The Search for Quality Organic Whole Food

Cheryl Long talks about avoiding processed foods and choosing quality organic whole food instead.

| December/January 2001

The search for quality organic whole food.

As America's interest in natural and organic foods grows, the food industry's hype seems to expand proportionally. Consumers are finally realizing whole foods are more nutritious than highly processed products and seasonal, locally grown produce is a more sustainable, intelligent choice than fruits and vegetables shipped thousands of miles. Awareness about the host of problems caused by chemically dependent agriculture continues to grow. The search for quality organic whole food continues.

But even when people are motivated to make better choices, the hype, exaggeration and downright deception of the food industry can make it tough for consumers to figure out which products are the best. Agriculture spends $100 billion each year to produce the food we eat. Food companies spend four times that much — $400 billion annually — to market the resulting products, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates. So much high-powered advertising obscures the truth about many products.

Decoding Organic Labels

Here is what the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Organic labels mean:

• Products labeled "100 percent organic" must contain only organically produced ingredients, excluding water and salt.

•Products labeled "organic" must consist of at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients, excluding water and salt.

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