Advantages and Disadvantages of consuming organic food
It is widely acknowledged that food plays a role as the chief factor affecting public health. Because of this, how to make a sagacious selection of daily food has been always a matter of great concern. It is typically believed that using organic products brings a lot of benefits to human health. While it may work to a certain extent, in this essay i would demonstrate that there are both advantages and disadvantages to this.
The key rationale in favor of the advocacy for organic food is that it is produced in a clean and safe way. During the procedure, there are only a few chemicals and fertilizers added and the products are subjected to rigorous quality check prior to its dispatch to food stalls, supermarkets and restaurants. In addition, the development of organic food is of critical importance to address the problem of employment and boost the national economy. For example, Meat Deli. a Vietnamese brand that sells organic meat, has strongly promoted job and income prospects for farmers since its introduction into the country market.
However, there are some drawbacks of this kind of food beside its benefits to consumers. First, although organic food is produced chemical-free and fertilizer-free, the procedure is considered time-consuming. Second, places where organic food is allowed for trade are primarily located in central cities, making it not always available for everyone. Third, quality is at the expense of price. In other words, the cost of high quality products may be too much for consumers having low or average income to cover.
In conclusion, i am of the opinion that there are both advantages and disadvantages to the consumption of organic food.
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Essay evaluations by e-grader
Grammar and spelling errors: Line 1, column 351, Rule ID: I_LOWERCASE Message: Did you mean 'I'? Suggestion: I ...work to a certain extent, in this essay i would demonstrate that there are both a... ^ Line 5, column 473, Rule ID: UPPERCASE_SENTENCE_START Message: This sentence does not start with an uppercase letter Suggestion: A ...tional economy. For example, Meat Deli. a Vietnamese brand that sells organic mea... ^ Line 5, column 486, Rule ID: MASS_AGREEMENT Message: Possible agreement error - use third-person verb forms for singular and mass nouns: 'brands'. Suggestion: brands ...y. For example, Meat Deli. a Vietnamese brand that sells organic meat, has strongly p... ^^^^^ Line 9, column 9, Rule ID: WHITESPACE_RULE Message: Possible typo: you repeated a whitespace Suggestion: ...n into the country market. However, there are some drawbacks of this kind of... ^^ Line 9, column 131, Rule ID: WHITESPACE_RULE Message: Possible typo: you repeated a whitespace Suggestion: ...First, although organic food is produced chemical-free and fertilizer-free, the p... ^^ Line 13, column 16, Rule ID: I_LOWERCASE Message: Did you mean 'I'? Suggestion: I ...ge income to cover. In conclusion, i am of the opinion that there are both a... ^
Transition Words or Phrases used: first, however, may, second, so, third, while, for example, in addition, in conclusion, kind of, in other words
Attributes: Values AverageValues Percentages(Values/AverageValues)% => Comments
Performance on Part of Speech: To be verbs : 17.0 13.1623246493 129% => OK Auxiliary verbs: 3.0 7.85571142285 38% => OK Conjunction : 10.0 10.4138276553 96% => OK Relative clauses : 7.0 7.30460921844 96% => OK Pronoun: 20.0 24.0651302605 83% => OK Preposition: 37.0 41.998997996 88% => OK Nominalization: 7.0 8.3376753507 84% => OK
Performance on vocabulary words: No of characters: 1423.0 1615.20841683 88% => OK No of words: 278.0 315.596192385 88% => More content wanted. Chars per words: 5.11870503597 5.12529762239 100% => OK Fourth root words length: 4.08329915638 4.20363070211 97% => OK Word Length SD: 2.93465442151 2.80592935109 105% => OK Unique words: 160.0 176.041082164 91% => More unique words wanted. Unique words percentage: 0.575539568345 0.561755894193 102% => OK syllable_count: 451.8 506.74238477 89% => OK avg_syllables_per_word: 1.6 1.60771543086 100% => OK
A sentence (or a clause, phrase) starts by: Pronoun: 3.0 5.43587174349 55% => OK Article: 5.0 2.52805611222 198% => OK Subordination: 3.0 2.10420841683 143% => OK Conjunction: 0.0 0.809619238477 0% => OK Preposition: 6.0 4.76152304609 126% => OK
Performance on sentences: How many sentences: 15.0 16.0721442886 93% => OK Sentence length: 18.0 20.2975951904 89% => OK Sentence length SD: 40.8879226939 49.4020404114 83% => OK Chars per sentence: 94.8666666667 106.682146367 89% => OK Words per sentence: 18.5333333333 20.7667163134 89% => OK Discourse Markers: 7.4 7.06120827912 105% => OK Paragraphs: 4.0 4.38176352705 91% => OK Language errors: 6.0 5.01903807615 120% => OK Sentences with positive sentiment : 8.0 8.67935871743 92% => OK Sentences with negative sentiment : 3.0 3.9879759519 75% => OK Sentences with neutral sentiment: 4.0 3.4128256513 117% => OK What are sentences with positive/Negative/neutral sentiment?
Coherence and Cohesion: Essay topic to essay body coherence: 0.376873081831 0.244688304435 154% => OK Sentence topic coherence: 0.107406173627 0.084324248473 127% => OK Sentence topic coherence SD: 0.100515238395 0.0667982634062 150% => OK Paragraph topic coherence: 0.250534209999 0.151304729494 166% => OK Paragraph topic coherence SD: 0.109426779607 0.056905535591 192% => OK
Essay readability: automated_readability_index: 12.0 13.0946893788 92% => Automated_readability_index is low. flesch_reading_ease: 53.21 50.2224549098 106% => OK smog_index: 8.8 7.44779559118 118% => OK flesch_kincaid_grade: 10.3 11.3001002004 91% => OK coleman_liau_index: 12.42 12.4159519038 100% => OK dale_chall_readability_score: 8.96 8.58950901804 104% => OK difficult_words: 78.0 78.4519038076 99% => OK linsear_write_formula: 8.5 9.78957915832 87% => OK gunning_fog: 9.2 10.1190380762 91% => OK text_standard: 9.0 10.7795591182 83% => OK What are above readability scores?
