Tuesday Tidbits: A little organic knowledge

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Here’s another indicator of how dumb I am. Up until about a year ago, I would never choose produce labeled “organic” over the normal, everyday produce. Well, one time I did buy some organic bananas because they were still green and all the other ones were too yellow. And I was pissed about having to do it. Because organic costs more – and I just couldn’t see why it was worth spending the extra money.

Forgive me. I did not know.

If I gave it any thought at all, which was rare, I thought it just meant the produce was grown without artificial pesticides or fertilizers. As someone who is old and set in her ways, that just didn’t strike me as such a big deal. But then I learned more.

I learned milk, meat, poultry and eggs are designated as organic if they are not treated with hormones, given to make the animals larger, or antibiotics, which are dispensed to keep them disease-free. This I found to be especially disgusting.

I learned food cannot be labeled organic if it has been genetically altered or irradiated. I further learned that irradiation means the food has been processed with radiation to kill germs.

I learned organic food regulations prohibit hydrogenated fat, phosphoric acid, preservatives, colorings, hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and 7000 other artificial flavorings that are permitted in conventional food. Yikes. That’s kind of scary.

But now I take these things into consideration when I am in the grocery store and start to think I don’t want to spend the extra couple of dollars. Because now I know. And in the words of my old friend, GI Joe - knowing is half the battle.

Oh, one more thing: Did you know all grocers are legally required to stack organic fruits and vegetables where they won’t be exposed to water runoff from the misting of conventional produce? Sitting there could contaminate organic items with pesticide residue. If a store is not following that rule, you may be wasting your money by buying organic produce there.


MizFit said...

huh. I didnt know some of that yet either. And I dont buy organic all the time (all $$ reasons) but do frequently.

that said, should it really be a place where I cut back? pesticides and radiation?!

I may need to rethink.

Housewife Savant said...

Aw, Jelly, sheesh. Why'd you hafta Go There.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I'm old and set in my ways.

I LIKE knowing (hoping) that my milk, meat, poultry, and eggs may have been treated with hormones. I want curvier curves and Mr. could Expect More.

I'm immunosuppressed to treat RA, so opting for food that been radiated keeps me safe.

Don't you understand the wholesome yumminess of hydrogenated fat, phosphoric acid, preservatives, colorings, antibiotics, GMOs and 7000 other artificial flavorings that are permitted in conventional food?

I take 'em in my shower and Expose Myself to the water runoff.

Seriously, you KILL me when you act like I'm supposed to learn something new. Sheesh.
I read with ears plugged, shouting "Lalalalalala," the whole while.

Aside: iceburg lettuce is NOT a good organic first food.
Where the h*ll is my Raid?

Tammy Howard said...

I appreciate organic and do try to buy it as often as possible, but, as MizFit mentioned, it does become cost prohibitive. The hubs is an all or nothing kind of guy. I'm more of the 'a little is better than nothing' school of thought. Doin' what I can!

kristisummer said...

Never was into the whole organic thing b/c of money reasons, but once I bought organic I really do like it better. Now, I have slowly been adding more and more organic to my shopping list. The little extra money is worth it.

Bernadette said...

Woah! Thank you for doing this post...I should send it to my mother! Actually, she's getting pretty good about buying organic because I won't shut up about it.

It can be a bit more expensive. But there are ways to save money (join a co-op, buy frozen organic fruits/veggies for smoothies, casseroles, and stir-fry, etc.), and there are some foods you SHOULD NOT BUY CONVENTIONAL (like BERRIES! NO ONE should eat conventional berries if they can help it!) and some where it's okay to buy conventional (onions) to save $$ to spend on other things (BERRIES). (P.S. There are a bunch of lists, but here's a good one:

P.S. One World Cafe isn't in my building (boo), but it is only a few blocks away! Yay! They have fabulous vegan & organic selections!

Camevil said...

After reading the umpteenth book about how bad factory farming in the meat industry is, I won't go near animal flesh or dairy unless it's at least certified organic. And let me say that Organic Valley cottage cheese is sooooo friggin' good over the usual Breakstone's brand.

I did not know about the produce stacking rule, but that makes me feel much more comfortable. Of course, the cynical side of me just knows that some of these companies have found or will find ways to bend the rules and get around the organic label at our wallets' expense.

Karen Brown Letarte said...

Hi, Divine Ms. J!! This is a great post. I lament daily the high cost of organic food. I will only buy organic meat, poultry, and dairy products. I will only buy organic celery, as it, along with peppers, are some of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed veggies available. I can't always afford organic peppers, but am going to have to rethink this since we eat more peppers now than we used to. When I think about the high cost of organic food, I get MAD. Just as everyone deserves quality health care, we ALL deserve SAFE food. Maybe if enough of us pitch a hissy fit about the high costs of SAFE food, someone will listen! Thanks for such a great post.

:) K

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

You know, I just love you guys. Your comments are always thoughtful, entertaining or informative. Sometimes all three at once.

I have been reading some fascinating articles on organic labeling and how the big corporations are trying to find loopholes in the laws to exploit for profit. Three of you (Cam, Bernadette and Karen) touched on future posts I am working on. Now I might not have to do them because you guys KNOW SO MUCH! I am really learning a lot and I appreciate you all taking the time to post your comments (B - thanks for the link!!)

Laura said...

Wow Jelly Belly you rock. You actually research this stuff?? :) you make my life easier :)

The Rambler said...

I'm glad I came.

Thank you for the information :)

Cause I'm the one that's really dumb.

Bethany said...

I didn't know most of that--- wow, very interesting post. I basically thought what you used to think...

Kristen said...

Very interesting. I didn't know all of that either but now I understand why the organic produce has it's own place in the middle of the produce department.

I like to shop at Sprouts for my produce. They have organic items there, as well as the hormone free, farm raised meat. But at prices I can actually afford.

MaryRC said...

thank you for the information, and the awareness. sometimes organic is less than the other fruits and veggies. i just bought organic pears 10 cents less per lb yesterday.

MaryRC said...

thank you for the information, and the awareness. sometimes organic is less than the other fruits and veggies. i just bought organic pears 10 cents less per lb yesterday.

Ree said...

So, I have this theory. I know you want to hear it.

My mother started her period at 14.
I started at 12.
My niece started at 9.

Hormones? That's my theory.

The extra $ have to be worth it.