Organic food

So, that recent study released by the Annals of Internal Medicine…hoo, boy. The September 4, 2012, article, titled, “Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives: A Systematic Review,” revealed that the study’s literature lacked the evidence needed to prove that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods, but that the “consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

See that last part? To that we scream, “duh,” and to the other part yell, “well, that’s not the only reason we eat organic!”

The study itself was a bit flawed, too. It referenced reports that were short-term and narrowly focused.

“So they would look at pregnant women, for instance, and say, are pregnant women eating organic, are their children – did their children have left eczema or allergic conditions? So these are sort of narrowly focused studies. They were short-term, and there weren’t very many of them,” stated Allison Aubrey, NPR science correspondent.

While many news organizations pounced on the study at first, only a few went back to examine what all of us organic supporters were shouting: choosing to eat organic is about so much more than just nutrition, and in most instances, as Sonya Lunder, senior research analyst at Environmental Working Group, points out, “the nutritional component is not the reason most consumers choose organic.”

So, why do people choose to eat organic? Here are a few, strong reasons:

  • “Eating organic coincides with a massive drop in disease-causing pesticides in your body.”
  • Antibiotic-resistant superbug germs are far less likely to be found on organic meat because organic bans the use of antibiotics.
  • Organic bans the use of chemical pesticides, keeping them not just out of your food, but also your community’s water, air, and soil.
  • Organic certification bans the use of sewage sludge. Organic fertilizing methods rely more on regulated compost or cover crops—plants grown during the off season and tilled or crimped back onto the soil.
  • Preliminary research suggests GMOs could be causing digestive disease, accelerated aging, obesity, and a rise in food allergies. Organic explicitly bans the use of GMOs.
  • Organic bans the use of antibiotics.
  • Instead of using chemicals derived from petrochemicals, organic manufacturers often turn to natural colorants like beet juice.
  • Long-term experiments at the Rodale Institute, an organic research farm in Pennsylvania, found that, during normal weather, organic and conventional farming produce about the same amount of food. But when weather starts to act up, organic wins out, producing 30 percent more in years of drought. That’s because organic soil is alive with beneficial bacteria, and the soil acts like a sponge to hold water in reserve during drought. (The healthy soil also helps prevent flooding.)”

– Rodale.com, “The Truth about Organic,” Leah Zerbe

And organic farming is as viable as conventional farming, and produced all the additional benefits listed above.

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