East Texas Grocery Stores Are Adding More Organic Foods - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/05/06-Tyler

East Texas Grocery Stores Are Adding More Organic Foods

More East Texas grocery stores are giving additional aisle space to organic food.   It's an industry already, bringing in tens of billions of dollars a year. But here's the question. Is organic really healthier for you and your family?  Today, we found out.

You have seen the labels and they seem to be popping up just about everywhere, buy organic.

"Today in store we are carrying over 900 health and organic items and 10 to 15 years ago it was less than 100," says Rodney Reece, Perishable Supervisor for Brookshire Grocery Company.

Reece says the increase is because customers have been asking for organic.  

"We have seen our customers choose that lifestyle and we are trying to meet that need," says Reece.

But what does organic really mean? Registered dietitian, Marci Wright with Mother Frances Hospital explains...  

"Organic refers to how the foods are produced and handled.  What is used to prevent insects from feeding on the products on what is used to prevent the growth of weeds and those type of things, it's not a claim of how healthful the food or how safe it is," says Wright.

So, health wise are organic foods better?  

"Nutrition wise not necessarily but where the benefit of organic foods should not be grown with any pesticides.  The concern over time is the exposure to pesticides that may increase some forms of cancer.  I think that is a distinct possible although one can not point to a certain pesticide and say this will give you colon cancer or breast cancer, you can't do that," says Wright.

The demand is causing grocery stores where you shop, like Brookshires and Wal Mart, to create their own organic brand.  Wright says if you do buy organic, you should look for the USDA organic label which means it meets the guidelines to be labeled as organic.

Now, you will pay more for organic foods, they cost more than the others. However, Reece with Brookshire's, says organic prices have drastically reduced over the last 2 to 3 years. And he believes as organic growers increase their supply of the foods, the prices may go even lower.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com

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