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Thursday, September 9, 2010

What is Organic Produce?

By Nan Jensen, FCS Agent

Fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy diet. They contain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other compounds called phytochemicals. Research has shown that people who eat generous amounts of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers.
However, many people are concerned about the pesticides used on fruits and vegetables, so consequently the interest in purchasing organic has grown significantly over the past several years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created an organic labeling program to help guide consumer choices. Organic foods are required to be grown, harvested, and processed according to national standards that include restrictions on amounts and residues of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "organic" foods cannot be treated with any synthetic pesticides, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. They may use pesticides derived from a natural source.

Next Thursday I will discuss which fruits and veggies might be your best choice to maximize your organic food dollars.


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