Seven Tips for Buying Organic Foods
1. When starting out, focus on organic alternatives to the foods your family eats most.
2. Try to add one new organic item to your cart each week. You can find organic versions of virtually every food your family eats.
3. Learn to read the new USDA Organic labels appearing on store shelves starting 10/21/02:
100 Percent Organic--may carry new USDA Organic Seal
Organic - at least 95% of content is organic by weight (excluding water and salt) and may carry new USDA Organic Seal.
Made With Organic - at least 70% of content is organic and the front product panel may display the phrase "Made with Organic" followed by up to three specific ingredients.
When less than 70 % of content is organic, may list only those ingredients that are organic on the ingredient panel with no mention of organic on the main panel.
4. Minimize your family's exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Studies have shown that U.S. consumers can experience up to 70 daily exposures to residues from POPs through their diets. The use of POPs is forbidden in organic agriculture. Reduce your family's exposure to POPs by purchasing the organic alternatives to the top ten* foods found most likely to be contaminated with POPs: 1) butter, 2) cantaloupe, 3) cucumbers/pickles, 4) meatloaf, 5) peanuts, 6) popcorn, 7) radishes, 8) spinach, 9) summer squash, and 10) winter squash. Source: Nowhere to Hide: Persistent Toxic Chemicals in the U.S. Food Supply, Pesticide Action Network North America, 2000, www.panna.org. *Presented in alphabetical order
5. Know which fruits and vegetables are the best choice for your family. Conventionally grown fresh produce is three to four times more likely to contain one or more pesticides than organic produce. Government tests show that conventional apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, celery, spinach and sweet bell peppers are the foods most likely to be contaminated with one or more pesticides. Choosing organically grown fruits and vegetables can significantly decrease the frequency and level of dietary exposure to pesticides. Source: Organic Center for Education and Promotion state of science review titled "Minimizing Pesticide Dietary Exposure Through Consumption of Organic Foods," May 2004.
6. Look for organic foods wherever you shop. Organic foods can be found at your favorite grocery store, natural food store or local farmers market. And remember, you can find products made from organic cotton, wool and linen too!
7. If you don't find the organic foods you're looking for, ASK. Many store managers are happy to make special orders for their customers or can help you find an alternative to meet your needs.