More guidance needed on organic deli meat: survey

by Bryan Salvage
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BRIDGEWATER, N.J. – Forty-five percent of mothers would buy more organic deli meats for their kids if they better understood the benefits, according to a new survey released by Applegate Farms, a leading producer of natural and organic meats and cheeses.

"So many people are confused when it comes to what different terms like organic, conventional or natural mean," says Amy Marlow, MPH, RD. The survey found 36% of moms were not sure, or thought that organic and natural mean the same thing on a deli meat label.

"And as the recession continues, it's tough to make a decision about buying more organic and natural foods, since they are sometimes more expensive,” she added. “People need to know what they're getting for the money."

The survey uncovered that 49% of moms don't buy organic deli meat because of price, while 26% said they can't find organic deli products where they live and shop. Eating organic food offers a whole range of benefits, Marlow said, including:

• Organic food is grown and produced without the use of synthetic pesticides.
• Organic and all-natural processed foods contain no artificial ingredients, including coloring and preservatives.
• Organic meats and dairy foods are produced without the use of antibiotics and synthetic hormones.
• Organic and all-natural food production is better for the planet, the company claims.

"The reality is all the benefits come at a nominal cost," Marlow said. "For instance, a sandwich made with Applegate Farms Organic Black Forest Ham costs $.14 more [based on 2 oz. serving] than a premium conventional brand."

An Applegate Farms Organic All-Beef Hot Dog has 70 fewer calories, half the fat and 220 fewer mg. of sodium versus a leading conventional brand, she added.

Marlow offers the following tips to stretching an organic grocery budget:

• Know the lingo. Conventional, organic, 100% organic, natural.....what does it all mean? Foods labeled organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.), must be free of synthetic additives and produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics. Meat labeled "natural" can be produced from animals fed a diet of bakery and grocery waste and treated with antibiotics, the company warns.
• When organic meat is on sale, buy more than needed and freeze it – even deli meats and hot dogs can be frozen.
• Organic deli meats can be used on sandwiches for lunch or a quick dinner. Organic deli turkey, ham, chicken or roast beef can also be used in dinner salads, soups, stews, sauce and casseroles.

The survey was conducted by Impulse Research online with a random sample of 1,052 women, ages 25 - 45 who purchase deli meat for their children between the ages of 5 -12. Research was conducted in June 2010. The overall sampling error rate is +/-3% at the 95% level of confidence. The survey was sponsored by Applegate Farms.
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