I choose to eat organic food whenever possible because I believe it’s better for my health, the environment, and the farmers who grow our food. But not everyone agrees with me. There are a lot of people who think organic food is too expensive, a waste of money, and a scam. Do you feel that way?
It’s no wonder people feel this way, with headlines like these…
“Buying organic veggies at the supermarket is a waste of money” – Quartz
“The USDA ‘Organic’ Label Misleads And Rips Off Consumers” – Forbes
“Organic Foods Are Just A ‘Marketing Label” – Business Insider
“Don’t Believe the (Organic) Hype” – NPR
“Is organic food worth the higher price? Experts say no” – Portland Tribune
One of the biggest perpetrators of these beliefs is Monsanto (and other big biotech companies like Syngenta and Bayer). Think about it: their best-selling products like Roundup and GMO seeds are banned on organic farms. If all farms were organic their biggest products would bite the dust! Any messaging that organic food is better than conventionally grown food is harmful to their business and they have deep pockets to fight against this type of information.
Just like the millions of dollars that big food and agrochemical companies spent to fight GMO labels, it’s easy for them to put big money into advertising and ag front groups to spin the message that organic food is a scam. They don’t want Americans to question how our food is produced in large industrial operations. And, they don’t want to spend more money buying and growing organic ingredients, because that cuts into their bottom line.
I’m going to present the case here for organic food, so you can decide what is best for yourself and your family.
You owe it to yourself to take a hard look at what you choose to eat every day and how it can affect your health. Do the research it takes so you can make an informed decision about whether organic food is worth it to you, and don’t just blindly believe what anyone (including me) tells you. I want you to feel informed and empowered!
One of the most fascinating reports about organic food comes from a large project recently commissioned by the European Parliament. Experts from throughout the world were asked to study whether organic food and farming is healthier for us – and their conclusions counter everything that you may have heard about organic food. The researchers concluded (quoting Harvard):
- In conventional food, there are pesticide residues that remain in the food even after it’s washed. Organic foods are produced virtually without pesticides.
- Three long-term birth cohort studies in the U.S. suggest that pesticides are harming children’s brains.
- Women’s exposure to pesticides during pregnancy, measured through urine samples, was associated with negative impacts on their children’s IQ and neurobehavioral development, as well as with ADHD.
- The gray matter was thinner in children the higher their mothers’ exposure to organophosphates, which are used widely in pesticides.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women, and women planning to become pregnant, may wish to eat organic foods as a precautionary measure because of the significant and possibly irreversible consequences for children’s health.
An important takeaway: When you choose organic, you’re eating food with less (or without) pesticides.
The whole basis of organic farming is to produce food without the need to use toxic pesticides. Crops are managed in a way that prevents the need to use chemicals. When produce from farms has been tested, organic has far less pesticide residue compared with conventional (non-organic). By eating organic you can significantly decrease your exposure to pesticides!
“Organic is a strictly regulated term, so you can trust that you’re getting produce grown with minimal if any synthetic pesticides.” – Consumer Reports: Pesticides In Produce, 2015
There are MAJOR health consequences to eating pesticides. It’s no joke!
Many of the pesticides used on conventional farms are hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, or reproductive toxins which are strongly linked to many diseases and health issues:
Pesticides are even MORE damaging to children because their metabolism is different than adults and toxins remain longer in their body. The damage starts in the womb!
“Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems… Recognizing and reducing problematic exposures will require attention to current inadequacies in medical training, public health tracking, and regulatory action on pesticides.” – American Academy of Pediatrics
Let’s not forget about the impact on farmers…
Tens of thousands of farm workers are poisoned by pesticides each year in the U.S. according to EPA reports – and there are likely many incidents that go unreported. The effects on farmers and nearby communities are devastating! If this is what happens on the farm, what are these chemicals doing to our bodies when we eat them in small amounts day after day?
Critics say the amount of pesticides on food is too small to do any damage – but that isn’t the case when talking about endocrine-disruptors!
“The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals… Many of these chemicals have known or suspected carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting properties.” – President’s Cancer Panel
What about just peeling and washing the pesticides off?
It’s not that easy. Many of the chemicals used on conventional food are systemic – meaning they’re absorbed into the food and you can’t simply just wash it off. When it comes to non-organic packaged food, almost all of it is filled with GMOs that absorb and contain glyphosate weedkiller strongly linked to cancer and numerous diseases. This weedkiller is used on non-GMO crops too – but banned on organic!
There are often MULTIPLE pesticides in each fruit or vegetable – and residue rates are rising.
Several pesticide residues are usually found and there’s no legal limit on the number of different pesticides allowed on food. And, the problem is getting worse:
“One sample of strawberries contained residues of 20 pesticides, according to the “Pesticide Data Program” (PDP) report issued this month by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service… Notably, the agency said only 15 percent of the 10,187 samples tested were free from any detectable pesticide residues. That’s a marked difference from 2014, when the USDA found that over 41 percent of samples were “clean” or showed no detectable pesticide residues.” ~ Carey Gillam, U.S. Right To Know, November 2016.
