In the Health Food industry, we are continually asked, "what makes this organic?" or, "How can you have an organic .... hot dog, plant, vitamin, etc.?" I have found that the easiest explanation to understand is as follows.
Think of Organic as the way everything used to be over 100 years ago. In other words, everything on this earth was Organic until man started making things "un-Organic" with chemicals and hormones. When an item is allowed to grow the "old fashioned way," it is usually organic. Plant it, let it grow, eat it...that is the right way. All the steps in between are what are causing our food system to be so complicated...and toxic. My basic rule is, "the less Man had to do with it, the better." Heather DiCicco, Manager
Healthy Organic Food
One of the most important decisions you can make for your family is whether or not to buy organic foods.
When you choose organic, you can feel confident that you are selecting foods that have been produced without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, growth hormones, artificial ingredients and preservatives, and genetic engineering. This is great news, especially given the findings of the ground-breaking President's Cancer Panel Report, which shows that choosing organic helps to reduce your exposure to environmental chemicals that can increase your risk of contracting cancer.
You can also feel confident that the organic foods you choose were produced in a manner that places food safety as a top priority.
Plus, you can feel confident that the organic foods you buy have been grown in a manner that promotes nutrient absorption, producing foods that are nutritious and taste great.
When it comes to your health and the health of your family, remember: Organic. It's worth it.
President's Cancer Panel Report
There are many great reasons to go organic. It helps combat climate change, fosters species diversity, prevents damage to valuable water resources, and protects farmers and farmers’ families from exposure to harmful chemicals.
According to a ground-breaking report released by the President’s Cancer Panel on May 6, 2010, choosing organic also helps reduce your exposure to environmental chemicals that can increase the risk of contracting cancer.
What the President's Cancer Panel Is:
- Consisting of three members, including at least two distinguished scientists or physicians, appointed by the President, the President’s Cancer Panel monitors and executes activities of the National Cancer Program and reports directly to the President.
What The Report Says:
- “Exposure to environmental contaminants can result in harm to health because they may alter or interfere with a variety of biologic processes, including hormone production and function, DNA damage, and gene expression or suppression.”
- “Children can be exposed to toxins in utero via placental transfer and/or after birth via breast milk.”
- “The number and prevalence of known or suspected carcinogens is growing. Many environmental contaminants are manufactured synthetic chemicals; waste and by-products of industrial processes; chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals used in farming and for landscaping; chemicals used in other commercial activities; combustion by-products of petroleum-powered engines; water disinfection/chlorination by-products; and both man-made and natural sources of radiation.”
- “In the United States, about 42 billion pounds of chemicals are produced or imported daily. Many of these chemicals are used in massive quantities exceeding one million tons per year.81 Exposure limits have been set for some of these substances, but the vast majority are unregulated.“
- “Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers”
- “Exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications.
Why Organic Can Help:
- By law, organic products must be grown and processed without the use of synthetic pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.
- By law, organic livestock must be raised without the use of antibiotics or artificial growth hormones. They must also have access to pasture for at least 120 days per year.
- Organic regulations allow a limited number of pesticides and fertilizers for restricted use. These substances must undergo strict review, including an evaluation of their environmental impact and their impact on human health, in order to be used in organic production.
from the Organic Trade Association: www.organicreport.com
The new Dirty Dozen: 12 foods to eat organic and avoid pesticide residue
Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals that are used on crops. Buy organic celery, or choose alternatives like broccoli, radishes, and onions.
Multiple pesticides (as many as 62 of them) are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit.
If you buy strawberries, especially out of season, they're most likely imported from countries that have less-stringent regulations for pesticide use. 59 pesticides have been detected in residue on strawberries. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and pineapples.
Like peaches, apples are typically grown with poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. Tests have found 42 different pesticides as residue on apples. Scrubbing and peeling doesn't eliminate chemical residue completely, so it's best to buy organic when it comes to apples. Peeling a fruit or vegetable also strips away many of their beneficial nutrients. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, bananas, and tangerines.
New on the Dirty Dozen list in 2010, blueberries are treated with as many as 52 pesticides, making them one of the dirtiest berries on the market.
With 33 different types of pesticides found on nectarines, they rank up there with apples and peaches among the dirtiest tree fruit. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include, watermelon, papaya, and mango.
7. Bell peppers
Peppers have thin skins that don't offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They're often heavily sprayed with insecticides. (Tests have found 49 different pesticides on sweet bell peppers.) Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include green peas, broccoli, and cabbage.
New on the list for 2010, spinach can be laced with as many as 48 different pesticides, making it one of the most contaminated green leafy vegetable.
Traditionally, kale is known as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, but it was found to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested this year. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include cabbage, asparagus, and broccoli.
Even locally grown cherries are not necessarily safe. In fact, in one survey in recent years, cherries grown in the U.S. were found to have three times more pesticide residue then imported cherries. Government testing has found 42 different pesticides on cherries. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include raspberries and cranberries.
America's popular spud reappears on the 2010 Dirty Dozen list, after a year hiatus. America's favorite vegetable can be laced with as many as 35 different pesticides. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include eggplant, cabbage, and earthy mushrooms.
Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. Only imported grapes make the 2010 Dirty Dozen list. Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape's thin skin. Remember, WINE is made from grapes, which testing shows can harbor as many as 34 different pesticides. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and raspberries.
Fruits and veggies are an essential part of a healthy diet, but many conventional varieties contain pesticide residues.
And not all the pesticides used to kill bugs, grubs, or fungus on the farm washes off under the tap at home. Government tests show which fruits and vegetables, prepared typically at home, still have a pesticide residue.
You can reduce your exposure to pesticides by as much as 80% if you avoiding the most contaminated foods in the grocery store.
To do so, you need the latest info from the why the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of foods most likely to have high pesticide residues. Since 1995, the organization has taken the government data and identified which type of produce has the most chemicals.
This year, celery takes the number one spot and both blueberries and spinach make an appearance (displacing lettuce and pears).
The best way to avoid pesticide residue on foods is to buy organic produce -- USDA rules prohibit the use of pesticides on any crop with the certified organic label.