Be mindful of the 'health halo' when it comes to organic foods

Be mindful of the 'health halo' when it comes to organic foods
This March 16, 2011, file photo shows organic radishes at the Pacifica Farmers Market in Pacifica, Calif. (AP Photo, File)
It's Washington Organic Week, a seven day celebration of organic agriculture.

The governor's office says sales of organic crops and livestock in the state are growing. And that's good, right?

"We know that organic is good for the environment and we know that organic products are good for the people who are picking them," said Dr. John Swartzberg at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

But Swartzberg cautions us to be mindful of the "health halo" effect that can make us believe organic food is healthier than it really is.

Here's what happened when researchers asked people to taste potato chips, labeled regular and organic.

"They believed that the organic tasted better, had fewer calories and had better texture, but little did they know that both of the products were the same," Swartzberg said.

What does it mean when you see the USDA certified organic label? It means the food is grown without most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and has not been genetically modified.

Certified organic meat comes from animals fed 100% organic feed and that were not given antibiotics or hormones.

More Info:

The Organic Health Halo Effect

Be Well: The Right Reasons to Buy Organic

Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means