--------------------- Rates: 78.6516853933 out of 100 Scores by essay e-grader: 7.0 Out of 9 --------------------- Note: the e-grader does NOT examine the meaning of words and ideas. VIP users will receive further evaluations by advanced module of e-grader and human graders.
8 Advantages and Disadvantages of Organic Foods
The organic industry is on the move: According to data from the Organic Trade Association , more than 82 percent of U.S. households buy organic, more than 75 percent of all categories on supermarket shelves offer organic options and half of organic operations are increasing their full-time employment.
However, according to an article published in Scientific American , organic production still makes up less than 1 percent of agricultural land around the globe — perhaps due in part to the complex interplay between the pros and cons of organic food and farming.
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Disadvantage: The Cost Factor
Let's start with the most obvious disadvantage of organic food: It almost always costs more than conventionally grown food. That's a small wonder when you consider the long list of cost- and production-optimizing practices that are common on conventional farms but aren't allowed on organic farms .
These include genetically modified organisms, conventional pesticides, herbicides, petroleum-based and sewage-sludge-based fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones and irradiation. Depending on what's being produced, the scarcity of organic raw materials can ratchet costs up too.
For many consumers of organic food, the mandated absence of these practices is worth the extra cost. But the stark truth is that many people simply can't afford the difference in cost.
There's a different sort of cost factor for farmers: the learning curve they must undergo if they choose to transition from conventional to organic farming. Suddenly they must master a whole new set of agricultural principles, with both guidance and skilled labor less readily available than they are for conventional agriculture.
Read more : 21 Foods to Always Buy Organic (Even If You're On a Budget)
Advantage: Reduced Exposure to Pesticides
One of the greatest benefits of organic food is the reduced exposure to pesticides, due to the regulations imposed on organic farming operations.
There's been some back-and-forth over this issue, with some, like plant pathologist Steven Savage writing for Forbes , contending that pesticide residue on conventional foods falls within limits that have been deemed "safe."
But in a feature article for the Harvard School of Public Health , the editors point out that such limits are predicated on animal-based studies, and that several birth-cohort studies in the U.S. suggest that pesticides do in fact harm children's brains, demonstrating negative impacts on IQ, neurobehavioral development and ADHD diagnoses.
Ultimately, no matter what your feelings are about pesticide levels in conventional foods, it's difficult to assert that less pesticide exposure is in any way a negative aspect of organic foods.
Read more : 16 Foods You Don't Always Need to Buy Organic
Advantage: Reduced Exposure to Antibiotics
Even in conventional agriculture within the U.S., antibiotic use is on the decline: As of the FDA's 2017 annual summary report , the use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals had dropped 43 percent from its peak in 2015, when about 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States were intended for use in animal agriculture.
Still, a December 2016 study for the European Parliamentary Research Service points out that antibiotic use in agriculture remains a key driver for the growing prevalence of antibiotic resistance, which can be spread from animals to humans .
That makes the very limited use of antibiotics in organic agriculture a definite benefit. Instead of turning to antibiotics to keep their animals healthy, organic farmers use more preventives, such as giving the animals appropriate space to roam, which in turn cuts down on the transmission of infections and other disease.
Possible Advantage: Reduced Allergies
A review of existing scientific evidence, published through the European Parliamentary Research Service in 2016 , notes that some studies have indicated a link between organic food consumption and a lower risk of childhood allergies . The authors also note that adults who frequently eat organic food are less likely to have overweight or obesity.
That said, there have been no studies to establish definite cause between these factors. This is especially important because it's difficult to separate organic foods from other lifestyle factors present in the same population that might also affect these health factors.
Questionable Advantage: Better Treatment of Animals
According to a survey conducted in 2013 by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a majority of consumers who buy organic food believe that organic farms are required to treat animals more humanely than so-called factory farms. But vague requirements and regulatory loopholes mean that isn't necessarily the case.
If your primary concern in buying organic food is avoiding factory farms or encouraging animal welfare, consider shopping for products that are Certified Humane or bear a similar regulatory designation for the quality of care — and life — the animals receive.
Unclear Advantage: Better Sustainability
You could make the case that one of the biggest disadvantages of organic food is the label with its numerous assumptions and misapprehensions. In some cases, it's an undeniable case of consumers assuming that the organic label equates to ideal conditions for the animals involved.
Some consumers also assume that organic practices are more sustainable than conventional agriculture. And while that is certainly sometimes the case, it isn't always true.
For example, organic farmers are free to plant outside the natural season for crops, using heating systems and other practices that eat up a lot of natural resources. So if sustainability really matters to you, consider doing a little extra research to make sure the organic brand you're looking at is as eco-friendly as you think it is.
Possible Disadvantage: Too Costly and Restrictive
Some farms follow largely organic production practices but haven't actually pursued organic certification, either because they find the letter of the organic standards to be too restrictive (consider the previous point regarding sustainable farming), or because of the extra costs involved that they don't want to pass on to the consumer. ( Becoming USDA Certified Organic can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.)
While those might be considered disadvantages to the organic label, they're also a great reason to get to know your local farmers. If you stop by the farmer's market or farm stand during a time when it's not very busy, farmers are often happy to discuss their philosophies and farming practices.
Conditional Advantage: More Nutritional Value
Many consumers believe that organic foods have better nutritional value than conventionally grown foods, but there's only limited evidence that this is the case. For example, a 2017 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that organic onions had about 20 percent higher antioxidant content than their conventionally grown cousins, and a pair of 2016 studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organic milk and meat have greater concentrations of essential fatty acids than their nonorganic counterparts.
- European Parliamentary Research Service: Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture
- Scientific American: Why People Aren't Buying Into Organic Food Products
- Organic Trade Association: Big Results From Small Seeds
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Behind the USDA Organic Seal
- Organic Farming Research Foundation: Organic FAQs
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration: 2017 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals
- American Journal of Public Health: Antibiotics Overuse in Animal Agriculture
- National Geographic: We Don't Have Enough Organic Farms. Why Not?
