What does it mean for food to carry the “USDA Organic” label? Is it worth the extra money? In order for any products to carry the term USDA Organic, they must contain at least 95% organic composites. Meaning, at least 95% of what the product is made of, whether it be a box of cereal or an apple, must be certified free of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering. Similarly, the methods used to produce the food must integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. (USDA, 2016).
So, is it worth the money? It depends on your budget. If you can afford to eat entirely organic, I can’t imagine it would negatively impact you; however, if you’re tight on money (like a certain person writing this article) you may benefit from purchasing what is referred to as the “dirty dozen” of food products, organic. This list includes: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes.
While organic foods are not considered more nutritious, they could be worth the extra money to eliminate the added uncertainty of food production methods. Either way, eat those vegetables!