Know Food Now Is Eating Organic Worth Your Money | Know Food Now

Monday, September 10, 2012

Is Eating Organic Worth Your Money

Of course you're worth it. And if the choice were that simple, everyone would choose health over money. But are organic foods really more healthy?  Is the higher price justified?  Is there a conspiracy undermining the efficacy of organic foods? READ MORE.

Some suggest a recent Stanford study is just that. The findings, published September 4, 2012, in the "Annals of Internal Medicine," conclude that  "The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria." 

True believers in the organic food movement have been quick to point out fallacies in the study. Their argument is that food is a delivery device for artificial colors, additives, preservatives, added growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, insecticides and so much more.  Robyn O'Brien at "Huffington Post" says the monniker "organic" is about how food is grown, not how much nutrition it contains. The National Organic Program final rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lists standards for organic food production. Ms. O'Brien takes umbrage with the Stanford study for not measuring these added ingredients.

But the label "organic" does not mean that farm workers are handpicking bugs from our produce. It just means that the pesticides used in organic farming are derived from natural as opposed to synthetic sources. But,natural pesticides have been studied less than synthetic ones.

While some people think organic farming could sustain the world's population, agribusiness is still key to food production in the US and additives that enhance production are used. So the real question is whether or not food additives, preservatives and pesticides are safe. The US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs is charged with regulating the use of pesticides for the sole purpose of protecting consumers. To further this program,  in 1996, the EPA created the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) to make sure that the food pesticide tolerance levels were brought up to date within ten years, or 2006. The Agency believes they have accomplished their goal  of making safe and effective pesticides available to support the production of healthy food.

The Lempert Report (2/29/2011) which provides news and commentary about the food industry, quoted

Dr. Daniel Goldstein, Senior Science Fellow and Lead, Medical Sciences and Outreach, for Monsanto, as follows:  "There is no convincing data to suggest that pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables cause harm to health."

If you have reason to believe that our government agencies are not doing an adequate job protecting our food supply, there are strategies you can use to get the best bang for your organic dollar buck. Pesticides do not penetrate all produce to the same degree so there is no reason to squander your fixed dollar investment on fruits and vegetables that do not contain pesticides. There are several lists called the "Dirty Dozen" and the the "Clean Fifteen" and others whose names are not as memorable which more or less agree on which fruits and vegetables contain the most and least pesticides.

Whether or not to eat organic or conventional foods should not be a David and Goliath argument. It's not about little organic farmers vs agribusiness or the environment. It's about food safety. If you think conventional food is harmful and organic food is worth the extra money, vote with your dollars to effect the outcome of these industries.

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