Sunday, January 18, 2009
Everyone ate organic food until chemical pesticides and herbicides were invented in the last hundred years or so. The label "organic" is a bit of a misnomer, since all food is chemically organic because it is carbon-based. But organic in the context of food now means it is produced without the use of conventional pesticides and artificial fertilizers, is free from contamination by human or industrial waste, is processed without ionizing radiation or artificial food additives, and does not contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). Also, in the context of livestock, use of antibiotics or growth hormones is not allowed.
Organic foods are becoming more popular again as people realize that our bodies don't need the extra burden of harmful chemicals. Some foods are more likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Also, certain foods are more likely to contain GMOs. Avoiding those foods will also reduce your exposure, but that approach is getting more difficult, especially with GMOs since there is no labeling requirement. Buying organic foods from sources that you can trust is the best way to promote healthy foods. Beware of cut-rate vendors that offer "organic" products from overseas that may not really meet expected organic standards. Some unscrupulous producers and vendors may also falsely label food as organic. So knowing your food source is ideal - another good reason to buy local foods from producers that you know and trust.
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is probably the largest organization that promotes organic food and defends organic standards. OCA has a wealth of information on their web site and is worthy of consideration for your support. The video below about organic food was included in a recent OCA newsletter.
We need to get back to producing and preparing foods like our healthy ancestors. We vote with our dollars - buy organic sustainable foods.