Whew, last week there was a report out about the nutritious value of non organic foods compared to organic and many of the blogs, Facebook people and pages I connected with were buzzing. In a recent study by Stanford University concluded there isn’t much difference between organic or non-organic/conventional foods. They did not find strong evidence from existing studies that organic foods are more nutritious or carry fewer health risks than conventional alternatives. They did say that consumption of organic foods can reduce your risk to pesticide exposure, antibiotics or hormones. Hum…. guess I am all for that! Despite all the hoopla, the Stanford study uncovers no new science. No experiments were done in its making. Instead, the authors collected and analyzed a slice of the broader literature on the subject of organic and conventional farming to draw their conclusions. The media jumped all over this and of course has completely blown it out of proportion, again scaring the consumer, stating we are wasting our money on organic food.
So when we look at this study, which was very narrow in its scope, it only looked at the nutritional aspects, vitamin and mineral content of the food. It didn’t look at the key things that make organic food organic! The term “organic” refer’s to how the food was grown, processed, and what is added to the food. Here’s the list of what it can’t include:
- artificial growth hormones
- high fructose corn syrup
- artificial dyes (made from coal-tar and petrochemicals)
- artificial sweeteners derived from chemicals
- synthetically created chemical pesticide and fertilizers
- genetically engineered proteins and ingredients
- sewage sludge
No where in the study are these things measured. The same maker, Monsanto, of Roundup, a popular pesticide used today on conventional food, is also the maker of Agent Orange. Many of you may to be young to remember Agent Orange, but it was used extensively during the Vietnam War as a herbicide to kill the jungle growth. Many Vietnam Vets are now experiencing health issues from exposure to Agent Orange. There is also the issue of GMO’s, genetically modified organism, that is showing up everywhere in non-organic/conventional food. Many food allergies, sensitivities and other health issues are popping up and the culprit is pointing at GMO’s. There was no measure in this study, that 80% of the antibiotics used today are used by food producers. Yes the meat, dairy, chicken and animals we eat! Scary isn’t it, 80%, think about it…… Many of the synthetic dyes, sweeteners and GMO’s included in the list have been banned in many countries, but the US because of our large food lobbyist and big business is having a difficult time even mandating those companies to label that GMO’s are in the food we eat.
There are many reasons why consumers in the United States and around the world purchase organics because they are concerned about pesticide and other chemical exposure, particularly in the case of their children (a concern validated by the Stanford study and others), overall food safety, the impact of organic versus conventional farming on the environment, flavor, freshness, concern over animal welfare, and a desire to support local farmers, to name a few. Don’t let the media confuse you, do your homework, do the research, talk to your local farmer or to me. In conclusion, food is not just a delivery system for vitamins, minerals or calories! It’s has become a delivery system for many chemicals, substances that drive up the profitability of the food industry. My next few articles will explore organics more: Why organic, local vs.store bought, the dirty dozen and how to afford organic, GMO’s, just to name a few.