- ASPCA: Research on Consumer Perceptions of Organic Food Standards
- Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts: The Difference Between Organic and Sustainable Agriculture
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Becoming a Certified Operation
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Higher Antioxidant Activity
- Science Daily: New Study Finds Clear Differences Between Organic and Non-Organic Milk and Meat
- Certified Humane: Our Standards
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Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?
Discover the difference between organic foods and their traditionally grown counterparts when it comes to nutrition, safety and price.
Once found only in health food stores, organic food is now a common feature at most grocery stores. And that's made a bit of a problem in the produce aisle.
For example, you can pick an apple grown with usual (conventional) methods. Or you can pick one that's organic. Both apples are firm, shiny and red. They both provide vitamins and fiber. And neither apple has fat, salt or cholesterol. Which should you choose? Get the facts before you shop.
What is organic farming?
The word "organic" means the way farmers grow and process farming (agricultural) products. These products include fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products such as milk and cheese, and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to meet the following goals:
- Improve soil and water quality
- Cut pollution
- Provide safe, healthy places for farm animals (livestock) to live
- Enable natural farm animals' behavior
- Promote a self-sustaining cycle of resources on a farm
Materials or methods not allowed in organic farming include:
- Artificial (synthetic) fertilizers to add nutrients to the soil
- Sewage sludge as fertilizer
- Most synthetic pesticides for pest control
- Using radiation (irradiation) to preserve food or to get rid of disease or pests
- Using genetic technology to change the genetic makeup (genetic engineering) of crops, which can improve disease or pest resistance, or to improve crop harvests
- Antibiotics or growth hormones for farm animals (livestock)
Organic crop farming materials or practices may include:
- Plant waste left on fields (green manure), farm animals' manure or compost to improve soil quality
- Plant rotation to keep soil quality and to stop cycles of pests or disease
- Cover crops that prevent wearing away of soil (erosion) when sections of land aren't in use and to plow into soil for improving soil quality
- Mulch to control weeds
- Insects or insect traps to control pests
- Certain natural pesticides and a few synthetic pesticides approved for organic farming, used rarely and only as a last choice and coordinated with a USDA organic certifying agent
Organic farming practices for farm animals (livestock) include:
- Healthy living conditions and access to the outdoors
- Pasture feeding for at least 30% of farm animals' nutritional needs during grazing season
- Organic food for animals
- Shots to protect against disease (vaccinations)
Organic or not? Check the label
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set up an organic certification program that requires all organic food to meet strict government standards. These standards control how such food is grown, handled and processed.
Any product labeled as organic on the product description or packaging must be USDA certified. If it's certified, the producer may also use an official USDA Organic seal.
The USDA says producers who sell less than $5,000 a year in organic food don't need to be certified. These producers must follow the guidelines for organic food production. But they don't need to go through the certification process. They can label their products as organic. But they can't use the official USDA Organic seal.
Products certified 95 percent or more organic may display this USDA seal.
The USDA guidelines describe organic foods on product labels as:
- 100% organic. This label is used on certified organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat or other foods that have one ingredient. It may also be used on food items with many ingredients if all the items are certified organic, except for salt and water. These may have a USDA seal.
- Organic. If a food with many ingredients is labeled organic, at least 95% of the ingredients are certified organic, except for salt and water. The items that aren't organic must be from a USDA list of approved additional ingredients. These also may have a USDA seal.
- Made with organic. If a product with many ingredients has at least 70% certified organic ingredients, it may have a "made with organic" ingredients label. For example, a breakfast cereal might be labeled "made with organic oats." The ingredient list must show what items are organic. These products can't carry a USDA seal.
- Organic ingredients. If a product has some organic ingredients but less than 70% of the ingredients are certified organic , the product can't be labeled as organic. It also can't carry a USDA seal. The ingredient list can show which ingredients are organic.
Does 'organic' mean the same thing as 'natural'?
No, "natural" and "organic" are different. Usually, "natural" on a food label means that the product has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. "Natural" on a label doesn't have to do with the methods or materials used to grow the food ingredients.
Also be careful not to mix up other common food labels with organic labels. For example, certified organic beef guidelines include pasture access during at least 120 days of grazing season and no growth hormones. But the labels "free-range" or "hormone-free" don't mean a farmer followed all guidelines for organic certification.
Organic food: Is it safer or more nutritious?
Some data shows possible health benefits of organic foods when compared with foods grown using the usual (conventional) process. These studies have shown differences in the food. But there is limited information to prove how these differences can give potential overall health benefits.
Potential benefits include the following:
- Nutrients. Studies have shown small to moderate increases in some nutrients in organic produce. Organic produce may have more of certain antioxidants and types of flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. The feeding requirements for organic farm animals (livestock) usually cause higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These include feeding cattle grass and alfalfa. Omega-3 fatty acids — a kind of fat — are more heart healthy than other fats. These higher omega-3 fatty acids are found in organic meats, dairy and eggs.
- Toxic metal. Cadmium is a toxic chemical naturally found in soils and absorbed by plants. Studies have shown much lower cadmium levels in organic grains, but not fruits and vegetables, when compared with crops grown using usual (conventional) methods. The lower cadmium levels in organic grains may be related to the ban on synthetic fertilizers in organic farming.
- Pesticide residue. Compared with produce grown using usual (conventional) methods, organically grown produce has lower levels of pesticide residue. The safety rules for the highest levels of residue allowed on conventional produce have changed. In many cases, the levels have been lowered. Organic produce may have residue because of pesticides approved for organic farming or because of airborne pesticides from conventional farms.
- Bacteria. Meats produced using usual (conventional) methods may have higher amounts of dangerous types of bacteria that may not be able to be treated with antibiotics. The overall risk of contamination of organic foods with bacteria is the same as conventional foods.
Are there downsides to buying organic?
One common concern with organic food is cost. Organic foods often cost more than similar foods grown using usual (conventional) methods. Higher prices are due, in part, to more costly ways of farming.
Food safety tips
Whether you go totally organic or choose to mix conventional and organic foods, keep these tips in mind:
- Choose a variety of foods from a mix of sources. You'll get a better variety of nutrients and lower your chance of exposure to a single pesticide.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in season when you can. To get the freshest produce, ask your grocer what is in season. Or buy food from your local farmers market.
