NEW YORK, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The Union of Concerned Scientists wants to remind U.S. families that it is possible to make a holiday meal healthier and more environmentally friendly.
"Look for food produced in your region. Food travels an average of 1,500 miles or more from the farm to the supermarket, consuming fossil fuels and emitting air pollutants and heat-trapping carbon dioxide," said a statement from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"Regionally grown meat and produce not only travel a shorter distance to your table and arrive fresher, but may also come from smaller farms that often follow more environmentally friendly practices."
Organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic fertilizers, toxic pesticides and antibiotics. If organic turkey is not available, choose a turkey that has been raised without antibiotics, according to the organization.
"Also look for organic apples, celery, potatoes and green beans because these holiday favorites are among the fruits and vegetables that typically carry the highest pesticide residues," said the statement.
Choosing heirloom or "heritage" varieties such as American Bronze turkeys and fingerling potatoes helps support biodiversity.