PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Across the country, the number of farms growing organic food is increasing.

Organic means crops are grown without synthetic fertilizer or pesticides, no artificial hormones or antibiotics for the animals.

You know they’re doing it right because strict organic standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture are enforced through yearly inspections and certifications.

All that scrutiny earns the food a USDA organic seal and that’s what you want to look for when you’re shopping.

Registered dietitian Joan Salgy Blake says that sounds simple, but you have to know about different levels.

For instance, if you buy different fruits and vegetables labeled organic, you can be sure they are 100 percent.

For products made with multiple ingredients, the seal means they are at least 95 percent organic. But if a package just says it contains organic ingredients, it could be as little as 70 percent organic and it won’t get the USDA seal.

Another bit of insider information is that while many people feel organic foods are healthier, you still have to choose wisely.

For instance, one kind of chips are made with organic corn, but contain the same amount of calories and salt as the non-organic kind.

So look for the seal and remember the organic levels and you’ll get your money’s worth.

United States Department of Agriculture
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Kristine Sorensen