FORT LEE, Va. (Army News Service, Sept. 18, 2007) - U.S. sales of organic foods have grown between 20-25 percent annually for the past seven years, and during that time, the Defense Commissary Agency has more than tripled the number of organic products available on their shelves.

To be labeled "organic," food must be produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, bioengineering techniques or ionizing radiation. With regard to meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products, organic means they come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.

"To ensure our patrons have available the products they want we keep an eye on trends. Because of this, you'll see organic selections on our shelves," said Patrick Nixon, DeCA director and chief executive officer Patrick Nixon. "Organic alternatives are side-by-side with similar nonorganic items throughout the commissary."

To find organic products in your local store, look for the circular green and white "USDA Organic" seal, which is on items where 95-100 percent of the ingredients are organic. Use of the seal is voluntary, so some products may simply state "organic" on the label without using the seal.

"If organic foods appeal to you, but their higher price takes a bite out of your food budget, make the commissary your first choice for purchasing organic," Mr. Nixon said. "Our overall price savings of 30 percent or more applies to organic products, too!"

For more information on choosing and using organic foods visit the DeCA Web site at Defense Commissary Agency

(Lynda Valentine writes for the Defense Commissary Agency.)