Going Organic

Organic foods continue to grow in popularity in the United States. In 2002, they accounted for $9 billion in U.S. retail sales. So what's behind the wide appeal of organic?

Foods that are marketed as organic must have met standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Organic foods are frequently sought out by consumers because they are grown using lower levels of pesticides and avoid chemical exposures. However, organic food also has the reputation of being more expensive and challenging to find in the traditional grocery store.

Today as I drove to work, I listened with interest to a radio ad from a large local grocery chain that has decided to develop its own line of organic foods. I am happy to see that access to these products is improving, but I remain concerned about the comparatively higher cost of these products, for which there is little scientific evidence showing they offer greater nutritional health benefits than conventional products.

If organic foods taste better or are more accessible, then they are a sensible addition to your diet. However, the fact remains that fruits and vegetables should be a part of our balanced diets to prevent disease and improve health, no matter what their source: organic or conventional.