You've heard the monikers "health nut,"
"granola," and "wheat-germ head" applied somewhat
disdainfully, but food fears and the flavor factor are now
pushing common folk to go organic like never
When chef Jesse Cool opened Flea St. Cafe in Menlo Park 21 years
ago, she feared the word organic on the menu would scare people
away. Paul Buscemi, chef at trendy Incanto restaurant in San
admits organic food used to look "kind of raggedy." But today, he
buys organic whenever possible, and Cool's three restaurants
proudly tout organic menus.
"Organic food is grown seasonally, and food grown in its rightful
season has more flavor and taste," says chef Nora Pouillon, owner
of Restaurant Nora, a four-star, certified organic restaurant in
American consumers increasingly agree. Chefs like these may have
led the way to organic ingredients, but it's grocery shoppers fed
on a steady diet of scary news about pesticides, food-borne
diseases, and genetically engineered plants, who have turned to
organic produce and packaged foods to help allay their fears and
improve their health. But not everyone has bought in.
"The health risks associated with pesticide residues on food are
not at all established," Dr. Gilbert Ross of the American Council
on Science and Health, which lobbies against organic agriculture,
told The New York Times. "I think the amount of pesticide residues
to which we are exposed on our foods pose no significant health
risks to human beings."
An Organic Apple A Day
But Americans are increasingly aware of connections between diet
and health, such as studies that have shown that 35 percent of
cancers are linked to eating habits. Seventy-nine percent of
Americans worry about the safety of their food. So, many U.S.
consumers, according to the Economic Research Serv-ice of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, choose organic food for its perceived