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The idea behind eating organic food seems to be that pesticide residues in food cause harm to health.
Organic fruits and vegetables can be expected to contain fewer agrochemical residues than conventionally grown alternatives; yet, the significance of this difference is questionable, inasmuch as actual levels of contamination in both types of food are generally well below acceptable limits. The average consumer of organic food would, I suppose, say that they’re going to be extra cautious, just in case. What makes the case against paying more for organic food more damning is the fact that our natural, human diet is loaded with pesticides, natural ones. This was spelled out in a classic paper by Bruce Ames, Dietary pesticides (99.99% all natural) (PDF). The toxicological significance of exposures to synthetic chemicals is examined in the context of exposures to naturally occurring chemicals. Nearly all of the pesticide chemicals that humans are exposed to are natural, produced by the plants themselves, and the fact that there’s little if any difference between natural and synthetic pesticides can be seen in the fact that half of the natural pesticides tested caused cancer in rodents. Concentrations of natural pesticides in plants are usually measured in parts per thousand or million rather than parts per billion, the usual concentration of synthetic pesticide residues or of water pollutants.
The natural pesticides that are known to cause cancer are present in the most common foods ingested too. Science, real actual science, shows that virtually every plant food we eat contains large amounts of natural pesticides, some of which are known to cause cancer in lab animals. The conclusion must be that organic food is a waste of money, and to the extent that some people and corporations profit from the ignorance of the public, and even feed that ignorance, a scam. Are you aware of any studies that measured the health effects of consuming the natural pesticides *in* wholefood form – such as eating the fruit itself – vs isolates as found in chemical pesticides? Is that an apples to apples comparison to a compound like glyphosate, relevant to the practical application: glyphosate + adjuvants(RoundUp)? If plants naturally produce pesticides in response to insect stress, you would expect organically grown foods to have higher nutrient concentrations of natural pesticide molecules than conventionally grown. The flavonoids in fruits and veggies are pest deterrents, yet have antioxidant effects in humans… and a 2014 meta found that organic produce had on average 17% more antioxidants than conventional. It’s your example of the climate controlled couch potato, who is also chronically malnourished. I doubt we could truly settle these questions without a long-term controlled study, and I’m sure none of those have happened. Sure, we’re likely to be adapted to some things you find in our food, but all else being equal, plants evolve at roughly the same rate we do. With a family of 5 living on 2 acres with chickens, goats, and a garden that supplies a good percentage of our vegetables, I probably only spend an hour or two a day (on average) managing all this, yet I get fresh free range eggs, fresh goat milk (part of the year, at least), and many varieties of fruits and vegetables I can’t even get in the store.
The original superfood bar packed with real whole foods and original superfood greens powder. After listening to her parents passionately argue the value of certified organic foods, Ria Chhabra created a Science Fair Project to test the effects of feeding fruit flies organic bananas, raisins, potatoes and soybeans, against their conventionally-grown varieties. By nearly every measure, including longevity, fertility and oxidative stress, the organic flies produced more offspring and lived longer than the conventionally-fed flies.
Ria chose the fruit fly model due to their short lifespan, which allows scientists to quickly evaluate basic biological effects. Greens Plus congratulates Ria for successfully proving what Big Agriculture and Big Pharma have tried to disprove for nearly 100 years. This entry was posted in Health, Research, Social and tagged certified organic, eat organic, fertility, longer life, longevity, organic foods, organic fruits, organic studies, organic study, organic vegetables, oxidative stress, Ria Chhabra, stress, why organic by Christopher Daniels. She and her colleagues reviewed more than 200 studies that compared either the health of people who ate organic or conventional foods or, more commonly, nutrient and contaminant levels in the foods themselves. The foods included organic and non-organic fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, poultry eggs and milk. Smith-Spangler and her colleagues found there was no difference in the amount of vitamins in plant or animal products produced organically and conventionally - and the only nutrient difference was slightly more phosphorous in the organic products.
Organic milk and chicken may also contain more omega-3 fatty acids, but that was based on only a few studies.
