Freebie: What Does Organic Mean Anyway?
From the April 2008 Issue of Everyday Food—great food fast from Martha Stewart
Between the Lines
Organic This buzzword is sprouting up all over the grocery stores. It usually means a food is more expensive, but is it better for your health?
What is Organic?
According to the USDA’s definition, organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy come from animals given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Produce must be grown without conventional pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers. Don’t confuse “organic” with “natural,” “hormone-free,” or “free-range.”
On Packaged Foods
Products certified an labeled “USDA organic” must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. Products that are at least 70% organic are allowed to use the phrase “made with organic ingredients,” but those that are less than 70% can only identity their organic components on the ingredient list.
Better For You?
Advocates believe organic food is safer, more nutritious, and better for the environment and animal welfare than conventionally produced food (people often think it tastes better, too). The USDA makes no such claims, and some experts want more evidence to support the superiority of organic foods. Stay informed and read labels to make the best choices.