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Organic vs. Conventional Produce: A Simplified Buyer’s Guide


Organic vs. Conventional Produce: A Simplified Buyer’s Guide

There are serious considerations when deciding between organic and non-organic produce. The first consideration that might come to mind is whether or not chemicals were used to treat the plants as they grew. The second is price. Here’s what you need to know about buying organic produce…and keeping tabs on your budget.

What are the major differences between organic and conventional fruits and veggies?

1. Organic farmers can’t plant seeds from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Find out more about just how much seeds really matter on the awesome “Seed Matters” website http://www.seedmatters.org/.

2. During growing season, organic farmers utilize natural fertilizers (compost, manure) along with beneficial animals, plants, traps, and/or natural pesticides to control pests. Conventional farming techniques include the use of chemical fertilizers.

3. Organic farmers use crop rotation, hand weeding/tilling, mulch, or natural herbicides to control weeds. Conventional farmers use chemical herbicides.

What are the advantages to choosing organic?

When chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are used on farmland, they eventually end up in the water system via runoff. They can also hurt animals in the area (even those that the pesticides aren’t targeted for). The practice of crop rotation done on most organic farms helps to preserve the integrity of the soil (and it’s the soil where our foods get their nutrients!). Finally, you can’t wash off every trace of pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer — which means some gets eaten. Research is still ongoing regarding the potential negative health effects of this.

How to tell for sure if a product is organic…

Check the 5 digit PLU code (the Price Look-Up code on the sticker). If it starts with a 9, it’s organic.

Download the guide in pdf form here http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/?tag=2012FoodnewsAd&gclid=CL38hba7sbgCFcue4Aod1UgAwA

Download the guide for iPhone here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dirty-dozen/id312336368?mt=8

Download the guide for Androids here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ewg.dirtydozen&hl=en

Do you purchase organic produce when you’re at the store? What are the foods you tend to buy mostly organic versions of?

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