More New Parents Feel Driven to "Go Organic"What is the Meaning of "Organic?"
The term "organic" refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Specific requirements must be met and maintained in order for products to be labeled as organic. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines organic as food that is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Only foods that are 95 to 100 percent organic can use the green and white organic seal on the label which indicates compliance to strict USDA organic standards and inspection. A prepared food that is labeled "made with organic ingredients" must contain at least 70% organic ingredients, but cannot use the USDA organic seal.1Are Baby's Only Organic® Formulas and PediaSmart® Complete Nutrition Beverages Certified "Organic?"
Baby's Only Organic® formulas and PediaSmart® Complete Nutrition Beverages are certified organic by OneCert. OneCert is a USDA approved government agency. Visit OneCert for more information. Baby's Only Organic® Formulas and PediaSmart® contain 95% or more organic ingredients and comply with all organic standards.
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Are Baby's Only Organic® Formulas and PediaSmart® Complete Nutrition Beverages Safe for the Environment?
Nature's One® chose to use powdered formulas versus ready-to-feed or concentrated liquid products because they are friendlier to the environment. Liquid products contain a great deal of water. So when shipping these types of product from factory to distribution outlets and stores, on an ounce per ounce basis, it will cost much more to ship a liquid product, more trucks would be needed, more gasoline is used, and gas emissions are increased. If these liquid products are not produced in the USA, transportation costs with their resulting non-green effects greatly increase. More energy is used to manufacture ready-to-feed and concentrated liquid products. Also, liquid products use more packaging material which ultimately results in increased waste trucked to landfills. For these reasons Nature's One® can provide its organic powdered formulas, regardless of the high cost of organic ingredients, at equal or lower prices compared to conventional liquid products on the U.S. market.
Baby's Only Organic® formulas and PediaSmart® are all made in the USA. They are powdered products packaged in composite canisters. Composite canisters are good for the environment. They are recyclable and on average contain 50% recycled content, 35% of which is post-consumer recycled materials. Composite cans are light weight because they are made of paperboard instead of tin. This reduces environmental waste and energy used in manufacturing and transportation. Nature's One® uses recyclable materials for all of its products and encourages customers to recycle. The use of powdered Baby's Only Organic® formulas and PediaSmart® reduces packaging, environmental waste and energy used in manufacturing and transportation.
Using a powdered formula also makes travel, especially air travel, easier. Because of the Transportation Security Administration's regulations regarding liquid products, the time spent going through airport security would be significantly decreased if using a powdered formula.
The movement toward the use of organic foods continues to grow and for good reasons. In addition to environmental motives, parents are driven to "go organic" based on their concerns for their children's health. With the growing awareness that the conventional US diet can be the cause of increasing childhood issues, such as ADHD, diabetes, allergies, and obesity, eating an organic diet is no longer a "fad." Some of the benefits of organic food include:
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- Organic foods contain fewer pesticides. Children are most vulnerable to chemical pesticide exposure because they drink more water, eat more food, and breathe more air on a per unit weight basis when compared with adults. Children also metabolize, detoxify, or excrete environmental agents differently than adults. Exposure to harmful pesticides at an early age can cause developmental and behavioral problems. A recent study linked organophosphate pesticide exposure to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).2 Federal law does not allow organic farmers to use these toxic pesticides.
- Organic foods may taste better. Although taste is an individual preference, many consumers are of the opinion that organic food tastes better. This may be due to the fact that organic foods do not contain artificial dyes, artificial flavoring agents, preservatives, or other chemicals to extend shelf-life.
- Organic farming is better for the environment. With organic farming, there is a reduction in pollution, conservation of water, reduction of soil erosion, increased soil fertility, and less energy usage.
- Organic foods may be more nutritious. Although there continues to be debate about this claim, many studies have reported the nutritional superiority of a number of organic foods versus their non-organic counterparts. For example, organic milk can contain more desirable fatty acids and antioxidants than found in conventionally produced milk.3 Agricultural scientists continue to investigate the nutritional superiority of organically grown foods, especially their higher content of many antioxidants.
- Organic foods do not contain genetically modified organism (GMO) ingredients. Genetically modified crops are designed to increase productivity and yield for farmers. Since genetic modification is a relatively new concept, little is known about the long term effects it may have on humans and the environment.
- Organically raised animals are not given antibiotics or growth hormones or fed animal by-products. Animals raised on organic farms cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones, and they must be fed organic feed and given access to the outdoors. Humane treatment, good nutrition, and a more natural living environment contributes to healthier animals with a better quality of life.
One comment often heard is that organic foods are more expensive than conventional foods. This is not necessarily the case. The growth of the organic industry has made many items such as fruits, vegetables, grains and milk comparable to their non-organic counterparts. Planning and strategizing can help you make organic purchases on a budget.
Some suggestions to stay within your budget when purchasing organic foods include4:
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- Plan menus ahead of time
- Buy in season
- Buy in bulk and freeze
- Buy from local farmer's markets and/or join a community co-op
- Join a community –supported agriculture program (CSA)
- Purchase frozen organic foods
- Do price comparisons of generic brands versus branded organic products
- Search for sales and clip coupons
- Plant an organic garden
If organic options are not available, choose fruits and vegetables that are least likely to have high pesticide levels such as avocados, mangoes, bananas, pineapple, kiwis, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, onions and watermelon. Each year, the Environmental Working Group puts together a list called the "dirty dozen" which includes produce most likely to have high pesticide residues. Their 2012 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ includes produce with high pesticide residues such as apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and kale as well as a list of fruits and vegetables with low pesticide residues. To view the complete list visit Environmental Working Group.
1. Paul MW, Kemp G, Segal R. Organic foods: Understanding organic food labels, benefits, and claims. HelpGuide.org. Available at: http://helpguide.org/life/organic_foods_pesticides_gmo.htm. Accessed November 2011.
2. Bouchard MF et al, "Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and urinary metabolites of organophosphate pesticides." Pediatrics, 2010; 125:1270-1277.
3. Butler G et al, "Fatty acid and fat-soluble antioxidant concentrations in milk from high- and low-input conventional organic systems: seasonal variation." J Sci Food Agric. 2008; 88:1431-1441.
4. Schaeffer J. "Savvy Shopping – Budget Friendly Ways Families Can Choose More Organics." Today's Dietitian. 2011; 22-26.