WHY IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO EAT ORGANIC FOODS...
What's Wrong with Conventional Agriculture?
In the late 1940's, farming changed radically in North America. Toxic chemicals aimed at killing pests (pesticides) and weeds (herbicides) became widely available to farmers as did synthetic chemical fertilizers. This new chemical farming technology was revolutionary.
Pests and weeds were virtually eradicated. Crop yields soared- per acre corn yields rose from 26 bushels in 1926 to 127 bushels in 1996. Millions of pounds of toxic chemicals were subsequently poured onto North American fields. But no long term testing had ever been conducted on this new technology. Very quickly, things started to go wrong.
Both insects and weeds developed resistance to the chemicals. Ever more powerful toxins were needed. Many of these new agri-toxins were indiscriminate, killing everything they touched, including the soil. By the late 1980s, chemical farming was being seen in a different light.
Despite the fact that pesticide use in the US increased 1000% between 1945 and 1989, crop loss almost doubled from 7% to 13%. Data from 68,000 groundwater wells in 45 states indicate pesticides in more than 16,000 of them. US Geological Survey data released in 1998 revealed nearly all streams they studied contained at least one pesticide, the result of agricultural run-off from farm fields. Testing of foods eaten by consumers routinely shows pesticide residues. Even the US Congress is now concerned about the impact of the 9,700 approved agricultural toxins on the nation's children after the National Research Council concluded in 1993 that "some children were ingesting enough pesticides to harm them, even thought their food was within Federal limits." The Food Quality Protection Act was passed in 1996 to reassess the standards for pesticides in food. But we suggest you not wait for the reassessment. You have options.
What's Right with Organic Agriculture?
Organic farmers replace toxic chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers with different agricultural methods that improve soil fertility and biological diversity. They control weeds and insects with time-proven techniques such as crop rotation, cultivation, mulching, manure spreading, and the encouragement of "beneficials"- predator insects that keep pests in check. These methods radically change the farm environment, producing a dramatic drop in poisonous run-off and an equally dramatic improvement in the soil ecology.
Organic farms routinely see less soil erosion and more variety of animal species and microorganisms in their fields. In addition, no genetically engineered crops (GMOs) are planted, or allowed.
Similarly, a certified organic food producing company avoids many techniques of conventional manufacturing. No preservatives or additives that would degrade the quality of the organic crop are used. Organic and conventional ingredients are not mixed. Organic raw materials must be specially handled to prevent contamination from bacteria, myco-toxins (harmful fungi) and industrial chemicals. No genetically engineered or irradiated ingredients are allowed. From farm gate to factory door, organic food adds up to a better product.
Is Organic Food Healthier?
Organic food is based on an agricultural growing method and was never intended to be a health claim. But since organic farmers don't use agri-toxins, many credible studies have pointed to health and quality implications. In a landmark 1999 study of USDA pesticide residue data in produce, Consumers Reports found "organic foods had consistently minimal or non-existent pesticide residue" when compared to conventional produce.
Recently the UN's Food and Health Organization reported that "organically produced foods have lower levels of pesticide and veterinary drug residues and, in many cases, lower nitrate contents.... In addition, the 'organic' label provides assurance to consumers that no food ingredient has been subject to irradiation and that GMOs (genetically modified organisms) have been excluded."
What’s Wrong with Genetically Engineered Food?
Who knows? -And that's precisely the point! No long term human-safety tests have ever been conducted on the consumption of genetically engineered food. Nor has there ever been a thorough environmental assessment to see what happens when these plants are released into our ecosystem.
The first evidence is alarming....
Just like the chemical farming in the 1940s, hailed with such fervor that the inventor of DDT won a Nobel prize, biotechnology is showing a dark side. Genetic pollution from pollen drift is spreading throughout North America's farmland, costing millions in lost export sales. In Iowa, corn farmers planted 1% of their crop in GE (genetically engineered) "Starlink" seed, not approved for human consumption. Within 12 months, 50% of the entire Iowa corn crop tested positive for traces of the Starlink gene, according to David Gould of Farm Verified Organic. Scientific American reported that GE canola, containing an herbicide-resistant gene has spawned "super weeds" in Canada that are resistant to known herbicides.
A moratorium on GE crops and mandatory labeling is needed.
It is believed there should be a moratorium on the planting of GE crops pending environmental and human-safety studies. Until such time as this technology is proved safe, all foods containing GE ingredients should be labeled.
Is certified organic better?
We think so. A certified organic processor is a food-producing company whose facilities are inspected and certified annually to ensure their compliance with all organic standards. They are also required to maintain a complete paper trail from the farm to their facilities, proving all ingredients come from organic sources.
Third-party certification is your best guarantee of organic quality.