- Read food labels carefully. Just because a product says it's organic or has organic ingredients doesn't mean it's a healthier choice. Some organic products may still be high in sugar, salt, fat or calories.
- Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables well under running water. Washing helps remove dirt, germs and chemical traces from fruit and vegetable surfaces. But you can't remove all pesticide traces by washing. Throwing away the outer leaves of leafy vegetables can lessen contaminants. Peeling fruits and vegetables can remove contaminants but may also cut nutrients.
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- Organic production and handling standards. U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://www.ams.usda.gov/publications/content/organic-production-handling-standards. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- Introduction to organic practices. U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://www.ams.usda.gov/publications/content/introduction-organic-practices. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- Organic labeling at farmers markets. U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://www.ams.usda.gov/publications/content/organic-labeling-farmers-markets. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- Labeling organic products. U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://www.ams.usda.gov/publications/content/labeling-organic-products. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- Use of the term natural on food labeling. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/use-term-natural-food-labeling. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- Demory-Luce D, et al. Organic foods and children. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- Pesticides and food: Healthy, sensible food practices. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/pesticides-and-food-healthy-sensible-food-practices. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- Vegetable and pulses outlook: November 2021. U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/pub-details/?pubid=102664. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- Changes to the nutrition facts label. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/changes-nutrition-facts-label. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- Rahman SME, et al. Consumer preference, quality and safety of organic and conventional fresh fruits, vegetables, and cereals. Foods. 2021; doi:10.3390/foods10010105.
- Brantsaeter AL, et al. Organic food in the diet: Exposure and health implications. Annual Review of Public Health. 2017; doi:10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031816-044437.
- Vigar V, et al. A systematic review of organic versus conventional food consumption: Is there a measurable benefit on human health? Nutrients. 2019; doi:10.3390/nu12010007.
- Mie A, et al. Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: A comprehensive review. Environmental Health. 2017; doi:10.1186/s12940-017-0315-4.
- Innes GK, et al. Contamination of retail meat samples with multidrug-resistant organisms in relation to organic and conventional production and processing: A cross-sectional analysis of data from the United States National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, 2012-2017. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2021; doi:10.1289/EHP7327.
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23 Advantages and Disadvantages of Organic Food
The popularity of organic foods has risen dramatically over the past 20 years in the United States. Almost $40 billion was spent on produce labeled as being organic in 2014. Increases of 10% or more have occurred in each year since then.
Some people prefer to eat organic food because they think it is healthier, tastier, or safer to eat. Others believe that this eating choice is better for the environment and improves the well-being of animals that are in the human food chain.
The “organic” terminology is a reference to how specific foods are processed and grown before reaching the market for consumption. They must be free of artificial chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, and GMOs to qualify for this labeling. There cannot be any food additives that are artificial in these products either.
Most people purchase fruits, vegetables, dairy products, grains, and meat products that are certified organic.
If you are thinking about making the transition to organic foods with your eating habits, then these are the pros and cons to consider today.
List of the Pros of Organic Food
1. Organic food is an environmentally friendly method of production. Organic foods are often chosen because people are trying to avoid artificial chemicals. Eating these items can reduce your exposure to some pesticide residues. It may also lower your risk of exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. There is evidence to suggest that eating organic foods can reduce your exposure to cadmium by 48%. Pesticide residues are four times more likely to be found on traditional crops like compared to organic ones.
2. Organic foods may have a favorable fatty acid profile. Healthline reports that organic dairy products can contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids when compared to traditional items. Milk products may also contain higher levels of vitamin E, iron, and carotenoids. If you choose to eat organic meat products, then you can receive up to 23% higher polyunsaturated fat in your diet compared to non-organic items. Even the levels of omega-6s are 16% higher in organic meat, but omega-3s can be up to 47% higher when consuming chicken or pork.
3. Organic foods can be higher in monounsaturated fat. Organic meat products are roughly 8% higher in monounsaturated fat when compared to non-organic items. As with the other fatty acids that are found in these products, you would need to consume pork and chicken primarily to benefit from this advantage. There is no difference in the amount of saturate fat content that is found in either meat group.
You can control these factors some by knowing what the animal ate before it entered the human food chain. Fresh forage animals contain higher levels of fatty acids than others. Grass and clover provide a better outcome. Using traditional breeds over hybrids can also impact the human food chain.
4. Organic foods can taste better to some people. Although there are studies which suggests that non-organic foods taste the same as organic items, there can also be a clear difference in the flavor profile of some food products. Fruits and vegetables which are grown through this process tend to benefit from this advantage the most. Because this produce grows the more slowly when compared to cash-crop growing methods, it tends to have lower water content. This structure contributes to the fuller flavor profile that some people experience.
5. Organic foods may contain up to 40% more antioxidants. According to a 2014 report published by Science News, a review of data from 343 published studies found that organic foods contain up to 40% more antioxidants when compared to items grown through conventional methods. “the totality of the evidence is that there are higher levels of nutrients in organic foods,” said Charles Benbrook, who was the author of the study and a researcher at Washington State University.
6. Organic foods are sometimes cheaper, and they can reduce other costs. There are some organic foods which are actually cheaper than their traditional counterparts if you are willing to shop at local suppliers. You may not find these items at the grocery store, but you could find them at a local farmers’ market. Some products are even available online today. Many of today’s most-consumed produce items are priced relatively equally when comparing organic and non-organic costs.
Then there is the health advantage to consider when eating organic items. Because you are exposing yourself to fewer synthetic pesticides and herbicides, there is the potential to save money on future healthcare expenses thanks to the choice to begin eating better.
7. Organic foods help to support the local economy. Because organic foods do not travel as well, most stores stock items that are grown locally for their consumers to enjoy. That means your purchase of these fruits and vegetables will help the local economy reinvest the profits. Roughly 70% of what you spend on items grown in your community gets put back into the area in some way. That means you can promote more jobs and a better living profile when you incorporate this habit into your regular routine.