More than one third of conventional produce had detectable pesticide residues, compared with 7 percent of organic produce samples. Smith-Spangler told Reuters Health it was uncommon for either organic or conventional foods to exceed the allowable limits for pesticides, so it was not clear whether a difference in residues would have an effect on health. But others said more research is needed to fully explore the potential health and safety differences between organic and conventional foods, and it was premature to say organic foods aren't any healthier than non-organic versions. We all know the saying “Health comes through the mouth” which is especially true  for organic food produced in environmentally clean, unpolluted soil which is not chemically treated. Natural, environmentally friendly, organic and microbial fertilizers are used in organic production and animals are fed exclusively with natural, ecological food. In one research project experts made a comparison and got  these numbers: organic food contains 27% more vitamin C, 21% more iron, 29% more magnesium and 13% more phosphorus. According to the 2008 Organic Production Survey (NASS 2010), the United States has 4.1 million acres used for organic production.
The number of certified organic farms, ranches and processing facilities in 2011 totaled 17,281, a 240 percent increase since 2002 (NOP 2012). Organic agriculture has attracted conventional producers, who make the transition due mainly to the price premiums in the market.
According to the 2008 Organic Production Survey (NASS 2010), nearly 128,500 acres of cropland and nearly 66,000 acres of pasture are currently being transitioned to organic production.
In terms of sales outlets, the majority, or 82.6 percent, of organic sales were to wholesalers, including processors and distributors. A study conducted by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) surveyed manufacturers, distributors and retailers about the organic industry. Meat, poultry and fish sales experienced the fastest growth, increasing 13 percent from 2010.
Over $2 billion worth of organic fiber, cosmetics and household products were sold in 2011.
In June 2009, the joint Canada (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and United States (USDA) regulated organic system, the world’s first reciprocal agreement between two countries, was signed.
As of June 2012, the framework for an organic reciprocal agreement between the United States and the EU was approved, streamlining trade between the two largest organic producers in the world.
Beginning in January 2014, organic products certified in Japan or the United States may be sold as organic in either country. Similar organic trade partnerships are currently being discussed with South Korea and Switzerland (FAS 2013). Canada’s organic market grew to $3.7 billion in 2012, with national sales of certified organic food and non-alcoholic beverages reaching $3 billion.
Organics in the United Kingdom (UK) experienced decreases in the amount of organic managed land and organic product sales during 2011, according to the Organic Market Report (2012) published by the Soil Association. The Australian Organic Market Report 2012, funded by the Biological Farmers of Australia, reported that organic sales are increasingly becoming mainstream, with three out of four organic products being purchased at supermarkets.
Global demand for organic products continued to grow, with sales reaching $59.1 billion US in 2010, according to The World of Organic Agriculture (2012). The World of Organic Agriculture (2012) also provides an overview of organic agriculture around the globe. The total number of organic certification organizations was reported as 549, up from 489 in 2009.
Through its two organic certification cost share programs, NOP reimbursed organic farmers and handlers over $6 million during 2011, a 20 percent increase from 2010.
In late 2012, the USDA NOP announced a strengthened residue testing program to help increase consumer confidence in the $32 billion organic industry worldwide. In 2010 the United States surpassed the European Union as the largest market for organic products in the world. If you are confused by the recent flurry of media reports about organic foods being no better than conventional foods, you aren’t alone.
The Stanford study was a literature review of more than 200 scientific articles, published over the past 50 years, that examined nutrient and contaminant levels in foods. Benbrook says he is among a small group of people who have actually read over 200 of the 298 references cited in the Stanford paper, and that he’s performed his own analysis of this body of literature.

He says the most significant, proven benefits of organic food are a reduction in chemical-driven damage during fetal and childhood development, especially from pre-natal exposure to endocrine disrupting pesticides, and that the odds of achieving “clinically significant” improvements in health are substantially increased with organic foods. Apples are at the top of Dirty Dozen list, with 92% of apples containing two or more pesticides.
Not long after the Stanford study came out, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) weighed in on organic food.
