What is organic produce?
Organic produce is made with fewer pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides on and in the food and soil, so fewer of these carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and hormone-disrupting additives are ingested into your body. There is much to read on this subject, but here are two sites to begin:
The Environmental Working Group, the USDA, and The Organic Effect.
Environmental Working Group; The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen
“Know Your Environment, Protect Your Health”
The Dirty Dozen:
These are foods containing the most pesticide residue and should be bought organic when possible:
The Clean Fifteen:
These foods contain less pesticide residue, and are safer to buy non-organic, if you cannot find organic products:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Sweet potatoes
Check out foodnews.org for the full list of 48 fruits and vegetables with pesticide residue data. Then click back on EWG’s home page for more information on consumer products, GMOs, farming practices, and energy and water use, to stay informed.
What is Organic Agriculture?
Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use. Organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors follow a defined set of standards to produce organic food and fiber. Congress described general organic principles in the Organic Foods Production Act, and the USDA defines specific organic standards. These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives.
Organic farms and processors:
Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
Support animal health and welfare
Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
Only use approved materials
Do not use genetically modified ingredients
Receive annual onsite inspections
Separate organic food from non-organic food