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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Organic Foods – why so expensive?

Ever try to go “organic” and buy some organic fruit, vegetables or milk?  Then you look at the price and say, “Oh, my” and wonder why organic costs so much more?  So what gives, why do you have to pay more for the healthier organic option?

  • Chemicals, pesticides – one reason people buy organic foods is that they aren’t sprayed with all the pesticides and chemicals.  And organic farmers do raise their produce and products without the use of pesticides that are harmful to your health and harmful to the environment.  But this means farmers can lose more of their crop to insects, fungus and other plant diseases.  Also, without the chemical preservatives some foods won’t last as long on the shelf.    
  •  Hormones – many farmers use growth hormones or enhancers to make the animals grow faster and can go to market sooner.   Organic farmers don’t use these hormones but then spend the extra money as the animals like chickens take longer to reach maturity.        
  • Weeds – yes weeds make organic food more costly.  Rather than use chemicals to control weeds, organic farmers rotate their crops to maintain a healthy soil and to prevent weed growth.  Organic farmers also weed by hand, the old fashioned way, but more costly way to rid their fields of weeds.
  • Fertilizer – plants thrive on good soil.  Organic farmers don’t rely on chemical fertilizers but organic fertilizers which can cost more than the chemical variety. 
  • USDA Certification – to label their product “organic”, with the USDA Organic Seal, the farmer needs to meet strict standards.   To use this seal the farmer needs to ensure no antibiotics or pesticides were used.   USDA – accredited certifying agents verify the standards have been met.
How do you know if a food is “organic”?
  • 100%  Organic - The USDA Organic Seal means the product is certified organic, and all agricultural ingredients are certified organic.  Product will use the USDA Organic Seal or state it is 100% organic.
  • “Made with Organic”:  at least 70% of the product is certified organic.  Product will not have the USDA organic seal on the package.

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