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Organic. Really?

Is the Organic label on food necessarily mean that the food is better for you? Celebrities in Hollywood have embraced organic food plans, espousing the virtues of eating only organically grown food versus food grown on industrial farms. The same belief holds for many television show hosts, newscasters, ministers, preachers, and other members of our society who are always in the public eye. Is it a trend in our culture? I think so, just like owning a pet rock or sleeping on a water bed. Veganism is also a trend pushing its way into traditional households and taking hold in the younger generations of our populace. Why?
 
Food production has become a mystery to most of our citizens. The exception is the farmer - those men and women who work with nature every day. Farmers realize that man does not have dominion of nature. It is the opposite. It is an ancient calling. It is not a life journey for the faint of heart. Mother Nature can be cruel at times. Draught, floods, freezes, heat waves, plant disease, and pestilence create a group of unforeseen enemies of land and crop management. Farmers are resilient. They work sun up to sun down and then some.
 
Farmers are not the reason for the organic food label. The US Government, the consumer, and Wall Street marketing firms are all to blame. The Organic label creates the illusion that organically farmed produce and animal domestication are healthier than other methods used in industrial food production.
 
Organic farming entails the use of cover crops, green manures, animal manures, and crop rotations to fertilize the soil, maximize biological activity, and maintain long-term soil health; the use of biological control, crop rotations, and other techniques to manage weeds, insects, and diseases; an emphasis on the biodiversity of the agricultural system and the surrounding environment, rotational grazing and mixed forage pastures for livestock operations and alternative health care for animal wellbeing, reduction of external and off-farm inputs and elimination of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and other materials, such as hormones and antibiotics, and a focus on renewable resources, soil and water conservation, and management practices that restore, maintain, and enhance ecological balance. Organic farming is a mouthful and very difficult to digest.
 
About ten days ago, The Washington Post ran the article: The organic food industry is booming, and that may be bad for consumers. It is a disturbing exposé of the certifying bodies who farmers pay to give them their “Organic” label. It appears that many of these organizations loosely follow the Federal guidelines. Many farm-business consultants have relaxed the Organic label criteria to the point that consumers cannot rely on the factual representation of the activities involved in growing or producing organic foodstuffs.
 
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) headquartered in Washington, D.C. widely disseminates strong authoritative propaganda which is considered factual by almost everyone who reads it, even though the OTA lacks studies affirming their position on the virtues of consuming organic food. Below is an excerpt:
 
Organic products reduce public health risks to farm workers, their families, and consumers by minimizing their exposure to toxic and persistent chemicals on the farm and in food, the soil in which they work and play, the air they breathe, and the water they drink. Children are especially vulnerable to pesticides. Thus, offering organic food and fiber products into the marketplace gives parents the option of choosing products produced without the use of these toxins.
 
I have reviewed almost a hundred articles over the years comparing the nutritional value of organically farmed produce to produce grown on industrial farms. My conclusion I have reached is that there are no studies that show that organic food is more nutritious or healthier, even though organic produce and meat are much more expensive. Also of interest is that most produce growers and distributors periodically test their crops for pesticides and herbicides residues. The above paragraph shows the cleverness of the OTA. They do not state outright that produce from farms that utilize synthetic pesticides and herbicides are impregnated in the foodstuffs since they cannot scientifically prove it.
 
Organic farms commonly use manure to fertilize their fields and enhance crop growth. Manure contains E-Coli and other toxic coliform bacteria. Studies are proving E-Coli sometimes attaches to organic vegetables, not synthetically fertilized ones. Consumers can wash off residues from the surface of vegetables, but E-Coli cannot be washed off. From time to time, we read in the news about the recall of fruits and vegetables due to the outbreak of E-Coli contaminated fruits and vegetables. Bacterial contamination is a significant risk of organically grown food plants.
 
Another misconception is that growth hormones and antibiotics residues in meat are dangerous to our health. There is no question that there are residues in milk and butchered domesticated meats from almost all sources (unless from a wild source such as game meat). Cooking meat to 180 degrees Fahrenheit will in most cases destabilize the antibiotic and hormone structures rendering the molecules ineffective. There are hundreds of articles from around the world substantiating that residues are present in higher concentrations in raw meat versus cooked meat, but no studies to accurately identify the risk to anyone eating fresh or cooked meat. Every author researching residues calls for research on the effects of residues on human health. So far, no investigator has emerged to take on the task. The mere presence of microgram or nanogram amounts of antibiotic and hormonal residues respectively does not equate to substantial health risk. We treat infections with milligram amounts of antibiotics. We use microgram amounts for hormone replacement strategies.
 
Lastly, I see no regulation about growing GMO (genetically modified organisms) vegetables or animals in the Organic Food Act. If anyone has issues with our food chain, their attention should be towards the modifications of the DNA of food or animals that Mother Nature has perfected over thousands of years. The health benefits may be significantly diluted or eliminated as a result of GMO. Monsanto and other companies are splicing Round-Up into seeds which may be one of the greatest disturbances in our food chain since the creation of domesticated food communities over ten thousand years ago. Handpicked fruits and vegetables are rare, heirloom seeds even more precious.
 
Take time to invest in food — Cook something fresh every day. Stay away from roadside stands since that produce might be homegrown and unregulated. Just because it looks innocent, doesn’t mean it is. Don’t take the bait!
 
Doc

 

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