Posts Tagged ‘Organic foods’

Arsenic found in some organic baby formulas

Friday, February 17th, 2012

A recent study by Dartmouth College found that some organic foods that have brown rice syrup may have high levels of arsenic.

Brown rice syrup is used to sweeten some organic foods like some baby formulas and cereal bars.  It’s used in place of high-fructose corn syrup, another kind of sweetener. Arsenic is a natural element found in soil and minerals. High levels of arsenic may cause health problems. The study found that some organic baby formulas and cereal bars with brown rice syrup had higher levels of arsenic than the levels the government OK’s for bottled water.

While more research needs to be done, talk to your baby’s health care provider if you’re concerned about your child’s baby formula. Learn more about organic foods.

Pesticides and our kids

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

pesticidesfertilizersPesticides can protect us from bugs and disease, but they can get into our food and water and harm us, too. Here are some tips for protecting your child’s food:
• Wash all fresh fruits and veggies with water before your child eats them.
• Give your child fresh fruits and veggies that are in season. They are less likely to have been heavily sprayed.
• When possible, avoid giving your children foods that have been treated with chemical pesticides. Look for locally and organically grown.

How else can we protect our kids from pests (ants, roaches, mice) and the harmful chemicals in pesticides?
• Remove food and water that might attract pests. Leaky water pipes can attract thirsty pests.
• Destroy places where pests can live and breed. Examples: litter, plant debris.
• If you decide to use a pesticide, read the label first. Follow the directions exactly. Pay special attention to warnings, cautions and restrictions.
• Whenever you can, use non-chemical pesticides. But remember, even natural ingredients can sometimes be poisonous. Always read the label.
• Use only the amount recommended. Don’t think that twice the amount will do twice the job!
• If the label says so, wear plastic gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when using a pesticide. Be careful not to inhale fumes while applying.
• Cover all food before using a pesticide indoors.
• Keep children, their toys and pets away from the area where a pesticide is being used. Wait until the area has dried or until the label says it’s safe for them to come back.
• Don’t spray outside on a windy or rainy day.
• When using a pesticide outside, be sure it doesn’t blow or run into the swimming pool, the vegetable garden, the sandbox, or the neighbor’s yard.
• Don’t buy more than you need. If you have leftover pesticides, check with your local government. Some communities have special programs to collect and dispose of hazardous products.
• If you use a pest-control service, ask them for information about the risks and safety precautions for their products.
• Put the phone number of the Poison Control Center near your phone: (800) 222-1222.
• Store pesticides out of children’s reach. Use a locked cabinet or garden shed. Child-proof safety latches are also a good idea. You can buy them at a hardware or home-supply store.
• Never put a pesticide in a container that children might think is food or drink. For instance, a jar or bottle with a liquid pesticide might look like something to drink.
• Never place ant, roach, mice or rat bait where small children can get to them.
• Teach your children that pesticides are poison and that they shouldn’t touch them.
• Tell baby-sitters and grandparents about the dangers of pesticides.

The Environmental Protection Agency has more information about how to prevent poisonings in your home.

Organic Thanksgiving Dinner?

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

If your house is anything like mine, there’ll be LOADS of food at the dinner table on Thursday. As I get ready to help my mother prepare our Thanksgiving meal, I’ve noticed more organic foods are available at the grocery store. From organic turkeys to organic whipped cream, it seems you can by almost anything organic.

The New York Times Well column recently blogged about the cost of an organic Thanksgiving Day meal compared to a non-organic one. They found you could end up paying nearly 75% more when going all organic!

These rough economic times can make it hard to shop for food on a budget. And the American Dietetic Association says that more research needs to be done before we know for sure if organic foods are healthier or safer than other foods.

If you have a tight budget but want to buy some organic foods, try going for the foods that usually have more pesticide residue as compared to their organic versions. These include foods like lettuce, potatoes, apples or pears. But don’t sacrifice good nutrition for the organic label.  It’s more important that you eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and veggies than buy the organic whipped cream!

Are organic foods better for my baby?

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

We’ve all been there, standing in the grocery store, looking at fresh fruits and vegetables, and wondering, “Is organic really better for my family and me? Is it worth the extra cost?”  Before tearing your hair out, be sure you understand what organic means.

A vegetable or fruit labeled organic simply means the product meets certain standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For example, organic foods are usually grown with fewer pesticides than other foods.  Only special approved fertilizers and pesticides can be used on these crops.  Additionally, the product must be free from genetic engineering (often used to make food grow larger and faster) and radiation.

Organic foods usually cost more than non-organic foods. For instance, in May 2008, Newsweek reported that organic red delicious apples cost $1.99 per pound, while non-organic cost only $1.49. Organic eggs cost $3.99 a dozen; non-organic, $1.89.

There is a lot of discussion out there suggesting that organic foods are the healthier choice for families. But according to the American Dietetic Association, organic foods may not be any healthier or safer than other kinds of foods. We don’t have enough research to know for sure just yet.

What parents can do
First and foremost, it’s important for your child to eat a well-balanced diet. If organic foods are available and you can afford them, great; give them a try. But don’t sacrifice good nutrition for the organic label. Also, regardless of whether or not food is organic, always handle all food carefully and safely.

Other shopping and safety tips
• Buy vegetables and fruits when they’re in season. This will help ensure the best quality. For example, buy apples in the fall and berries and tomatoes in the summer. This also saves on fuel to transport produce from far away.

• Read labels carefully. Organic may not mean healthy. Some organic foods are high in fat, sugar or salt.

• If you worry about pesticides, peel all fruits and vegetables. Trim the outer leaves of leafy vegetables like lettuce and cabbage. But remember, peeling may also reduce nutritional value. Pesticides are sometimes found in the fatty parts of food. So remove fat from meat and the skin from fish and poultry.

Visit the March of Dimes website to learn more about organic foods.