I've written several blogs in the past discussing organic food and why I think it's better than conventional food. Up until now, it's just been me, some anonymous Joe Blow on the Internet spouting off with his opinions on this subject. Now a very reputable magazine has chimed in with its opinion and they agree with me! In the February 2006 issue of Consumer Reports (page 12) is an article discussing the benefits of organic food. If you don't believe me, believe this reputable source. For those of you out there who don't subscribe to this magazine, like I do, I thought I'd summarize the article for your benefit.
Buy these items organic as often as possible
What: Apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach and strawberries.
Why: USDA lab testing shows that even after washing some fruits and vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others. Among fruits, nectarines had the highest percentage testing positive for pesticide residue. Peaches and red raspberries had the most pesticides on a single sample. Amoung vegetables, celery and spinach most often carried pesticides, with spinach having the highest number on a single sample. For more info go to FoodNews.
What: Meat, poultry, eggs and dairy
Why: You greatly reduce the risk of exposure to the agent believed to cause mad cow disease and other toxins by eating organic meat, as opposed to conventional meat. You also avoid the daily supplemental hormones and antibiotics, which have been linked to increased antibacterial resistence in humans.
What: Baby food
Why: Children's bodies are especially vulnerable to toxins and they may be at risk of higher exposure. Due to the fact that baby food is often made up of condensed fruits or vegetables, they can take in larger doses of toxins.
Buy these items organic if price is no object
What: Asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples, and sweet peas.
Why: These vegetables rarely show evidence of multiple pesticide residues.
What: Breads, oils, potato chips, pasta, cereals, and other packaged foods, such as canned or dried fruit and vegetables.
Why: These are processed products, that while they may have less toxins, are lower in nutrients due to their processed nature. (The more processed it is, the less nutrients it has.) Rule of thumb: Buy it, and cook it in its natural state!
Don't bother buying these items organic
Why: There are no government standards for what is considered 'organic' seafood. This means that companies are free to call their seafood organic, even if it's not.
Why: Most cosmetics don't contain much organic material. Also, government regulations seem pretty lax in what they allow as 'organic' in cosmetics. Cosmetics manufaturers also routinely use synthetic ingredients, even in their 'organic' products.
Chemical Health Risks of Conventionally Produced Foods
Pesticides: In 1996 a law was passed requiring pesticides to meet safety standards for children, whose developing bodies are especially vulnerable to damage from toxins. This law causes more and more pesticides to be banned each year, but consumers can still easly consume small amounts of more than 30 pesticides daily when eating a healthful variety of foods. Evidence also shows that pesticides can be passed in a woman's bloodstream to a fetus in the womb. Studies have shown that eating an organic diet for as little as 5 days, can reduce signs of pesticides in your body to undetectable levels. There is also evidence that "exposure of the fetus to organophosphorus pesticides produces babies with small head circumference, which is a risk factor for reduced intelligence and behavioral disturbances".
Hormones: Studies suggest that synthetic growth hormones are carcinogenic. These hormones have also been linked to the precocious onset of puberty in girls. These hormones are banned, by law, in all poultry, but not in other types of beef.
Antibiotics: Leads to increased antibiotic resistence in humans. This means that when antibiotics are used to fight a normal infection in humans, they will be less effective. This can cause the antibiotics to not work in fighting the infection/disease.