Children should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and since some have more pesticide residues than others, parents should be selective if the cost of organic is a concern. The AAP study references other studies that found the primary route of exposure to pesticides for most children is through their food, and that when children switched to an organic diet for five days, pesticide levels in their bodies virtually disappeared. Clearly, dietary exposure to cancer-causing pesticides can be avoided by choosing organic food and that’s the take home message from both of these recent studies. Genetically-modified foods were unleashed on the environment and the public by corporations like Monsanto without prior testing to determine their safety. In other words, eating genetically-modified foods (which most people in in large amounts) is participating in a long-term, uncontrolled experiment. More and more research is coming in about the health threat of genetically-modified food.  The results range from intestinal damage, allergies, liver or pancreatic problems, testicular cellular changes, tumors, and even death in the experimental animals. Eighteen percent of all genetically-modified seeds (and therefore foods that grow from them) are engineered to produce their own pesticides. Research shows that these seeds continue producing pesticides inside your body once you’ve eaten the food grown from them! Foods that are actually pesticide factories…no thanks.
In study after study, research from independent organizations consistently shows organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods. Research shows that organic produce is higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that pesticides pollute the primary drinking source for half the American population. Organic food choices grown on small-scale organic farms help ensure independent family farmers can create a livelihood.
Organic food is not exposed to gas-ripening like some non-organic fruits and vegetables (like bananas). Choosing organic meat lessens your exposure to antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and drugs that find their way into the animals and ultimately into you. Organic food supports greater biodiversity. Diversity is fundamental to life on this planet. Do they know something I don’t know or is it just possible they are the victims of a giant scam? The idea makes some sort of sense; after all, pesticides are used to kill pests, so they must be toxic. Also, some leafy, root, and tuber organic vegetables appear to have lower nitrate content compared with conventional ones, but whether or not dietary nitrate indeed constitutes a threat to human health is a matter of debate. If they want to spend their money paying double the price of regular food, and if Whole Foods is willing to take their money, fine by me. All those dietary phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables that are so good for us are composed largely of chemicals made by plants to defend themselves from predators. Plants cannot flee, literally rooted to the ground as they are, so they fight using the only means possible: chemical warfare. We calculate that 99.99% (by weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves. We estimate that humans ingest roughly 5000 to 10,000 different natural pesticides and their breakdown products. The levels of these 27 rodent carcinogens in the above plants are commonly thousands of times higher than the levels of synthetic pesticides. It’s possible that toxicity could be mitigated in the way you suggest, but remember that these compounds, many of them anyway, were designed to be toxic to creatures eating them. If you were suddenly forced to live on a diet of nothing but purely natural foods unmodified by 100,000 years or more of deliberate modification by humans using hybridized breeding techniques, you’d find your diet notably less tasty, less nutritious, more dangerous, and far less convenient. Off the top of my head though, many detox mechanisms in the human body, for example in the liver, are quite general in nature.
It isn’t a case of us evolving with a static backdrop of plant foods, but a continual back and forth adaption process with neither side having a clear advantage. It’s a Red Queen arms race, and actually, most plants are likely to evolve at a much faster rate than humans, since generation time can be less than a year and number of potential offspring huge. Longevity and fertility are two of the most important life traits of an animal and are excellent indicators of overall health.
Her research professor at Southern Methodist University was so impressed, he encouraged Ria to publish her results, titled Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster, on PLOS-ONE.
He studied Holistic Nutrition at the Clayton College of Natural Health and currently directs Superfood Research and Product Development. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. One of them is perceived health benefits," said Crystal Smith-Spangler, who led a team of researchers from Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care. Department of Agriculture standards, organic farms have to avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics.
Organic pork and chicken were 33 percent less likely to carry bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics than conventionally produced meat. Organic products look the same as products not labeled as “organic products”, but the first difference you will notice is intense smell and taste. Hydrogenated fat and sodium dangerous glutamine (MSG) are some of the banned additives associated with many health problems. Organics have continued to expand during the last few years, and industry experts are forecasting steady growth of 9 percent or higher (OTA 2012). While there were organic farms or ranches in all 50 states, nearly 20 percent, or more than 2,500 of the operations, were in California.
