Organic Foods: Are They Better for Baby?

Article Courtesy of The March of Dimes

We’ve all been there, standing in the grocery store, looking at fresh fruits and vegetables, and wondering, “Is organic really better for my family and me? Is it worth the extra cost?”

Organic foods are usually grown with fewer pesticides than other foods. But according to the American Dietetic Association, organic foods may not be healthier or safer than other kinds of foods. We don’t have enough research to know.

Some parents have decided to be cautious and to buy organic foods when they can.

What’s Organic?

If a vegetable or fruit is labeled organic, it meets certain standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Here are examples of the standards:

  * Only approved fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides can be used. Man-made products are discouraged. Organic farmers often use natural fertilizers such as manure and compost. Instead of using weed killers, they rotate crops, till, weed by hand, and mulch.

  * Genetic engineering and certain types of radiation cannot be used.

Certain organic standards also apply to animals used to produce milk, eggs and meat. For example, they may not be given hormones to promote growth or antibiotics for any reason. Also, the animals must have access to the outdoors, such as a pasture.

Foods that meet USDA standards can be labeled with the “USDA Organic” seal.

Organic foods usually cost more than non-organic foods. For instance, in May 2008, Newsweek reported that organic red delicious apples cost $1.99 per pound, while non-organic cost only $1.49. Organic eggs cost $3.99 a dozen; non-organic, $1.89.