|We travel all over the US helping people know more about food, ingredients, and issues that need our attention. We met some wonderful people in Shakopee, MN that just started a Natural Foods Shop. I'll remember the name and let you know. The hand out this little, to the point, flyer and it makes you think. At least it should.|
Organic Food is an investment in your health...
Today I would like to make a case for buying organic produce. Customers often ask me why they should buy organic foods over non-organic foods. To start with let's look at a recent Consumer Reports study analyzing pesticide residues on produce. They found dangerously high levels of toxic residue on US produce. This has sent many consumers searching for a safer alternative.
The Consumers Union study computed toxicity levels of 27 food categories based on its review of USDA data between 1994 and 1997. The findings concluded that even a single serving of some produce can deliver unsafe levels of toxic pesticides residues for young children. Seven foods that are commonly eaten by young children scored up to hundreds of times higher in toxicity levels than other foods analyzed. They included fresh peaches, apples, grapes, green beans, pears, spinach, strawberries, and winter squash. (I Don't know about you, but these are some of my favorite foods too!) The single sample with the most types of pesticides on it was spinach, with 14 different residues on it. Our domestic produce also had more toxic residue than imported produce in two thirds of the cases where imports were tested. Washing or peeling commercial produce does not solve the problem, as some of the most lethal chemicals like aldicarb, the most acutely toxic pesticide in use, are absorbed in the pulp of the vegetable rather than being concentrated on the skin.
Buying organic produce seems to be the only viable answer around. The Consumers Union is urging the EPA to lower the legal limits on pesticide residues and encourages people to buy organic produce. According to Edward Groth, director of technical policy and public service for Consumers Union, "There were very big differences in the toxicity scores between the organically grown and conventionally grown produce, so as far as we know from our own testing, organic food is what it claims to be - essentially residue free."
Besides our personal toxicity risk the bigger picture about organic produce is this:
1. It's better for the safety of our water supply
2. It preserves family farming.
3. It's better for the health of the farm workers.
4. Organic food has consistently tested higher in taste, nutrition, and quality.
Some good news for the consumer is that the price of organic foods in relationship to commercially grown foods has dropped steadily in the past ten years as competition intensifies and supplies grow to meet the demand.
Another question my customers ask I how can I be sure it's really organic? Certification programs by private and state agencies have proven reliable by excellent organizations like Northeast Organic farmers Association, FVO Farm Verified Organic, and CCOF California Certified Organic Farmers. Good retailers know their sources and buy from trustworthy growers.
Organic food is an investment in the overall health of our bodies, our soils and our environment.