. Look for the Organic label on the coffee package or can; it will give you some assurance that chemicals and pesticides were not used on the plants.

 

Sweet Bell Peppers

Peppers have thin skins that don’t offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They’re one of the most heavily sprayed vegetables out there.

Celery

Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the different chemicals that are used on conventional crops.

 

Lettuces

Leafy greens are frequently contaminated with what are considered the most potent pesticides used on food.

 

 

Grapes

Grapes can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods during the season and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape’s permeable thin skin.

 

Potatoes

Potatoes rank as the highest for pesticide residue. It may also be tainted by fungicides added to the soil for growing.

 

Tomatoes

Their easily punctured skins are no match for chemicals that will eventually permeate the whole tomato.

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