8. Organic foods support a better profit margin for farmers. Supporting organic farms produces a number of financial benefits that help these small businesses and their families. It can reduce the level of chemicals found in livestock feed to promote more efficient husbandry efforts each season. It reduces excessive pollution levels that could impact the local water supply. Most farmers can achieve 95% of their conventional yield after a 5-year transition period after going organic. It is a low waste system that producers a better profit margin for farmers when they can spend time working the land instead of trying to maximize their productivity levels.
9. Organic foods might be safer to eat. When you eat conventional food items, then there is an excellent chance that you are exposing your body to various synthetic chemicals. These additives to the food supply have been linked to infertility issues, numerous cancers, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disorders, and autoimmune problems. Herbicide consumption can lead to heart disease development and hypertension as well. Removing these items from your diet can allow your body to have an opportunity to heal.
10. Organic foods reduce the threat of antibiotic consumption. The traditional food chain process often includes antibiotic consumption for the animals to prevent sickness or death from decreasing the profit margin. These drugs remain in the system of the animal through the butchering process until they reach your plate. If you consume enough of them, then your body can begin to produce a resilience to the medication. The bacteria that can cause bothersome infections can develop an immunity to it as well. Farmers cannot use the organic label on their meat products if any growth hormones or antibiotics were used. Genetic engineering and irradiation are prohibited activities as well.
11. Organic foods can help to create a healthier family. Banned chemicals can pass through the mother to the baby according to research by Indiana University. The chemicals can disrupt hormones and impact the birth weight of the child. These polybrominated diphenyl ethers, often used as a flame retardant in building materials, textiles, and electronics were banned in 2004. They are still leaching into the environment almost 20 years later to create trace levels of the chemical in newborns.
This process occurs for pesticides and herbicides applied through the traditional farming process as well. Over 200 harmful chemicals, including almost two-dozen pesticides, are found in cord blood samples taken from the United States. If families are concerned about vaccinations causing autism, then there should be a closer look at the foods which they choose to consume as well.
12. Organic foods often contain higher levels of salicylic acid. This critical nutrient found in organic foods can help to proactively lower the risks of certain diseases for some individuals. Salicylic acid can help to keep a person’s arteries from hardening due to the impact of heart disease and atherosclerosis.
13. Organic foods are 85% less likely to contain pesticide residues. If you compare organic foods to conventional items, then there is a significant drop in the presence of pesticide residues on each item. That includes products that contain natural items that are approved for organic farmers to use. Multiple residues are extremely rare on organic items as well. Some items have exposure levels which are 100 times lower when looking at this advantage compared to the traditional products.
14. Organic foods can be frozen. If you are unable to afford the cost of fresh organic foods when shopping for groceries, then consider purchasing the items that are very ripe and close to their sell-by date. These items can be prepared and frozen without a dramatic reduction in the nutrient density of the item. You can also find organic frozen vegetables in the freezer section of most stores as an easy way to improve your eating habits without sacrificing convenience. There can also be some opportunities to purchase organic foods in bulk.
List of the Cons of Organic Food
1. Organic foods may contain fewer nutritional items. Some organic foods may have fewer nutritional items included per serving when compared to traditional crops or products. Organic milk is one such example. It may contain less iodine and selenium, which are two critical elements for good health. Several studies have found that there are no differences between the traditional food chain and the organic food chain when evaluating the nutritional profile of similar items. A total of 233 studies finds a lack of relevant evidence to conclude that organic items are more nutritious than non-organic ones.
2. Organic foods cost more than items grown through traditional methods. Consumer Reports compared the cost of 100 organic items and their traditional counterparts. The overall results that they found were that the organic items would cost an average of 47% more than foods produced through a more conventional process. The comparison range in price was quite fast. In some instances, the organic foods were even cheaper (like organic honey). Some produce items had the same cost, including olive oil, cream cheese, and carrots.
Organic zucchini could cost upwards of 300% more when compared to traditional items.
3. Organic foods are not always available in some communities. There is an ever-increasing demand for organic foods across the United States and around the world. Availability is greater today than it has arguably ever been before. There are still locations where you can only find these items in the health food stores. Many local grocery stores are carrying more items with this label, but regions dealing with food scarcity are still struggling to bring in these items. Over 60% of Millennials purchase organic during their shopping trip, which is changing the supermarket industry, but it is still a transitory process that requires more time to access everyone.
4. Organic foods have a shorter shelf life than other items. Although there are a handful of organic foods that have a longer shelf life than traditional items, most have a shorter lifespan. Some products, such as turnip greens, mustard greens, and endive have a shrink percentage above 50%. Turnip greens have a shrink percentage on their own of 63%. Hundreds of millions of pounds of uneaten whole vegetables go through the marketplace each year because of the shelf life issue.
The reason why these items have a shorter shelf life is because they spoil quicker thanks to a lack of preservatives. It can lead to more wasted food and additional shopping trips that can increase the risk of need a higher grocery budget each week.
5. Organic foods are more sensitive to environmental changes. One of the factors that contributes to the high levels of loss for organic produce is that the items are more susceptible to changes that occur in their environment. Grocery stores must limit the exposure of sunlight, reduce damage from equipment and technical malfunctions, and store items at an appropriate temperature. Excessive handling can cause enough damage on some items to reduce the shelf life of some foods as well.
6. Organic foods take more work to produce. Because there is an emphasis on the natural growing methods for farmers growing organic foods, the amount of physical labor required to bring items to the market is much higher because there can be fewer automated processes involved. Natural fertilizers, such as green manure, may require hand-spreading to eliminate the environmental impact of a tractor and supplementary equipment. Weeding often happens by hand. Although these actions improve the soil conditions, it will also raise the cost of the items that households can purchase.
7. Organic foods offer a higher risk of bacterial contamination. If you are concerned about bacterial contamination in your food supply, then organic foods might not be the best choice for your health needs. Although several studies do you say that the differences are negligible between organic and non-organic items, there is a 1% increase in the frequency of E. coli contamination when choosing something that was grown through organic processes. There is a 5% increase in overall risk of experiencing an issue with your food supply as well.
