Organic food is on a roll. Sales have doubled in the last decade, and organic foods are now available in 3 out of 4 supermarkets. We are willing to pay more for organics, mostly because we think they are healthier for us.

Organic foods are more nutritious:   Not exactly.  The science is mixed.  In 2012, a meta-analysis of 17 studies done by Stanford University  found very little difference in vitamin content between organic and conventional  produce.

Organic foods improve health. Maybe. Organic produce is significantly lower in pesticide residues than conventional.  Both adults and children who eat more organic foods have lower levels of pesticides in their bodies compared with those who eat little or no organic foods. Whether that translates to healthier lives isn’t known.

All organic producers are the same. Not by a long shot. Some farms practice techniques that go well beyond the standards.. avoiding even “allowed” pesticides and selling locally…while other farms barely squeak under the minimum compliance to standards.

Organic foods are less likely to cause food poisoning. Not true.An organic chicken or hamburger meat that you buy from a farmer’s market is no less likely to cause food-borne illness than conventional products.

The main reason to choose organic is to support a kind of food cultivation that preserves the soil and promotes a cleaner environment.  Nutrition and safety are not the primary goals.  Organic cultivation is not so much about the end product as it is about the process.

Only products that have been through a rigorous certification process to show that they meet the requirements may carry the USDA organic seal.  Foods with the seal may be labeled “100% organic” ( everything in it is organic).”organic” (at least 95% of the ingredients are organic).. or “made with organic ingredients” (at least 70% of the ingredients are organic).  This includes both whole foods and packaged foods.