While transitioning to organics can be confusing, many resources are now available to help producers make the change. Individuals wishing to transition to organic should verify that the agency they select is an approved certifier.
Those states transitioning the most cropland to organic production are (in order): Idaho, Montana and Nebraska.
There have been a few studies of farm-level, wholesale and retail organic price data, and these have shown significant organic premiums for most fruits, vegetables, grains and milk (ERS 2005). Census Bureau began creating agricultural product trade codes for exported and imported organic products. Organic foods, including fresh products, accounted for 1.7 percent of total food sales nationwide. The report also found that 65 percent of Australians purchased organic products in the last year, boosting the retail value of organic sales to nearly $1.3 billion AU. This program will provide additional verification that organic farmers are following the rules and not using prohibited substances. According to the Organic Monitor (2010), mergers and acquisitions led to consolidation, with large companies emerging at every level of the supply chain. A Stanford University study, misinterpreted by journalists and not that newsworthy to begin with, spawned sensational headlines in major newspapers that cast doubt on the benefits of eating organic food. The authors concluded that the published literature did not show organic food is more nutritious than conventional food. Charles Benbrook is a long-time pesticide policy expert and Research Professor with the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University. He says the study is flawed in several ways, in that the indicators used to compare nutrition and safety of organic versus conventional foods consistently understates the magnitude of the differences, and that the team did not make use of high quality data on pesticide residue levels, toxicity and dietary risk available from the U.S.
Very few studies are designed or conducted in a way that could isolate the impact or contribution of a switch to organic food from the many other factors that influence a given individual’s health. Some of the same carcinogenic pesticides used on potatoes are also sprayed on apples to control scab. Media, again, managed to muddy the waters with inaccurate reporting, focussing on the nutritional value of organic food and ignoring or downplaying the effects of pesticide exposure on human health. A commonly-used class of pesticides called organophosphates was originally developed as a toxic nerve agent during World War I. Organic food production has been around for thousands of years and is the sustainable choice for the future.  Compare that to modern agricultural practices that are destructive of the environment through widespread use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers and have resulted in drastic environmental damage in many parts of the world. Research at the Harvard School of Public Health found a 70% increase in Parkinson’s disease among people exposed to pesticides.

Even with commonly used amounts of pesticides, wildlife is being harmed by exposure to pesticides. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides, and 30% of insecticides potentially cancer-causing. By some estimates genetically-modified food makes up 80% of the average person’s food consumption. Genetically-modified and non-organic food is focused on high yield monoculture and is destroying biodiversity. Only 52 natural pesticides have been tested [as of 1990] in high-dose animal cancer tests, and about half (27) are rodent carcinogens; these 27 are shown to be present in many common foods. They may very well be toxic to some organisms, like, certain insects, and not or less so to others, like humans. Organically grown oranges have 30% more vitamin C than conventionally grown, ostensibly due to higher insect stress. For instance, the cytochrome p450 system is capable of detoxifying most of the drugs humans take. I’ve been foraging for decades, and I can tell you straight out that the difference between an edible plant and an inedible plant is, the vast majority of the time, toxicity. It’s just how much do they have, and how do they affect you that is the prime concern.
Most organic products contain more nutrients, vitamins and minerals than conventionally produced food. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulates all organic agriculture in the United States. Certifiers should be contacted early and often for assistance in complying with their individual requirements and procedures. Those states transitioning the most pasture to organic production are (in order): Texas, Oklahoma and Montana.
Nearly 75 percent of sales were either local or regional (that is, more than 100 miles but less than 500 miles). The Mintel market research company found that frequent buyers of organics were remaining loyal but likely to purchase cheaper organic products.
Overall, 78 percent of the nearly 1,300 families participating in the study reported they were purchasing organic products, up from 73 percent in 2009.
As of July 1, 2013, the number of trade codes for exported organic products totaled 26 and the number of trade codes for imported organic products totaled 35. An analysis of the data available for 2011 showed that the 23 commodities being tracked at that time accounted for more than $412 million in export sales, which was about evenly split between fruits and vegetables. As in the United States, fruit and vegetables dominate organic sales, capturing 40 percent of total sales. Fruit and vegetables remained the most comonly purchased item, but the meat sector experienced the largest increase in sales. Organic farmland increased in Europe; the largest increases were seen in France, Poland and Spain. For example, the Organic Transition Support provision in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial support to farmers to convert to organic production.
