Organic Debate and the Dirty Dozen

Recent studies from Stanford University were revealed about organic foods.

If you were to only read the headline and continue on with your day, you may never spend money on organics again.

The headline reads “Study finds organic food is no better on vitamins, nutrients.”

It makes sense that organic and non-organic are pretty equal on vitamins and nutrients. A peach is a peach. Right?

Another article quotes:

“They concentrated on vitamins A, C and E. There are a host of others nutrients that are in produce. So, with them just concentrating on those three, they may have missed other vitamins and minerals that are more valuable in organic food,” said Dr. Mayer.

“You are looking at two like products, and there’s the potential that they have the similar nutritional content; that’s never been a disagreement from our side. It’s always been about the pesticides and GMO’s,” said Oliveri.

“The label organic doesn’t mean better for you. There may be reasons for purchasing organic but in the article it’s not because it has a higher numbers of vitamins or there are more nutrients,” said Schiller.

Both sides do agree that eating fresh, local fruits and vegetables is best because there’s less handling, which means less possibility of bacteria.”

In my opinion, people shouldn’t be concerned with the vitamin and nutrient levels.

They should be concerned with the hormones and antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are found in meats because of all the antibiotics the animals were given.

Her team did find a notable difference with antibiotic-resistant germs, a public health concern because they are harder to treat if they cause food poisoning.

Specialists long have said that organic or not, the chances of bacterial contamination of food are the same, and Monday’s analysis agreed. But when bacteria did lurk in chicken or pork, germs in the non-organic meats had a 33 percent higher risk of being resistant to multiple antibiotics, the researchers reported Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.”

They should be concerned with the levels of pesticides.

“…Organic produce had a 30 percent lower risk of containing detectable pesticide levels.”

“…some studies have suggested that even small pesticide exposures might be risky for some children, and the Organic Trade Association said the Stanford work confirms that organics can help consumers lower their exposure.”

They should be concerned with the genetically modified foods. 

Click on the link to read my  article on genetically modified foods.

 

 

So what should the title of the article say?

It should say “Confirmed: Non-organic meats have a higher risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and non-organic fruits and veggies have 30% higher amounts of pesticides.”

 

In  summary:

Organic isn’t always the easiest to find. It definitely is not the cheapest. But when available, I will 110% always buy it.  Once again, the beauty of it all? The decision lies in your hands. More to come on this lovely debate. 🙂

Here is a great list of the “dirty dozen” (list of foods that you should buy organic) and the “clean 15”  (list of foods that have thicker coverings, so pesticides are a lower risk). These lists were developed by the EWG (environmental working group)- a great organization that focuses on pesticide awareness.

Dirty Dozen Plus
Buy these organic
1
Apple
Apples
2
Celery
Celery
3
Red Pepper
Sweet bell peppers
4
Peaches
Peaches
5
Strawberries
Strawberries
6
Nectarines
Nectarines
– imported
7
Grapes
Grapes
8
Spinach
Spinach
9
Lettuce
Lettuce
10
Cucumber
Cucumbers
11
Blueberries
Blueberries
– domestic
12
Potatoe
Potatoes
Plus
+
Green Beans
Green beans
+
Kale
Kale/Greens
+ May contain pesticide residues of special concern
____________________________________________________________
Clean 15
Lowest in Pesticide
1
Onions
Onions
2
Sweet Corn
Sweet Corn
3
Pineapple
Pineapples
4
Avocado
Avocado
5
Cabbage
Cabbage
6
Peas
Sweet peas
7
Asparagus
Asparagus
8
Mango
Mangoes
9
Eggplant
Eggplant
10
Kiwi
Kiwi
11
Cantelope
Cantaloupe
– domestic
12
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes
13
Grapefruit
Grapefruit
14
Watermelon
Watermelon
15
Mushrooms
Mushrooms
also found here:
and a great article from the mayo clinic:

Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?

Discover the real difference between organic foods and their traditionally grown counterparts when it comes to nutrition, safety and price.

By Mayo Clinic staffOnce found only in health food stores, organic food is now a regular feature at most supermarkets. And that’s created a bit of a dilemma in the produce aisle. On one hand, you have a conventionally grown apple. On the other, you have one that’s organic. Both apples are firm, shiny and red. Both provide vitamins and fiber, and both are free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. Which should you choose?

Conventionally grown produce generally costs less, but is organic food safer or more nutritious? Get the facts before you shop.

Conventional vs. organic farming

The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. For example, rather than using chemical weedkillers, organic farmers may conduct more sophisticated crop rotations and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds at bay.

Here are some key differences between conventional farming and organic farming:

Conventional Organic
Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth. Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease. Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
Use herbicides to manage weeds. Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth. Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.

Organic or not? Check the label

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an organic certification program that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed.

Any product labeled as organic must be USDA certified. Only producers who sell less than $5,000 a year in organic foods are exempt from this certification; however, they’re still required to follow the USDA’s standards for organic foods.

If a food bears a USDA Organic label, it means it’s produced and processed according to the USDA standards. The seal is voluntary, but many organic producers use it.

Illustration of the USDA organic seal

Products certified 95 percent or more organic display this USDA seal.

Products that are completely organic — such as fruits, vegetables, eggs or other single-ingredient foods — are labeled 100 percent organic and can carry the USDA seal.

Foods that have more than one ingredient, such as breakfast cereal, can use the USDA organic seal plus the following wording, depending on the number of organic ingredients:

  • 100 percent organic. To use this phrase, products must be either completely organic or made of all organic ingredients.
  • Organic. Products must be at least 95 percent organic to use this term.

Products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients may say “made with organic ingredients” on the label, but may not use the seal. Foods containing less than 70 percent organic ingredients can’t use the seal or the word “organic” on their product labels. They can include the organic items in their ingredient list, however.

Do ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ mean the same thing?

No, “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable terms. You may see “natural” and other terms such as “all natural,” “free-range” or “hormone-free” on food labels. These descriptions must be truthful, but don’t confuse them with the term “organic.” Only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled organic

One thought on “Organic Debate and the Dirty Dozen

  1. Amy, this is so practical…just what I need considering the cost of organics. I always thought it was about “clean” vegetables and not nutritious value. Great work!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s