I receive lots of questions about eating “Organic” when I teach cooking classes. I thought I would give you a quick run down of some of the things you may want to think about when choosing groceries. First of all some quick definitions:
Organic: In the United States, this means that at least 95% of the ingredients in the food must be organically produced to wear the USDA Organic label. This means 95% of the foods must be produced without any hormones pesticides or other dangerous chemicals.
Natural: There is no official USDA definition of “Natural” so a food manufacturer can use this term how ever they wish.
Locavore: Someone who tries to eat foods produced in their own area. If you shop at a farmers market or a store that specializes in food grown nearby, you are a Locavore.
You can do a quick web search to find lists of foods that are best to buy organic. The best advice I share is to eat a variety of different foods, always wash your produce and try to eat organic when possible – especially those foods you and your family eat often. For my family that means buying organic skim milk, yogurt, and other dairy products, celery, carrots, lettuce and organic poultry and meats. Even the large grocery stores are posting the country or state of origin for produce. Since I live in Georgia – I look for produce from Florida during the winter. This gives me the best options for “local” or at least regional produce.