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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA looking for more organic food choices

    The availability of organic food is on the rise in campus restaurants and stores, despite the high prices of purchasing such food and its low local availability.

    “”We live on a rock in Southern Arizona, (and) it’s much harder to find good and cheap organically grown produce compared to New York or Washington, where it is lush and easy to grow organic food,”” said Victoria Christie, UA assistant director of dining services.

    To be considered an organic product, the source company must be certified by the National Organic Standards Board, part of the United States Department of Agriculture.

    The board prohibits the use of irradiation, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics in meat and poultry and the use of non-organic feed for livestock in foods that receive certification.

    Foods that meet those standards are available in many varieties at Highland Market and the Student Union Memorial Center, Christie said.

    Organic items available in on-campus stores include milk, bread and yogurt, as well as Amy’s brand organic meals sold at Highland Market.

    On Deck Deli offers organic bread made by Alpine Valley Bread Company Inc., and Core has organic toppings.

    Dining Services had developed a relationship with Natura, a Nogales, Mexico-based company that has been producing organic produce for more than 20 years.

    The company does an excellent job and their product is usually fresh and healthful, Christie said, but it does not have a way of sending produce directly from Sonora, Mexico to Tucson. Natura has to ship its products to a distributor in California before they can come to the UA.

    As organic food does not contain preservatives, it may spoil during such a trip she said.

    Another challenge is that the price of organic food is often twice that of non-organic food, making it hard for Dining Services to provide reasonably priced food for students, she said.

    “”The problem is cost – we want to see the price go down so we can provide the best organic food for UA students,”” she said.

    Students interviewed about the availability of organic food at the UA felt apathetic about the idea, but Christie said the demand for organic food is increasing.

    “”If you look at Core or IQ Fresh during lunchtime, you know the demand for organic and healthy food is on the rise,”” she said.

    To deal with demand for organic and healthful food at the UA, Dining Services is revamping the Cellar Restaurant and Lounge over the summer break to carry organic meat free of human-injected hormones and chemicals, Christie said.

    “”We are answering the call for organic food and doing everything we can to make it better,”” Christie said.

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