May 21, 2007

You like the concept of buying organic food, but not the sticker shock that comes with it at the checkout line. I can relate. Years ago, after I read Fast Food Nation, we started buying organic milk, eggs, and meat. Our bottoms stayed the same size, but our bottom line increased and our budget started feeling a little tight.

Last year, Consumer Reports (Feb. 2006) published a list of the Deadly Dozen, twelve fruits and veggies that you should buy organic whenever possible because their conventionally grown counter-parts tend to be laden with pesticides. They are:

Bell peppers
Apples
Celery
Cherries
Imported grapes
Nectarines
Peaches
Pears
Potatoes
Red raspberries
Spinach
Strawberries

Hmm. Makes a person think twice before taking the kids to a U-pick farm, where you eat as much as you put in your pail. (Also see Food News for more info.)

Consumer Reports also recommends organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy, as well as baby food. Studies have shown that babies who eat organic food have lower levels of pesticides in their blood. A summary of the Consumer Reports piece is available here.

The same article points out some interesting facts about labeling. For example, it notes that 100% organic is the highest standard, but a product label “organic” only needs 95% organically produced ingredients. “The remainder can be non-organic or synthetic” (Seafood is an exception because the USDA lacks standards for organic seafood labeling.)

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