8. Organic foods can still have natural pesticides and fungicides on them. The only difference between the pesticides that an organic product uses and one from the traditional methods of farming is that natural items must be used during the growing process. As long as the fungicides and pesticides being used by the organic farmer come from natural elements, then they are usually approved for use without disrupting the certification that the farmer earned. You must take the time to thoroughly wash the surface of your foods and cook them thoroughly to reduce your risks of exposure.
9. Organic foods can be offered in confusing ways in the United States. There are three different types of labeling provided for the organic industry in the U.S. thanks to the Department of Agriculture. If something is 100% organic, then every ingredient in the product is organic – except for the salt and the water. If you find something with the generic “organic” label, then it means that 95% of the products in that item come from organic origins.
Some products say, “made with organic ingredients.” The USDA requires that 70% of the ingredients in that item come from an organic source.
10. Organic foods may contain higher levels of pesticide residue. There are roughly a dozen conventional foods which have very low pesticide residues on them over frequent testing periods. You may find that items like cauliflower, avocados, cabbage, onions, eggplant, and grapefruit are cheaper and healthier from an exposure standpoint than choosing the organic counterparts.
The pros and cons of organic foods may be best summed up by this quote from Prince Charles.
“it is vitally important that we continue to say, with absolute conviction, that organic farming delivers the highest quality, best-tasting food, produced without artificial chemicals or genetic modification, and with respect for animal welfare and the environment while helping to maintain the landscape and rural communities.”
There may be benefits to eating organic, and there may be cost disadvantages that keep some families from doing so. This choice is one that is personal. Evaluating the advantages and disadvantages can make the decision much easier.
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Definition and Regulation of Organic Foods
Related terms, scope of consumer use, prices, and trends in organic food, nutritional quality of organic versus conventional food, sex steroids, nontherapeutic use of antibiotic agents, synthetic chemical exposure, environmental impact and production efficiency of organic versus conventional farming methods, environmental impact, production efficiency, the difference in price of organic versus conventional foods, advice for pediatricians, lead authors, committee on nutrition, 2011–2012, former committee members, council on environmental health executive committee, 2011–2012, organic foods: health and environmental advantages and disadvantages.
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Joel Forman , Janet Silverstein , COMMITTEE ON NUTRITION , COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH , Jatinder J. S. Bhatia , Steven A. Abrams , Mark R. Corkins , Sarah D. de Ferranti , Neville Hylton Golden , Janet Silverstein , Jerome A. Paulson , Alice Cantwell Brock-Utne , Heather Lynn Brumberg , Carla C. Campbell , Bruce Perrin Lanphear , Kevin C. Osterhoudt , Megan T. Sandel , Leonardo Trasande , Robert O. Wright; Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages. Pediatrics November 2012; 130 (5): e1406–e1415. 10.1542/peds.2012-2579
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The US market for organic foods has grown from $3.5 billion in 1996 to $28.6 billion in 2010, according to the Organic Trade Association. Organic products are now sold in specialty stores and conventional supermarkets. Organic products contain numerous marketing claims and terms, only some of which are standardized and regulated.
In terms of health advantages, organic diets have been convincingly demonstrated to expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with human disease. Organic farming has been demonstrated to have less environmental impact than conventional approaches. However, current evidence does not support any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits from eating organic compared with conventionally grown foods, and there are no well-powered human studies that directly demonstrate health benefits or disease protection as a result of consuming an organic diet. Studies also have not demonstrated any detrimental or disease-promoting effects from an organic diet. Although organic foods regularly command a significant price premium, well-designed farming studies demonstrate that costs can be competitive and yields comparable to those of conventional farming techniques. Pediatricians should incorporate this evidence when discussing the health and environmental impact of organic foods and organic farming while continuing to encourage all patients and their families to attain optimal nutrition and dietary variety consistent with the US Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate recommendations.
This clinical report reviews the health and environmental issues related to organic food production and consumption. It defines the term “organic,” reviews organic food-labeling standards, describes organic and conventional farming practices, and explores the cost and environmental implications of organic production techniques. It examines the evidence available on nutritional quality and production contaminants in conventionally produced and organic foods. Finally, this report provides guidance for pediatricians to assist them in advising their patients regarding organic and conventionally produced food choices.
Organic farming uses an approach to growing crops and raising livestock that avoids synthetic chemicals, hormones, antibiotic agents, genetic engineering, and irradiation. In the United States, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has implemented the National Organic Program (NOP) 1 in response to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. 2 The NOP set labeling standards that have been in effect since October 2002. NOP standards for organic food production include many specific requirements for both crops and livestock. To qualify as organic, crops must be produced on farms that have not used most synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer for 3 years before harvest and have a sufficient buffer zone to decrease contamination from adjacent lands. Genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge is prohibited. Soil fertility and nutrient content is managed primarily with cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops supplemented with animal and crop waste fertilizers. Pests, weeds, and diseases are managed primarily by physical, mechanical, and biological controls instead of with synthetic pesticides and herbicides. Exceptions are allowed if substances are on a national approved list. Organic livestock must be reared without the routine use of antibiotic agents or growth hormones (GHs) and must be provided with access to the outdoors. If an animal is treated for disease with antibiotic agents, it cannot be sold as organic. Preventive health practices include vaccination and vitamin and mineral supplementation. The USDA certifies organic products according to these guidelines. Organic farmers must apply for certification, pass a test, and pay a fee. The NOP requires annual inspections to ensure ongoing compliance with these standards.
Consumers are confronted with a wide range of food product marketing terms, some regulated and some not ( Table 1 ). The labeling requirements of the NOP apply to raw, fresh products and processed products that contain organic agricultural ingredients. These labeling requirements are based on the percentage of organic ingredients in a product. 3 Products labeled “100% organic” must contain only organically produced ingredients and processing aids (excluding water and salt). Products labeled “organic” must consist of at least 95% organically processed ingredients (excluding water and salt); the remaining 5% of ingredients may be conventional or synthetic but must be on the USDA’s approved list. Processed products that contain at least 70% organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients” and list up to 3 of the organic ingredients or food groups on the principal display panel. For example, soup made with at least 70% organic ingredients and only organic vegetables may be labeled either “soup made with organic peas, potatoes, and carrots” or “soup made with organic vegetables.”