Pesticides are destroying the environment and not helping to “feed the world”…
Experts at the U.N. recently warned that pesticides end up in our water systems, damage our ecological system, contaminate soils, are responsible for bee deaths, and are a huge environmental threat to the future of food production. The issue of world hunger is due to poverty, inequality and distribution – not lack of food.
“It is time to overturn the myth that pesticides are necessary to feed the world and create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production.” ~ U.N. Special Rapporteurs on Toxics and the Right to Food, March 2017
Are pesticides used to grow organic food?
It’s true that organic food is not always pesticide free – but that doesn’t mean you should throw the baby out with the bathwater. The best way to keep toxic chemicals out of your food is to choose organic.
- Pesticides aren’t used often on organics because other methods are required to be used first to control pests like cover crops, mechanical weeding, and rotations to create a soil diversity and a healthy ecosystem.
- Organic-approved pesticides are only allowed to be used as a “last resort” on organic crops, when these other methods fail – and farmers have to demonstrate the need to their organic certifier. In general, organic farmers are reluctant to use pesticides. When pesticides are used, organic farmers generally use natural and non-toxic substances derived from plants or bacteria.
- Before a pesticide can be approved for organics, it goes through many hoops and is more rigorously reviewed than other pesticides. That’s why there are only about 25 synthetic products permitted on organic farms, while non-organic farms have upwards of 900 agrochemicals to use at their disposal!
- Just because some pesticides are permitted on organic food, doesn’t mean that farmers are using them. There is a difference between something being permitted and something actually being used. For example – the FDA allows all kinds of nasty food additives, but that doesn’t mean that every food producer is guilty of using them.
- Tested organic produce contains much lower pesticide residues than non-organic. This is further evidence that organic farmers aren’t using pesticides just because they are permitted.
No, toxic rotenone isn’t being sprayed all over organic food either…
Critics argue that “horribly toxic pesticides” are used on organic crops, and that they’re used in much greater amounts. One of the pesticides they routinely bring up is rotenone – but this pesticide isn’t even being used! It was once approved for organic crops, but the EPA has banned it from U.S. crops. Some other countries still use rotenone, but the National Organic Standards Board has passed a recommendation to prohibit it outright.
Another one that gets brought up is copper sulfate. This can be used by both organic and conventional fruit farmers as a fungicide – but conventional farmers reportedly use more of it and their versions contain riskier “non-active” ingredients. Organic farmers are required to monitor copper sulfate use and aren’t permitted to continue if it accumulates in high levels in the soil.
Choosing organic goes beyond just avoiding toxic pesticides…
By choosing certified organic food you’ll automatically avoid many dangerous food additives – like TBHQ, BHT, artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose) and artificial food dyes (yellow #5, etc) which are all banned from certified organic products. Carrageenan is on the organic chopping block as well. Although you ALWAYS need to read the ingredient list – even on organic products – it’s easier to find products without a crazy long list of additives and that actually contain real food!
If you eat meat or dairy, choosing organic is even MORE important…
Conventional meat, eggs, and dairy can be contaminated with even more synthetic pesticides than plant-based foods. Pesticides used on feed accumulate in animal tissues over time – and pesticide residues have been found in conventional beef, egg, milk, pork, and poultry samples. Using only certified organic feed is required when raising organic animals.
Most conventional animals are also raised on growth-promoting steroids, antibiotics, and other drugs – and these residues have been found in meat too. The overuse of growth-promoting antibiotics is creating superbugs that contaminate the meat, putting us at greater risk of antibiotic-resistant infections. These drugs are prohibited in the raising of organic animals!
Safeguarding organic regulations already on the books and strengthening them is very important to protecting our food.
With bigger food companies moving into organics, they are surely trying to water down the system. There are some bad guys out there not following the rules and some organic food is contaminated, but we all have to eat and organic food remains the lowest risk. Ultimately, it’s best to buy organic food grown on small local farms where you can shake the farmer’s hand and ask questions. Your local farmers market is perfect for this and you can also check the Local Harvest website for local growers.
Organic can be more expensive, but it’s worth it.
I believe that buying quality organic food and eating the most nutritious foods on the planet will save you big bucks down the road in medical costs, prescription drugs and doctor visits – It’s totally up to us to make it a priority. I’ve got over 75 organic budgeting tips here to help.
When I switched to eating primarily organic whole foods, everything changed in my life. I went from someone overweight and sick to a new being of vibrant health. I want everyone to feel this way!
Next time you hear that organic food is a scam, who are you going to believe?
I’ve learned to be careful about who I trust for health information and seek out experts who don’t use Monsanto’s talking points and aren’t muddled with industry ties. Ultimately, the only person you can trust is yourself. Make the switch to organic food and see how you feel. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Share this post with anyone who tells you organic is not worth the money and is a scam. We need to keep spreading the truth.
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