Is organic food good for health?
Since the last few years, organically grown food is being preferred over conventional crops that
use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Recently, there has been a tirade against organic crops
with many organizations like the CCF (Centre for Consumer Freedom) saying that the manure
used by organic farmers as fertilizers is deadly, as it is a breeding ground for numerous
dangerous microbes and the deadly e-coli bacteria. Even the natural pesticides that organic
farmers use in cultivation could be far more dangerous that synthetic chemical pesticides.
The debate over organic versus conventional crops has been in existence, since the very
beginning. Of late the controversy has grown alarmingly with both sides citing different reasons
in support of their stands. Advocates of organic farming say that chemical pesticides can kill,
whereas those in favour of conventional farming say that organically grown crops need to
develop their own defence systems to guard against insects and pests, which can be way more
toxic than pesticides.
What Is Organic Food:
All these allegations and counter allegations being traded between global agribusinesses and
powerful organic trade associations each working with their own interests in mind have placed
the common man in a very perplexing situation. The average family man is just interested in
providing his family with a healthy meal and wants to protect his children from harmful toxins
together with doing his small bit for protecting the environment. He just wants to know whether
organic produce is safer and more environment-friendly than conventionally grown plants and
whether it is worthwhile to spend more for buying organically grown food.
The single most important reason, why people choose organic produce over that which is
conventionally grown is to avoid consumption of pesticides. Organic farmers cannot use any
synthetic chemical for killing weeds, pests or fertilization, whereas the conventional farmer has
access to nearly 200 synthetic chemicals, which he can use as fungicides, pesticides,
herbicides and fertilizers. It is true that many of such chemicals are found on the vegetables and
fruits that are bought from the market. To be fair, even organic produce is not entirely free from
pesticides. Synthetic chemicals from surrounding fields seep into groundwater sources and are
drawn into organically grown plants.
Example Of Organic foods
Of a sample size of 13208 of conventional produce tested by the US Dept of Agriculture, 76
percent of the fresh vegetable and fruit samples tested were found to contain detectable
residues of chemicals as against just 23 percent for organically grown produce. Research by
food scientist Chensheng Lu of Emory University showed that urine samples from a group of
preschool children being studied for pesticide consumption in food showed one child with no
detectable levels of organophosphates, a class of common pesticides. Following up on the
research the scientist found that the parents of the child served only organic food, none other, at
home. This made him go for another experiment of 23 children, who ate conventional food.
They were later switched for five days totally to organic foods including vegetables, juices,
pasta, processed food, dairy, chips, cereals etc. The results proved conclusively that while on
conventional diets the children measured positive to organophosphate pesticides in their urine,
but within a day of switching to organic foods the pesticide levels became non-detectable and
rose again, when the children switched back to conventional diets.
This is something that goes overwhelmingly in favour of organically grown food.