Black, white, green, and oolong teas— all caffeinated—come from the Camellia sinensis plant, whereas herbal “teas” are actually combinations of various flowers, herbs, and spices.
American families continue to buy more
organically produced foods and beverages,
with sales reaching $21.2 billion in 2008, according
to Nutrition Business Journal. But the current budget
pinch can’t help but affect shoppers’ decisions in the
aisles. Is it worth paying a premium for organic, and
if so, for which products? Ultimately, these choices are
personal and depend on concerns about pesticide use,
nutrition, and health. If you’re still unsure exactly what
you’re getting when you buy a product with the green
certified-organic seal, read on.
Who’s behind the label:
The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP; ams.usda.gov).
Regular black tea
consumption is linked
to decreased risk of
Antifungal and antibacterial white tea extract
Catechin-rich green tea
lowers stroke risk and
may help prevent
and some cancers.
Oolong aids weight loss
health by increasing
levels of the hormone
What it means:
• Prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs),
most conventional pesticides and herbicides, sewage sludge,
antibiotics, growth hormones, and irradiation.
• Organic producers record procedures and maintain cropland
free of prohibited substances for three years before earning
• The seal is permitted on commodities that are 100 percent
organic or made with at least 95 percent organic ingredients.
The USDA’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
identifies synthetic substances that may be used and nonsynthetic substances that cannot be used in organic production
and handling operations.
• For meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs to be USDA Certified Organic,
animals must be fed 100 percent organic feed, never receive
growth hormones or antibiotics, and not be routinely confined.
The NOP does not police animal treatment. Cloned animals or
their offspring also cannot qualify for the seal.
Look for it on:
Produce, dairy, eggs, beef, poultry, personal care products comprised
of plant ingredients, wine, and processed or packaged foods. –J.R.
CLIN TON HUSSEY / PHOTOLIBRARY