USDA Organic

There's been serious back-and-forth lately about the benefits of organic food and whether it's worth the usually higher cost, thanks to a Stanford University study that claimed organic was no more nutritious than conventional food. This news made many want to write off organic as elitist and a waste of money. Organic proponents, however, have always known that an orange is an orange is an orange nutrition-wise – they choose organic because the foods have far fewer chemicals that harm human health and the environment, a fact confirmed by the Stanford study.

If those attributes are important to you, then you'll find that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's stamp makes it easy to find truly organic food. The USDA Organic seal on a sack of sweet potatoes or bag of mixed greens ensures they were grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides on farms that use sustainable, nonpolluting techniques. For multi-ingredient products such as cereals, soups, and snack bars, the seal means they have 95 percent or more organic content. Products made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients can say "Made with organic ingredients" on the label, but cannot use the USDA Organic seal.