There's a lot happening in the consumer product world these days. There's the tomato salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds of consumers and, U.S. marshals seized pet-food products stored in unsanitary conditions at the PETCO Animal Supplies Distribution Center in Joliet, Illinois. These pet foods were susceptible to rodent, bird and pest contamination, a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
I don't know about you, but with all these food scares, I am even more inspired to stick to my strict organic diet (I just recently lost another 5 pounds without even trying). With food and oil prices on the rise I know this can be a tough decision economically, but what most people don't understand is that certified organic farmers have to abide by stricter rules and regulations then conventional farmers imposed on them by our government.
As reported in Plenty Magazine, policy analyst Jay Dee Hanson for the Center for Food Safety's Washington DC branch, addresses the question: is organic produce more susceptible to virus outbreaks like the latest one? Hanson confirms that organic tomatoes are actually subject to more stringent standards for manure control then conventional tomatoes. He states, "Organic growers have to use standards developed by the national organic standards board for manure," whereas "conventional growers are subject to no standards for how they control manure."
Additionally, organic farmers must track and keep copious production and sales records - an audit trail - which is exactly what the FDA is trying to recreate in the current tomato situation. Organic farmers must maintain strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products (even more of reason to choose organic!), and undergo periodic on-site surprise inspections of farm fields and processing facilities, and periodic testing of soil and water to ensure that growers and handlers are meeting the standards which have been set. Remember: conventional growers do not have to abide by these guidelines.
The bottom line is certified organic foods must meet stricter regulations governing all of the above steps. Their processes are often more labor intensive - and involve more administration activities and farming tends to be on a smaller scale. There is also increasing evidence that if all of the ancillary costs of conventional food production were factored into the price of conventional food, i.e. cleanup of polluted water, higher health care and insurance costs for farms (because of the health risks pesticides pose to workers), replacement of eroded soils, organic foods would cost the same if not cheaper.
Looking at the number of people who have fallen ill and wound up in the hospital from this salmonella outbreak, I would rather spend a little extra on certified organic produce and know my food is safe rather then risk my life and an expensive hospital bill.
As for the latest scare with dog food, I have been so disgusted with the quality of pet food on the market for years, I have gradually moved away from feeding my two dogs, Bamboo and Truffle, over processed, nutritionally deficient dog food that makes dogs obese and sick. I feed my dogs an array of organic raw vegetables and meats. If you want to learn more about which raw meat I feed to my dog check out Paw Naturaw Certified Organic, Frozen, Raw Food for Dogs.
Additionally these over processed foods that are high in animal "by-products" also deliver an array of additives, chemical preservatives and toxic chemicals that I don't want my dogs consuming. Why do you think our pets are showing up with the same diseases humans are?
If you want to learn more about how to create a healthy green home for your pet, check out my latest interview in the premiere issue of Dog Fancy's Natural Dog magazine, now on news stands. In it you will also see a picture of me and Bamboo (sorry Truffle, you'll make the next one!).
In my next newsletter I will give you my tips for shopping for organic foods on a budget.
Until then check out our latest news updates in our blogs below. Please read about PVC shower curtains. In my workshops and trainings I have been spreading the word about the health risks of PVC and it is finally coming out in the main stream news! If you have PVC shower curtains, replace them now (and that goes for anything that is made of PVC in your home).
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Laura L. Klein
Publisher and Healthy Home Consultant
P.s. #1 I am creating my service based website about how to affordably green your life and home. If there are specific topics or questions that you would like to see covered, email me at
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Also, check out this informative blog entitled No Nutritional Difference Between Conventional and Organic Foods? The Organic Center to the Rescue!
Also, check out this interesting blog about The Food Enhancement Act