Recently there was as a study published by a Stanford researcher about the merits of organic versus conventional food. Specifically the study looked at the vitamin and mineral content of fruits and vegetables and the cost difference between organic and conventional food. Although there are studies that refute these findings: University of Washington, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012346 , http://www.bioneers.org/programs/food-farming-1/articles-interviews/organic-food-has-a-higher-nutrient-content-an-interview-with-charles-benbrook and http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/06/16/best.organic.produce/index.html I tend to stay away from all of the back and fourth and look at the undisputed facts.
First, conventional food contains trace amounts of carcinogenic chemicals http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/172223 . Trace amounts that are allowed per FDA, USDA and EPA standards. Yet every year we find that what was once approved is now harming us. Diactyl and Bisphenal-A (BPA) are the most recent that come to mind. Diactyl causes lung cancer, which is a fact. However, for years it was allowed in the food supply particularly in butter-flavored popcorn and other foodstuffs. That is until people started getting lung cancer due to build up of Diactyl in the body. Then there is BPA. BPA is an endocrine disrupter and is shown to cause birth defects in children and hinder their mental development. Recently studies have shown that BPA is narrowing arteries in adults. The list of approved then disapproved fungicides, insecticides, additives and preservatives just keeps growing.
Second, there is the environmental detriment big industrial farms create while they produce all of the meats, eggs, fruits and vegetables. One example is Atrazine, an herbicide. Atrazine has been linked to castrating bullfrogs and feminizing bass http://www.sfgate.com/green/article/Study-says-herbicide-causes-frogs-sex-change-3197878.php . Yet it is still in use.
I would like to point out that there is a distinction between local conventional farmers and the big industrial corporate farms and imports. Our local farmers feed their family with the products they grow and produce. Their children and grandchildren play in the fields and water on the property. I know these farmers are much more judicious when it comes to using fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. I feel comfortable buying my sweet corn from Mayne’s Tree Farm or fruit from Bob Black at Catoctin Mountain Orchard.
Then there is the cost argument. What consumers do not take into account with conventional costs is that they pay for cleaning up the environment through their taxes not through the price of conventional food. With organic and sustainable farm practises, the cost of environmental protection and rejuvenation is built into the price of the product.
Your tax dollars go to environmental protection, clean up and rejuvination of our waterways and fields because of industrial farming practises. Environmental degradation from industrial farms have been well documented. So when they say conventional food is cheaper they are not telling you about these hidden costs. Ultimately, sustainable organic food is cheaper, safer and an environmentally sound agricultural practice.
Organic food does not have trace amounts of carcinogenic chemicals, steroids, hormones or anti-biotic's. That is fact. Conventional food does contain trace amounts of most synthetic substances used in the production process and these trace amounts are not being processed out of the body like we are told. "Canadian researchers this year reported that the blood of 93 percent of pregnant women and 80 percent of their umbilical cord blood samples contained a pesticide implanted in GMO corn by the biotech company Monsanto, though digestion is supposed to remove it from the body. "Given the potential toxicity of these environmental pollutants and the fragility of the fetus, more studies are needed," they wrote in Reproductive Toxicology". http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-met-gmo-food-labeling--20110524,0,5841902.story.
Whether they are carcinogenic or not, to me, trace amounts means the existence of a substance. You would no more stick your finger in an insecticide, wipe it off on your pants then lick your finger with your tongue. Yet in essence, that is what you do when you eat conventional food from the industrial food complex.
If you think washing the food off before eating it protects you, think about rain. These chemicals are designed to stay on the vegetables when it rains. The effectiveness of the chemical would be useless to the industrial farmer if rain did wash them off. Organic sprays are water soluble, that is why each time it rains we need to retreat those plants that are in distress (raising operational costs).
If we know anything from the use of chemicals, it is that history proves that what was once considered safe is no longer the case, Thalidomide, Agent Orange, Benzene's, DDT, Diethylstilbestrol, Cyclamates, Bisphenal A, Diactyl, and Phthalates (cosmetics) are some. So what, if from a vitamin standpoint both conventional and organic are the same. From a health, safety, cost and environmental standpoint there is no comparison.
Buy Local: The earth will be a better place,