Organic Foods: What to Know

By Tonka Dobreva 05.17.2016 interact

You may have noticed an ever-growing organic produce section in your local supermarket, and more organic eggs, milk and meat options to choose from. The reason for that? Consumer demand. People are increasingly concerned about where their food comes, what they’re putting into their bodies, and the impact that certain food production practices are having on the environment. But what is organic food anyway? And why are people shelling out so much money to buy it when they’ve got cheaper conventional food options? Let’s dig in.

What is organic?

mother and young daughter planting vegetable in home garden field use for people family and single mom relax outdoor activitiesThe United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines organic agriculture as “products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics.” In order for producers of packaged foods, crops or meat to call their products organic, they have to abide by a set of standards to become certified, which cover the areas of “soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices and rules for food additives,” according to the USDA. They are also subject to product testing, and onsite inspections to ensure animal health and welfare, and that natural resources and biodiversity are being preserved—all of which translates into higher prices at the grocery store.

Conventionally produced foods, on the other hand, have far less restrictions and use synthetic pesticides that ultimately kill vital living organisms including pollinators like bees and butterflies, pollute the air and poison water systems. If pesticides used to grow our food can do that, what can they do to the health of humans over time? Of babies and growing children? And while these are some of the important questions many scientists, and social and environmentally conscious groups are asking, the USDA’s 2014 Pesticide Data Program summary revealed that “overall, pesticide residues found on foods tested are at levels below the tolerances set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and do not pose risk to consumers’ health.” 

Is it important to choose organic foods?

Mother and daughter shopping for broccoli at a grocery store

A 2012 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics also downplayed the importance of choosing organic, pointing to the lack of reliable research and highlighting the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables—no matter how they’re grown. The study also, however, stated that “Organic diets have been convincingly demonstrated to expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with human disease,” and recommends that pediatricians refer concerned parents to the Environmental Working Group’s “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides.”

What foods to buy organic

Fresh farmers market fruit and vegetable produce from aboveSo while it’s clear this debate won’t be settled anytime soon, hopefully more data will come out giving us more information to make healthy choices upon. In the meantime, here are a few of the fruits and veggies that have been found to have elevated pesticide residue levels over the years, and thus may be good options to go organic with:

  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Carrots
  • Strawberries
  • Green Beans
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes


  1. alyona

    I think its a bad idea because most of us would not want to eat organic foods and not all organic foods are healthy, and some could actually cause serious damage to your digestive systems while Fast food restaurants enable you to consume ready-to-eat, fresh, portion-controlled foods. If you want to eat healthy food but don’t want to prepare it at home, you can order something healthy from a fast food restaurant.

  2. Gigi Offield

    I think all of the above is the the answer.

  3. Janelle Garcia

    I think they should stop serving cafeteria food not just because it taste bad, but because it’s bad for you.

  4. zach

    thats really good

  5. Hunter

    Seems like eating organic food at schools is a better choice, but some kids won’t like that.
    Schools are keeping a low budget and charging us money for un-healthy pre-made food. We shouldnt have the same serving sizes we did in 3rd grade, while were in highschool.

  6. Ms. Trevino's 5th grade class

    i think it is bad idea

  7. elyse reed

    i think all of the above because they all are grown by farmers who just want to make money and are not really concerned about their customers health.

  8. Paige Toelke

    I think that tomatoes have more pesticide

  9. Ally Christman


  10. April Pickney's 3rd grade class

    We wanted you to know that we feel that marijuana causes more damage and is stronger than regular cigarettes.

  11. Gillian Fletcher

    We think all the above, tomatoes, strawberries, and apples have pesticides.

  12. brandon lewis

    I think all veggies is good for you and it help your body.It make it health and strong for you.

  13. Sarah

    I think all the food that are listed have pesticides.

  14. matthew sprouse

    i like this idea

  15. Joey

    i think schools across the world should change to a more heather lunches

  16. Tomas

    all of the above

  17. cameron

    I think that is cool and i would like to try it but i am a picky eater

  18. matthew sprouse

    This is a good idea

  19. cameron

    hey this is cool but i am a picky eater

  20. hunter tyson

    these are things i eat every day

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