Despite a recent study questioning the benefits of organic food – Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? A Systematic Review – it’s difficult to dismiss the idea of eating fewer pesticides as not beneficial. Organic food is – at its heart – a healthier way of consuming produce and dairy products. However, is the higher cost of organic products really worth the higher price tag?
And the answer is, yes – with a caveat. Some items are definitely worth seeking out for the organic label and others aren’t nearly as important to shop for. But first it’s necessary to understand the term organic when it applies to produce, dairy or meat.
Food that is labeled “100% organic” means that it contains no synthetic ingredients and therefore it can use the USDA seal. Food that is simply labeled “organic” means it’s at least 95% natural. Any food that is labeled “made with organic ingredients” must be 70% organic. And meats, eggs and cheese that say “organic” mean that the items are hormone free.
It only makes sense to purchase items like dairy, meat and cheese that are hormone free, because studies have linked growth hormones to early onset of puberty in teens. The cost for meats, eggs and cheese can be more than conventional items depending on the store or source. However, the cost isn’t really that much more for non-hormone milk.
It’s a different story however when it comes to fruits and vegetables. You will find a decent sized price jump between conventional items and organic ones. So, when considering what to buy keep these facts in mind. The most susceptible items to pesticides are: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, spinach, lettuce, potatoes and imported grapes.
The items that are the least susceptible to pesticides are: Papayas, broccoli, cabbage, bananas, kiwis, asparagus, mangoes, pineapple, frozen peas and corn.
Whether or not the expense is worth the difference between organic and conventional food is up to the consumer, but the case to shop organically whenever possible is a compelling one.