As we head into the holiday season, we all become bombarded with food advertising. The truth is, shopping for your family and making healthy choices is getting harder and harder. Finding a trusted source of information in order to make healthy informed decisions for your family is important, which is why CommonGround Iowa wants to introduce you to Dr. Ruth MacDonald.
Dr. MacDonald is a Professor and Chair of the Food Science and Human Nutrition program at Iowa State University. They recently sat down with Dr. MacDonald and asked her four questions on what the organic label on food means.
Question: What is organic food?
Answer: Organic is a means of producing food through guidelines defined by the USDA. These guidelines include what types of fertilizer and chemicals can be used, and those that are not allowed. There is often a belief there are no chemicals used to produce organic food. That is not true. Mainly, organic production limits the type of chemicals to those that are not synthetically produced.
Question: Are organic foods better for me and my family?
Answer: There is no reason to think that organic foods are safer, more nutritious or provide more health benefits than non-organic foods. This has been repeatedly shown in scientific literature.
Question: Why does organic food cost more?
Answer: Organic products are often times more expensive because they are less efficient to produce and require more hands-on labor to produce than conventionally produced foods. Additionally, consumers may be more willing to pay more for these foods.
Question: If you could tell women who are trying to feed their families one thing about making food decisions, what would you tell them?
Answer: Don’t focus on how the food was produced but instead focus on the overall nutritional value of the food. The U.S. food system is safe and there are many healthy options, both in the conventionally and organically produced items. Selecting foods with high nutritional value and eating a variety of foods is the best approach.
Iowa farmer Kellie Blair sums it up best:
As a farmer and mom I know there is a lot of fear when it comes to food buying decisions. I want consumers to know that no matter what they are choosing to purchase, the food is safe.”
The truth is we have one of the most trusted food sources in the world here in the U.S. We are lucky to have so many options when shopping in the grocery store. You can learn more about the differences between organic vs. conventionally grown food at findourcommonground.com.
Do you ever wonder where your food comes from? Do you feel overwhelmed with the number of food choices you have to make for your family? The farmers of CommonGround are a resource to educate families about food and farming. Get to know some of the farmers who raise food in your state.