Dear Readers: ORGANIC FOOD is more readily available now than before, but what exactly does “organic” mean? Here is some helpful information from the United States Department of Agriculture:
If food has the “USDA Organic” seal, it means that it is certified organic and has met all of the standards necessary when inspected by a government-approved certified inspector.
For crops (i.e., corn, wheat), that means no synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, prohibited pesticides, irradiation or genetically modified organisms were used.
For livestock, it means antibiotics and growth hormones were not used, and health and welfare standards were met for the animals.
For other multi-ingredient foods, it means that it has at least 95 percent certified organic content.
There are three types of organic labels:
“100 percent organic” means it’s made with 100 percent organic ingredients.
“Organic” means it’s made with at least 95 percent organic ingredients.
“Made with organic ingredients” means at least 70 percent of ingredients are organic, and there are restrictions on the other 30 percent.
Hope this helps clear up any confusion! -- Heloise
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Dear Readers: Uses for an old tablecloth:
* Cut it up and make napkins out of it.
* Use as a dropcloth.
* Keep in the back of a car to put pets and plants on.
* Wrap big presents with it.
* Use for a picnic.
Dear Heloise: It is just my husband and me in the house, so when we use dishes, they get washed and put back on top of the stack. The bottom dishes were rarely getting used unless we had company, and the top dishes were starting to show wear. Now when I am putting plates back in the cabinet, I place them on the bottom of the stack. All dishes are used equally! -- Kim in Wisconsin
Great hint, Kim! The same can be done for sheets and towels to even out wear. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: As a soon-to-be new mom, I received a lot of good advice on what to put in the diaper bag. One thing mentioned was to recycle the bags that your newspaper comes in and use them to transport soiled clothing or toss a smelly diaper. I also found that other baby items (sheets) came in clear, heavy plastic bags that have snaps and can easily be reused. Best of all, both options are free! -- Jennifer K., Fort Wayne, Ind.
Dear Heloise: Here is a hint for those disposable pie tins, butter tubs, baby-food jars and round oatmeal containers: Give them to a preschool. Pie tins and butter tubs can be used for paint, glue, feathers or sequins for art projects. Somebody’s trash is another person’s treasure. I know we appreciate them. -- Christine in Fillmore, Calif.
Just be sure to call ahead to make sure the school accepts them. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I love that more manufacturers are using green apple to scent their products. I have lip balm, dish detergent and shampoo, all green-apple scented — fresh and yummy! -- Carol in Illinois
Send a hint to