The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
5 Kids' Snacks You Should Always Buy Organic
By Nicole Ferox
Did you know that in order to receive organic certification, packaged foods must be free of not only toxic pesticides but also thousands of added chemicals like artificial preservatives, colors and flavors? Only 40 synthetic substances have been reviewed and approved for organic packaged foods. By contrast, thousands of chemicals can be added to conventional packaged foods, many of which don't require independent government review or approval for use.
Using the ingredient information in our Food Scores database, EWG's scientists compared organic and conventional packaged snack foods and put together this roundup of the kids' snacks you should always buy organic – to avoid additives and residues that can harm children's health.
1. Cheerios (and Other Oat Cereals)
Why? Sadly, EWG's laboratory testing found that this quintessential toddler finger food can be contaminated with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weedkiller, which is making headlines this year because of its potential to cause cancer, and BHT, one of EWG's top food additives of concern, a common cereal preservative synthesized from coal tar or petroleum that causes lung and liver tumors in studies of laboratory animals.
2. Granola Bars
Why? As with oat cereals, conventional granola and granola bars may contain toxic glyphosate residues, because oat plants are often sprayed with the pesticide just before harvest. Granola bars also often contain BHT, a common chemical preservative of questionable safety, especially for children.
Look at 18 Rabbits versus Quaker Chewy bars, below. The conventional bars have higher overall processing concerns, may contain genetically modified sugars and oils, and/or dairy products derived from animals treated with antibiotics and growth hormones. So even with high amounts of sugar, the bars made with organic oats score better in our Food Scores database.
Why? We know crackers aren't particularly nutritious (a bit more so if your kids eat whole grain versions, and in that case we salute you) but conventional crackers also pack artificial colors, flavors and sometimes TBHQ, a flavor additive linked to a variety of health and behavioral concerns.
4. Cheese Sticks and String Cheese
Why? By choosing organic dairy products like cheese sticks and string cheese (which in lower fat versions are a convenient choice for a protein-rich kids' snack) you'll avoid antibiotics given to conventional dairy cows to prevent disease and synthetic growth hormones like rBGH, used to boost milk production, a practice outlawed in Europe due to animal welfare concerns and potential effects on human health.
5. Chicken Nuggets
Why? In addition to antibiotics, which are contributing to the growth of antibiotic resistant superbugs, and growth hormones used in conventional meat production, processed chicken nuggets, loved by children everywhere, may also contain artificial flavors, corn and oils made from genetically modified organisms, high amounts of salt, and sodium aluminum phosphate, a stabilizing additive linked in laboratory studies to neurodevelopmental effects and on EWG's food additive watch list.
- There's a Toxic Weedkiller on the Menu in K-12 Schools Across the ... ›
- Organic Food and Farm-to-Table Pioneer Alice Waters Is Creating a ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Erica Cirino
Visit a coral reef off the coast of Miami or the Maldives and you may see fields of bleached white instead of a burst of colors.
By Jason Bittel
High up in the mountains of Montana's Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.
By Bob Curley
- The new chicken sandwiches at McDonald's, Popeyes, and Chick-fil-A all contain the MSG flavor enhancement chemical.
- Experts say MSG can enhance the so-called umami flavor of a food.
- The ingredient is found in everything from Chinese food and pizza to prepackaged sandwiches and table sauces.
McDonald's wants to get in on the chicken sandwich war currently being waged between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.
By Andrea Germanos
Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.
By Tim Radford
The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began — leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.