Organic Foods

Since the early 90’s organic food sales have increased by 20% each year and its not estimated the organic food market is more than $23 billion .

There has been an organic movement for the past forty years, but in 1990 the government stepped in to regulate the organic market. In 1990, the Organic Food Production Act was established. The board set up to monitor adherence to the Production as was called The National Organic Standards Board. They set up 44 different state and independent agencies to monitor “organic” food production. Which created some confusion because each agency was applying a different definition of what was organic.

With that said, the USDA then further amended the organic act in 2002. For farmers to be considered organic they must adhere to the following guideline effective October 21, 2002:

• No fertilizer substance for 3 years before apply for certification and can not use these substances ever again once certified
• May not use any type of genetically alternated seeds and/or feed.
• Crop rotation is a must
• Livestock must graze outside
• No hormone use on livestock
• Livestock must eat 100% organic
• Must have a separate production area for organic and non-organic products
• All agriculture processes must be recorded and mostly importantly KEPT

Is buying organic worth the extra money?

Arguments For:

• Organic food is tastier, because it’s picked closer to ripeness.
• Conventionally grown products are eroding food quality, when the focus shifts from taste to shelf life.
• Over the past 100 years all studies on pesticides have been primarily what damage would it do to the crop that it’s trying to protect, no research has been done on what these chemicals are doing to the human body.
• Large commercial farms contribute to the dependence on non-renewable energy sources and contribute to the green house effect. Every non-organic food purchased supports the damage they farms cause.
• Pesticides used during farming activate the hormone estrogen within the body. This increase in dietary estrogen may bring on puberty earlier than in past generations.
• Pesticides are set up to kill, so at some point it may cause problems for humans. If are experiencing any type of food allergies or discomfort from certain foods, keep a journal and begin to understand if it could be the pesticides.

Arguments Against:
• The way it was farmed or raised does not necessarily translate into more nutritious. Nutrients get into a plant and/or animal through the soil. If the soil doesn’t contain nutrients then the plant isn’t going to contain those nutrients.
• Currently when you see the USDA organic label, it means that the food product is at least 95% organically grown.
• In 2004 an Australian study of pesticide ingestion showed that we ingest less than 16% . This is much less than acceptable health standards.
• The National Research Council concludes that traces of pesticide on conventional grown foods don’t promote an increased cancer risk.
• Only minute differences can be detected in the nutrient make up of organic products
• Not possible for organic farms to feed the world.
• Organic pesticides may contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and molds.
• What happen when an organic food is added to a “pre-cooked meal”? Is it still organic when other ingredients are added? Is it still organic when you add heat to it? To date no studies have been conducted regarding this. This will be increasingly important as the big food producers see how much we are willing to pay to have to organic foods.
• Pollen can travel up to 5 miles from its original source; can we know if all the farms within a 5-mile radius are organic?

I will continue to keep you posted on the subject.
Next week’s topic will be supplements.

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