Beginning January 1, 2013, USDA organic certifying agents will test products from at least five percent of the organic farms and businesses that they certify each year. The news stories would have us believe that buying organic food is a waste of money because organic food is no more nutritious than pesticide-sprayed food.
They also concluded that eating organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Benbrook’s detailed analysis and critique, Initial Reflections on the Annals of Internal Medicine Paper, points out the shortcomings of the Stanford study and comes to different conclusions about the benefits of eating organic food. Studies capable of doing so would be very expensive, and to date, none have been carried out in the U.S.
Theo Colborn, world-renowned expert on endocrine disrupting chemicals and Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Florida says: Scientists exploring the role of known endocrine disruptors during embryonic and fetal development have built a strong case that certain endocrine related cancers, including breast, prostate, and testicular cancer, can be traced back to exposure in the womb. In PEI, 80% of pesticides (by weight of active ingredient) used on potatoes are on the cancer list.
This is one of the main reasons people eat organic food — to avoid pesticide exposure. When there was no longer a need for them in warfare, industry adapted them to kill pests on foods.
Choosing organic helps feed their bodies without the exposure to pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, both of which have a relatively short history of use (and therefore safety). Choosing organic foods means that more people will be able to work on farms without incurring the higher potential health risk of Parkinson’s or other illnesses. It is reasonable to think that the rapidly increasing rates of cancer are at least partly linked to the use of these carcinogenic pesticides. The sulforaphanes in cruciferous vegetables, the solanine in potatoes, the epicatechins in tea: none of those were put there for our benefit.
We conclude that natural and synthetic chemicals are equally likely to be positive in animal cancer tests. But it would seem not to be in a plant’s interest to mitigate the toxicity of one compound with other compounds.
These drugs are essentially all novel, yet we’re capable of dealing with them physiologically. This shows just how toxic plants can be, since toxicity is probably the main reason for being inedible. Now, there are some plants you simply cannot eat due to composition, toughness, rigidity, fibrous material, etc, that no manner of normal cooking can break down. A tablespoon or more of appleseeds has enough cyanide compounds in it to seriously harm a child, and most adults, depending on body weight. Markets should be identified, and only certified organic processors and handlers used for organic certification compliance.
According to an ERS survey of organic handlers (2008), more than 50 percent of organic sales in 2004 were made either locally or regionally. Infrequent buyers of organics, on the other hand, were likely to select fewer organic products. Most of the trade codes for organic exports are for fresh fruits or vegetables, while most of the organic import codes are for coffee, olive oil, tea and wine. The report also noted that 83 percent of UK households still buy organic products, with dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables being the most popular organic products. On the other hand, organic farmland decreased in Asia, mainly due to large declines in organic farmland in China and India. Other provisions in the Farm Act boost the funding for organic research, particularly for the development of new, improved seed varieties as well as for the conservation and environmental outcomes of organic practices, and support the expansion of data collection on organic production and marketing.
The difference between an edible and an unedible plant lies merely in our ability to tolerate the toxins of an edible plant. And as for being adapted to many of the phytochemicals, many of the fruits and vegetables we eat have undergone massive breeding programs that have manipulated them to the point that they don’t bear a lot of resemblance to wild ancestors. The study also found that 30 percent of the families had only recently begun purchasing organic products. The Environmental Working Group includes potatoes on the Dirty Dozen list of foods most contaminated with pesticides. Eating third-party certified organic foods or those that are guaranteed to be grown from organic seed helps protect you from the health consequences of GMOs. Of the organic vegetables analyzed, lettuce, carrots and spinach had the highest export sales. The province of British Columbia has the most developed organic markets, followed by the provinces of Alberta and Ontario. Organic lettuce sales, for example, totaled nearly $85.2 million and comprised about 16 percent of all lettuce exports.

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