Is Eating Organic Worth Your Money?
Of course you're worth it. And if the choice were that simple, everyone would choose health over money. But are organic foods really more healthy? Is the higher price justified? Is there a conspiracy undermining the efficacy of organic foods?
Some suggest a recent Stanford study is just that. The findings, published September 4, 2012, in the "Annals of Internal Medicine," conclude that "The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria."
True believers in the organic food movement have been quick to point out fallacies in the study. Their argument is that food is a delivery device for artificial colors, additives, preservatives, added growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, insecticides and so much more.
Robyn O'Brien at "Huffington Post" says the monniker "organic" is about how food is grown, not how much nutrition it contains. The National Organic Program final rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lists standards for organic food production. Ms. O'Brien takes umbrage with the Stanford study for not measuring these added ingredients.
But the label "organic" does not mean that farm workers are handpicking bugs from our produce. It just means that the pesticides used in organic farming are derived from natural as opposed to synthetic sources. And, natural pesticides have been studied less than synthetic ones.
While some people think organic farming could sustain the world's population, agribusiness is still key to food production in the US and additives that enhance that production are used. So the real question is whether or not food additives, preservatives and pesticides are safe. The US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs is charged with regulating the use of pesticides for the sole purpose of protecting consumers. To further this program, in 1996, the EPA created the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) to make sure that the food pesticide tolerance levels were brought up to date within ten years, or 2006. The Agency believes they have accomplished their goal of making safe and effective pesticides available to support the production of healthy food.Continued on the next page