But wait, there's more Organic produce can still be contaminated by nearby conventional fields. A couple of studies the researchers analyzed showed that children who ate organic produce had fewer pesticide traces in their urine. This is great news if you put your faith in the USDA, who sets those limits. However, if you believe that no pesticides is better than "safe" levels of pesticides, you might not be assuaged. Finally, this study did not include any long-term studies of the effect of pesticides on humans.
China’s taste for healthy food an opportunity for Thai organic agri-sector
Why should you care about pesticides? A study found a close correlation between the amount of a certain pesticide present in children's urine and the severity of their ADHD. However, at least one study has suggested that insecticide use in children's homes may be more to blame than their food. We say: Pick and choose your produce carefully. Some produce contains higher levels of pesticide than others, making it more worthwhile to pay for organic.
We have a list right here of the fruits and vegetables worth your money. Also, look at where your produce is from. Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest and advocate for safer food, says that produce grown in the U. The study found that organic meats weren't any less likely to be contaminated by dangerous bacteria like E.
That means that if you pick up a food-borne illness from handling or ingesting undercooked organic meats and eggs, antibiotics will be more likely to take care of it.
What Is Organic?
There have been at least 24 outbreaks of multi-drug resistant germs in food between and , though the government has just recently begun to curb the use of non-medical antibiotics on farms. Eating meat and drinking milk raised without hormones might also be worth your while if you happen to have a daughter. A study released this August showed that girls as young as seven are hitting puberty at twice the rate of the late s. The reason? It could be due to the obesity epidemic We say: Look for both antibiotic- and hormone-free products.
Many producers of conventional meat and milk offer antibiotic- and hormone-free options that cost somewhat less than full-on organic meat and milk. No matter what kind of meat you buy, always cook it thoroughly to kill bacteria and handle it carefully in the kitchen.
Organic Food Isn’t Better For Your Health
You might also consider buying less meat in general. Not only is it pricier than vegetarian options, Americans eat on average 1. Instead, you can get your and your child's protein needs from soy, cheese, grains, nuts, legumes and leafy greens. We say: Go local. While not all farms represented at your local farmers' market will be officially certified as organic going through certification is an onerous and expensive process , everything there is almost guaranteed to be more environmentally friendly than the same foods would be at a supermarket, and you can even ask the farmer directly about his methods.
Most farmers' markets have strict standards for what they allow to be sold, including pesticide use, humane treatment of animals and how far away the food was raised. On the other hand, foods trucked into your local grocery store from Mexico or flown in from another continent for an average of 1, miles travelled have a huge carbon footprint. You would have a hard time denying the difference between a juicy, freshly picked berry and a larger strawberry with a flavorless, white core shipped in from Mexico.
But all other things being equal, any strawberry is probably better than no strawberry at all in your child's diet. We say: This is up to you and your children's preferences. You might find your kid is more inclined to eat a fresh-picked, organic heirloom tomatoes over another option, but, then again, he might not notice at all. Food safety tests in recent years have shown that our belief that organic vegetables and fruits are healthy and possibly chemical-free is false. As if that were not enough, one quarter of the products sampled that were labelled as organic by producers, in fact contained chemical residues exceeding accepted standards.
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At this point, I don't know what is worse -- feeling anguished from knowing you have been fooled or fearing the health impact from eating chemically tainted legumes. More recently in January, another random test by Thai-PAN found that two-thirds of samples -- 30 types of vegetables harvested on hydroponic farms -- were in excess of the maximum residue limit.
This indicates that even hydroponic vegetables which are cultivated in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution, without the use of soil, can also contain chemical substances. Needless to say, consumers, including myself, are willing to pay for those fancy futuristic words tagged with the products thinking they would be a safe choice.
Believe it or not, chemical residues in our salads are the byproducts of the state's lax regulation on chemical use in the agriculture sector. Our authorities still allow the use of paraquat, chlorpyrifos and glyphosate. These pesticides have been banned or are subjected to severe regulation and restricted use in many countries. For example, the weed-killing paraquat has been banned in 52 countries and 17 countries have imposed strict regulations on its use. Indeed, consumer groups have tried to pressure state agencies to ban the chemicals. This request has been backed by the Public Health Ministry.
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There have been many studies indicating chemicals used on a farm could be passed to consumers. For example, a study by Pornpimol Kongthip, a researcher at the Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, showed that paraquat can be transferred from mother to baby in the womb. In her research, 53 toddlers in Amnat Charoen, Kanchanaburi and Nakhon Sawan provinces were found to have paraquat contamination.
Last April, as public debate on the issue intensified, the government formed a committee to devise possible solutions on hazardous farm chemicals. Comprising high-level officials from the Public Health Ministry, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, the Industry Ministry, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the committee recommended the three chemicals should be banned from farm use.
But the committee does not have the authority to implement such a ban. The responsible agency, the Department of Agriculture DOA , which has the authority to regulate which chemicals should be allowed on farms, has simply refused to follow the recommendation. It said it would ban the chemicals only if they are classified as "hazardous" by the Industry Ministry. The DOA even said the ban on the chemicals would result in economic losses of over 70 billion baht in the agricultural sector because farmers will not have alternative pesticides for farming.
The department also renewed the listing of paraquat as one of the chemicals allowed for farm use.
enter site So, that may explain why our vegetables are chemically tainted. It is such economic-driven policy that puts toxicity into our mouths.