Organic foods are becoming increasingly popular. Most grocery stores now have separate organic sections. And there are others who only sell organic items. People choose to consume organic food for a number of different reasons. But what truly is the difference between organic and non-organic foods?

The Difference?

The main difference between organic food and its non-organic counterpart is how the food is produced. Organic produce, milk, eggs, and meat are produced without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Farmers may use natural pesticides that have been approved for organic food production. They are also free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), antibiotics, or growth hormones. Lastly, the food has to be free from irradiation or ionizing radiation.

Regulation and Monitoring of Organic Food Vs. Non-Organic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an organic certification program. This program requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. And these standards regulate a number of food-related aspects including how they are grown, handled, and processed. Any product labeled as organic on the description or packaging must be USDA certified and may use an official USDA Organic seal.

The USDA does make an exception for producers who sell less than $5,000 a year in organic foods, however. These farmers and producers must follow organic food production guidelines, yet do not have to go through the certification process. These producers may label their products as organic, but they may not use the official USDA Organic seal.

Organic foods may be described as:

  • 100 Percent Organic – This description is used on certified organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, other single-ingredient, and some multi-ingredient foods.
  • Organic – If a multi-ingredient food is labeled organic, at least 95 percent of the ingredients are certified organic, excluding salt and water. Non-organic items must be from a USDA list of approved additional ingredients.
  • Made with Organic – Multi-ingredient products that have at least 70 percent certified organic ingredients. These products do not have a USDA seal.
  • Organic Ingredients – Products in which the ingredient list indicates which ingredients are organic. It also does not carry the USDA seal.

The Dirty Dozen

The “dirty dozen” refers to foods that you should buy organic whenever possible. These foods are the top 12 produce items grown with the most amounts of pesticides. They include:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potatoes

*List based upon the most recent 2019 EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

The Clean 15

The EWG also recognizes the top 15 food items produced with the least amounts of pesticides. And yes, you guessed it. These foods are referred to as the “clean 15”. They include:

  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn*
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Peas Frozen
  • Onions
  • Papayas*
  • Eggplants
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cantaloupe
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Honeydew Melons

*Per the EWG, a small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from Genetically Engineered (GE) seed stock. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid Genetically Engineered produce.

*List also based upon the most recent 2019 EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Should You Go Organic?

People choose organic for a number of different reasons – from protecting the ecosystem to less chemical toxicity. Organic food tends to be more expensive. However, many consumers believe the extra cost is worth it. And if you still are okay buying conventional, just remember that washing your produce doesn’t necessarily get rid of all pesticides and chemicals as it grows into the entire plant. However, it can reduce your risk and exposure, so be sure to always wash everything thoroughly.

Let Zock Family Chiropractic Help You Begin Resetting Your Health!

Chiropractic care is focused on allowing our spine and nerves to work to their potential. This results in not only allowing our organs to function but for them to function to their best ability. Dr. Zock would love to discuss your concerns in regard to resetting your health. Her vast knowledge of natural supplementation and body processes make her a great guide in helping you make the best choices for your body. Make an appointment in Cranberry today to schedule an introductory chiropractic treatment session. We can discuss your pains and needs as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice!

* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.

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