Organic fruit and vegetables have been showing up in our supermarkets taking up more and more space on the produce counters. They usually cost more so why should we buy it?
Let’s first answer the question: “What exactly is Organic food?”
The produce is grown without synthetic fertilizer or pesticides and livestock products come from animals that have been given organic feed and have not been injected with antibiotics.
Because we know so little about organic food, many health conscious consumers believe the product will be fresher. Surprisingly, the opposite seems to be true. When tested, organic foods had a much higher levels of bacteria than the conventional. Although it is not harmful bacteria, it does shorten the shelf life of the produce.
Eating broccoli that is turning yellow may not bother us if the taste is not altered but meat products that are not fresh can be downright dangerous.
The reason for the lack of freshness is partially because the distribution systems for organic products aren’t as well-developed as they are for conventional agricultural products and it’s taking longer to get them to the market. So, if you’re hooked on organic food, it’s best to get them at a local Farmer’s Market.
Apart from freshness, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that even after washing, some fruits and vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others.
As a result, researchers urge consumers to buy organic food where possible but if the cost is prohibitive or organic food is not available, they have developed a list of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables.
Must-buy organic foods.
Fruit: Apples, cherries, grapes, imported (Chili) nectarines, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries.
Vegetables: Bell peppers, celery, potatoes, spinach.
Other organic foods worth considering.
Milk, beef, and poultry.
No need to go organic with these foods.
Fruit: Bananas, kiwi, mangos, papaya, and pineapples.
Vegetables: Asparagus, avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, onions, and peas.
These products generally do not contain pesticide residue.
Seafood: Wild or farmed fish can be labeled organic, despite the presence of contaminants such as mercury and PCBs. There are no USDA organic certification standards for seafood. Producers are allowed to make their own organic claims.
Cosmetics: Having “organic” or “natural” in its name doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safer. Only 11 percent of ingredients found in personal-care products, organic or not, have ever been screened for safety.