You may hear the word organic on a daily basis, but what does it actually mean? Organic implies that produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Keep reading to find out when and what is most important to buy organic!
In 1990, Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in order to develop a national standard for organic food and fiber production. In 2002, the USDA finally implemented guidelines for food producers, handlers and certifiers. These labels add more opportunities for understanding the the quality of our foods.
100% USDA Organic
You may see the labels ‘Made with Organic’ and ‘Organic Ingredients’, don’t be fooled! ‘Made with Organic’ only requires that 70% of the ingredients are organic, while ‘Organic Ingredients’ has no specific % assigned. Although ‘Made with Organic’ must be non-GMO ingredients that comply with the National List and must be certified, ‘Organic Ingredients’ does not have to comply with either.
It’s true, organic foods tend to be more expensive and for those watching their grocery budget, you may be questioning whether it is necessary to buy organic. Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit, non-partisan organization, dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, aims to educate the U.S. on safe foods and household products. The EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ (aka Dirty Dozen and Clean 15) is updated each year and ranks pesticide contamination on 48 popular fruits and vegetables. The Dirty Dozen are the foods that have the highest pesticide residue while the Clean 15 have the lowest pesticide residue. Therefore, it is more important to purchase the Dirty Dozen organic, while the Clean 15 is less crucial. Keep this guide on your grocery list as a reminder when prioritizing your organic purchases.
EWG’s 2019 CLEAN 15
EWG’s 2019 DIRTY 12