Organic Foods: Why are they Controversial?

Many people do not believe that organic foods are worth buying. They think that organic farming is not really monitored. Quite the contrary. Organic farmers are a great resource for our health! And our government, through the USDA ( United States Department of Agriculture)  monitors their compliance to standards.

There is evidence to support buying organic foods. Deborah Mitchell in her book: Foods That Combat Aging speaks on the research.

Many studies have shown that produce grown under organic conditions have an increased level of nutrients.  A review of 41 published studies in which the nutritional value of organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains were compared with conventionally grown crops showed that organics are better. Overall, 27% more vitamin C, 21% more iron, 29 % more magnesium, 14% more phosphorus and 15% fewer nitrates than conventionally grown produce.

So how do we define what is organic?

The USDA  has standards that organic farmers have to comply with. A certified inspector checks organic farms to ensure the food meets these standards, and all companies that handle organic foods before it reaches the marketplace.

The definition of organic: According to the USDA’s National Organic Program, “organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality.”

“Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.”

To meet these requirements, foods must be produced without using most conventional pesticides and fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge. Ionizing radiation and bioengineering are also prohibited.

Here are some tips on reading labels for organic products

“100% Organic”: must contain 100% organically produced ingredients, not counting added water and salt.

“Organic”: Must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients, not counting added water and salt. Must not contain sulfites. May contain up to 5% non-organically produced agricultural ingredients.

“Made with Organic Ingredients”:  Must contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients, not counting added water and salt. Must not contain sulfites. May contain up to 30% non-organically produced argricultural ingredients.

Taken in part from: Mitchell, D. ( 2008). Foods that Combat Aging. New York, NY. Harper-Collins

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 4th, 2012 at 9:55 pm and is filed under Controversial Issues, Healthy Foods. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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