Commonly Used Food Product Marketing Terms
There are no restrictions on use of other truthful labeling claims, such as “no drugs or growth hormones used,” or “sustainably harvested.”
The NOP places no restrictions on the use of truthful labeling claims, such as “no drugs or growth hormones used,” “free range,” or “sustainably harvested.” 3 The USDA regulates the term “free range” for poultry products; to use this term, producers must demonstrate that the poultry has been allowed “access to the outside.” 4 According to Consumers Union’s evaluation, this means that a poultry product comes from a bird that had at least 5 minutes of access to the outdoors each day. 4 , 5 No standard definition exists for all other products carrying the “free range” label, such as beef, pork, or eggs; the use of the term, however, is allowed.
The term “natural” or “all natural” is defined by the USDA for meat and poultry and means that the products contain no artificial flavoring, color ingredients, chemical preservatives, or artificial or synthetic ingredients and are “minimally processed.” Minimally processed means that the raw product was not fundamentally altered. Additional USDA definitions of other labeling terms can be found in publicly available USDA fact sheets. 4
The term “raw” milk refers to unpasteurized milk. All milk certified as organic by the USDA is pasteurized. Raw milk can contain harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella species, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria species, Campylobacter species, and Brucella species, and has been repeatedly associated with outbreaks of disease caused by these pathogens. The American Academy of Pediatrics, US Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise consumers not to consume raw milk. 6 , – 8
In 2008, more than two-thirds of US consumers bought some organic products, and more than one-quarter bought organic at least weekly. The amount of US acreage dedicated to organic crops has doubled since 1997. 9 Consumers choose organic food in the belief that organic foods are more nutritious, have fewer additives and contaminants, and are grown more sustainably. 10 Some studies 11 , 12 suggest that families with children and adolescents or younger consumers in general are more likely to buy organic fruits and vegetables than are other consumers. 13 The factor most consistently associated with the increased propensity to purchase organic food is the level of consumer education. 14 , – 21 Organic products, however, cost up to 40% more.
Consumers believe that organic produce is more nutritious than conventionally grown produce, but the research to support that belief is not definitive. Many studies have demonstrated no important differences in carbohydrate or vitamin and mineral content. 22 Some studies have found lower nitrate content in organic foods versus conventionally grown foods, which is potentially desirable because of the association of nitrates with increased risk of gastrointestinal cancer and, in infants, methemoglobinemia. Higher vitamin C concentrations were found in organic leafy vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, and chard versus the same conventionally produced vegetables in 21 of 36 (58%) studies. 22 Other studies have found higher total phenols in organic produce versus conventionally grown produce and have postulated health benefits from antioxidant effects. 23
Several attempts have been made to review the relevant literature and draw conclusions on organic versus conventional foods, but the results are conflicting. 24 , – 28 A large systematic review published in 2009 found that fewer than 20% of 292 articles with potentially relevant titles met criteria for quality, leaving only 55 studies to assess. The authors highlighted the fact that the nutrient content of produce is affected by numerous factors, including the geographic location of the farm, local soil characteristics, climactic conditions that can vary by season, maturity at time of harvest, and storage and time to testing after harvest. Because of the large number of nutrients reported in various articles, the authors grouped the nutrients into large categories. They found no significant differences in most nutrients, with the exception of higher nitrogen content in conventional produce and higher titratable acidity and phosphorus in organic produce. 29 Better-quality research that accounts for the many confounding variables is needed to elucidate potential differences in nutrients and the clinical importance of nutrients that may be different. At this time, however, there does not appear to be convincing evidence of a substantial difference in nutritional quality of organic versus conventional produce.
The composition of dairy products, including milk, is affected by many factors, including differences caused by genetic variability and cattle breed; thus, the results of studies assessing milk composition must be interpreted with caution. In general, milk has the same protein, vitamin, trace mineral content, and lipids from both organically and conventionally reared cows. Fat-soluble antioxidants and vitamins present in milk come primarily from the natural components of the diet or from the synthetic compounds used to supplement the feed ingested by lactating cows. 30
One recent study examined antibiotic and microorganism content, hormone concentrations, and nutritional values of milk in 334 samples from 48 states labeled as organic, not treated with bovine GH (referred to as “GH-free”), or conventional. This study found that milk labeled “conventional” had lower bacterial counts than milk that was organic or GH-free, although this was not clinically significant. Estradiol and progesterone concentrations were lower in conventional milk than in organic milk, but GH-free milk had progesterone concentrations similar to conventional milk and estradiol concentrations similar to organic milk. Macronutrient composition was similar, although organic milk had 0.1% more protein than the other 2 milk types. 31
Several studies have demonstrated that organic milk has higher concentrations of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, it is important to recognize that the composition of milk is strongly related to what the cows eat. This differs by time of year (outdoors in the summer, indoor forage in the winter) and whether the farms are high or low input. High-input farms supplement the diets of cattle with proprietary minerals and vitamins. Low-input farms use methods similar to those used in organic farming but do not follow all the restrictions prescribed by organic farming standards; they use mineral fertilizers but at lower levels than used by conventional high-input systems. One study comparing milk from all 3 production systems found milk from both the low-input organic and low-input nonorganic systems generally had significantly higher concentrations of nutritionally desirable unsaturated fatty acids (conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids) and fat-soluble antioxidants compared with milk from the high-input systems; milk derived from cows in both organic certified and nonorganic low-input systems was significantly higher in conjugated linoleic acid content than was milk from conventional high-input systems. 32
