Sunday, January 26, 2014

Is Organic Really Better? Is Organic Really Better?: By Robyn O’Brien

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently weighed in for the first time on organic food, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that feeding kids organic fruits and veggies and organic meat just might reduce the risks of certain conditions and diseases and have some health benefits.
The President’s Cancer Panel also sounded alarm bells about chemicals and cancer, encouraging us to eat organic when we can, to reduce our exposure to pesticides and other additives being applied to our foods.
This is something I certainly didn’t do when my kids were younger, reflecting on all of the tubes of blue yogurt and packages of processed foods I’d served up.
When I first heard the term “organic” several years ago, I dismissed it. It connoted a “status” and conjured up two different images: lifestyles of the rich and famous or perhaps some alternative, hippie thing.
I was wrong.
The term “organic” actually refers to the way agricultural products are grown and produced. It legally details the permitted use (or not) of certain ingredients in these foods.  When I first learned about it, I thought it was a marketing tool.
The legal details are that the U.S. Congress adopted the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in 1990 as part of the 1990 Farm Bill which was then followed with the National Organic Program final rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The standards include a national list of approved synthetic and prohibited non-synthetic substances for organic production which means that organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of:
  • • antibiotics
  • • 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
  • • irradiation
Wow, who knew that conventional, non-organic food could contain these ingredients?  Not many of us, since sewage sludge and artificial growth hormones aren’t on the label.
Read the entire article here:

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