Should you buy organic foods? It’s a timely question, given the inaugural Organic Produce Summit to be held this summer in Monterey, Calif.
The two-day confab is dedicated to the booming $11 billion organic fresh fruit and vegetable industry. It will feature leaders and innovators of organic fresh produce discussing, collaborating and networking on the opportunities and challenges faced in today’s fastest-growing food segment.
Organic foods are a smart priority and certainly much more appealing than eating produce grown with sewage sludge. You are opting for personal and planetary health, and there are many other compelling reasons to choose organically grown produce.
To help consumers avoid the most toxic produce, the USDA’s Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created lists of produce items with highest and lowest pesticides residues. And did you know that there’s a simple strategy for you to get expensive organic produce at the best prices possible?
What does organic mean? It means produce grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or ionizing radiation.
After reading this definition, would you now choose to eat produce grown using these exclusions? I think not.
Specifically, Here are the top reasons to choose organic foods:
1. Avoid chemicals
Eating organically grown produce is the only way to avoid the chemical poisons present in conventionally or commercially grown food. More than 600 active chemicals are registered for agricultural use in America; billions of pounds are used annually. The average application equates to about 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per person every year.
Many of these chemicals were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before extensive diet testing. And the National Academy of Sciences reports that only 10 percent of the chemicals applied to foods have been tested for long-term health effects before being deemed “safe.” Further, the FDA tests only one percent of foods for pesticide residue. These findings are surprising, and contradict the soaring consumer demand for food without agricultural chemicals.
Can pesticides be removed from produce by washing or peeling? No, pesticides persist
on fruits and vegetables, according to testing by USDA.
2. Benefit from more nutrients
Organically grown foods have more nutrients — vitamins, minerals, enzymes and micronutrients — than commercially grown foods because the soil is managed and nourished with sustainable practices by responsible standards. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine conducted a review of 41 published studies comparing the nutritional value of organically grown and conventionally grown fruits, vegetables and grains. The conclusion? There are significantly more of several nutrients in organic food crops. On average, compared to their conventional counterparts, organically grown foods provide 21.1 percent more iron, 27 percent more vitamin C, 29.3 percent more magnesium, and 13.6 percent more phosphorus.
3. Enjoy better taste
Organically grown foods generally taste better because nourished, well-balanced soil produces healthy, strong plants. This is especially true with heirloom varieties, which are cultivated for taste over appearance. What does “heirloom” mean? An heirloom tomato, for example, would come from seed that is at least 50 years old and hand-selected by gardeners for special traits. Heirlooms vegetables are pollinated by insects or wind, without human intervention.