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Organic Guidelines

All indications point to a continuing upward trend in consumer, and by extension big business, interest in organic foods. Take, for example, the case of Walmart. Or, in the New England states where I live, McDonald’s deal with Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to supply Newman’s Own Organics coffee to the clown.

We are all aware of the benefits to the environment and our health from the absence of chemical pesticides and herbicides in and on our food (and rivers, etc.). Well, even better, of late, studies are showing there is additional merit by way of an increase in phytonutrients. In the March issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, an analysis of organically versus conventionally grown kiwis found the former to contain greater levels of both minerals and antioxidants. Similar results were obtained in a 10-year comparison study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

So, what exactly does organic mean? The USDA’s National Organic Program provides the technical details (or should that be technicalities?). And organic.org has a pretty site with a friendly feel, for a more general overview.

However, if you believe, as many do, that the trends just described spell trouble for the organic label, then the activist slant of the Organic Consumers Association could be just what you seek. And there’s the tough Cornucopia Institute, a self-described corporate watchdog for organic integrity.

Organic food is still often cost-prohibitive for quite a few health-conscious shoppers. This may change as demand increases. In the meantime, discussion of this conundrum among vegetarians, especially raw foodists, remains at a fever pitch, and it’s little wonder, given the massive quantities of fruits and veggies we consume. To help, I’d like to offer a simple suggestion for which foods it is more important to incur the expense and which can be safely purchased as conventionally grown.

Personally, I have been guided by the Dirty Dozen list compiled by the Environmental Working Group, with special emphasis on what I eat daily. These I try to get organic. Don’t fret if you see some of your favorites on the left, as there is also really good news on the right! :)

For the criteria used in determining the rankings
and to get a wallet card, click the image.

2 Responses to “Organic Guidelines”

  1. Emi says:

    Nice captcha! I love the “Dirty Dozen” graphic and am going to link to it on my site because it’s so important and easy to use. And I hope you’re right about the costs coming down, since I’d like to buy all organic but can’t afford to (not yet anyway).

  2. tev says:

    Excellent…very informative…
    thanks for sharing your research.
    The organic wave is coming!


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