Hormone supplementation of farm animals, especially with GH, is one of the major reasons consumers state they prefer to buy organic foods. Bovine GH (ie, recombinant bovine somatotropin) increases milk yield by 10% to 15% and is lipotropic in cows. Because GH is degraded in the acidic stomach environment, it must be given by injection. GH is species-specific, and bovine GH is biologically inactive in humans. Because of this, any bovine GH in food products has no physiologic effect on humans, even if it were absorbed intact from the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, 90% of bovine GH in milk is destroyed during the pasteurization process. There is no evidence that the gross composition of milk (fat, protein, and lactose) is altered by treatment with bovine GH, nor is there any evidence that the vitamin and mineral contents of milk are changed by GH treatment. 31
GH treatment of cows may actually have environmental benefits. GH increases milk production per cow, which could theoretically decrease the number of cows needed to produce a given amount of milk, with resultant need for fewer cows and, thus, less cultivated land needed to feed the cows. In addition, fewer cows would result in the production of less manure with resultant reduced methane production and less carbon dioxide production, with a resultant salutary effect on global warming. 33
Treatment of cattle with sex steroids increases lean muscle mass, accelerates the rate of growth, and is an efficient way to increase meat yield. Estrogens are usually given by implantation of estrogen pellets into the skin on the underside of the ear, and the ear is discarded during slaughter. Unlike GH, sex steroids are not species-specific and may be given orally without degradation in the stomach. In 1998, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization jointly concluded that meat from estradiol-treated animals was safe on the basis of data obtained from residue levels in meat from studies performed in the 1970s and 1980s using radioimmunoassay methods. One study demonstrated concentrations of estrogens found in meat residues were low and overlapped with concentrations found in untreated cows. 34 Gas chromatography measurements of sex steroids progesterone, testosterone, 17β estradiol, and estrone and their metabolites in meat products, fish, poultry, milk, and eggs revealed insignificant amounts compared with daily production of these steroids in adults and children. 35 Furthermore, 98% to 99% of endogenous sex steroids are bound by sex-hormone-binding globulin, rendering them metabolically inactive as only the unbound (free) forms of sex steroids are metabolically active. Synthetic sex steroids (zeranol, melengestrol, and trenbolone) commonly used in animals have lower affinities to sex-hormone-binding globulin and, therefore, are potentially more metabolically active unbound sex steroids. These hormones do not occur naturally in humans, and although the concentrations of these hormones are low in cattle, the biological effects in humans, if any, are unknown.
Ingestion of milk from estrogen-treated cows appears to be safe for children. Estradiol and estrone concentrations in organic and conventional 1%, 2%, and whole milk were the same, although the concentrations of sex steroids were higher as the fat content of the milk increased and were lower than endogenous production rates in humans. Estradiol concentrations in milk ranged from 0.4 to 1.1 pg/mL, and estrone concentrations ranged from 2.9 to 7.9 pg/mL, with the lowest concentrations in skim milk and the highest in whole milk. 36
Endogenous estradiol concentrations are as high as 80 pg/mL in 2- to 4-month-old female infants and 40 pg/mL in 2- to 4-month-old male infants. Human milk has estradiol concentrations as high as 39 pg/mL and estrone (which has approximately half the potency of estradiol) concentrations as high as 1177 pg/mL. Human colostrum has even higher estrogen concentrations of 500 pg/mL and 4000 to 5000 pg/mL for estradiol and estrone, respectively. Cow milk, by comparison, has estradiol concentrations of 4 to 14 pg/mL and estrone concentrations of 34 to 55 pg/mL. 37 , 38
It has been postulated that ingested estrogen in food derived from sex-hormone-treated animals may play a role in earlier development of puberty and increasing risk of breast cancer. However, no studies have supported this hypothesis in humans. Studies in animals demonstrating carcinogenic and teratogenic effects of estrogens used high doses of estradiol and cannot be extrapolated to the low doses of sex steroids found in the food supply. Estrogen concentrations in the myometrium, breast, and vagina of postmenopausal women, although still low, are higher than those found in serum, and additional studies are needed to determine the significance of these low concentrations of sex steroids in estrogen-sensitive tissues. 39
An association has been found between red meat consumption in high school girls and the development of breast cancer later in life. A 7-year prospective longitudinal study of 39 268 premenopausal women 33 to 53 years of age who filled out a comprehensive diet history of foods eaten while in high school in the 1960s and 1970s revealed a linear association between each additional 100 g of red meat consumed in high school per day with the risk of developing hormone-receptor-positive premenopausal tumors (relative risk, 1.36; 95% confidence interval, 1.08–1.70; P = .008). Red meat ingestion did not increase the risk of hormone-receptor-negative tumors. Although this intriguing study, which suggested that higher red meat consumption in adolescence may increase breast cancer risk, tracked cases of cancer prospectively after the dietary history was obtained, it was limited by a number of factors, including the dependence on subjects’ long-term memory of amount of food eaten decades previously, the likelihood that hormone concentrations in meat were higher in that period, and the lack of direct measurement of hormonal exposure. 40 Longitudinal prospective studies are needed to compare the risk of breast cancer in women who eat meat from hormone-treated animals with the risk in women who eat meat from untreated animals.
Endocrine disrupters, chemicals that interfere with hormone signaling systems, are pervasive in our environment. Among the most commonly found endocrine disrupters are bisphenol A, found in industrial chemicals and plastics; phthalates, found in personal care items such as cosmetics; and lavender and tea tree oil, found in many hair products, soaps, and lotions; all have estrogenic properties. Endocrine disrupters are postulated to be involved in the increased occurrence of genital abnormalities among newborn boys and precocious puberty in girls. Recent literature on sex steroid concentrations and their physiologic roles during childhood indicate that concentrations of estradiol in prepubertal children are lower than originally thought and that children are extremely sensitive to estradiol and may respond with increased growth and/or breast development even at serum concentrations below the current detection limits. 41 No threshold has been established below which there are no hormonal effects on exposed children. Furthermore, the daily endogenous production rates of sex steroids in children estimated by the Food and Drug Administration in 1999 and still used in risk assessments are highly overestimated and should be reevaluated by using current assays. 41 It is therefore important to determine the relative importance of hormone treatment of animals in the context of other environmental endocrine disrupters through long-term longitudinal studies in children.
Conventional animal husbandry frequently includes the administration of antibiotic agents in nontherapeutic doses to livestock to promote growth and increase yields. Between 40% and 80% of the antimicrobial agents used in the United States each year are used in food animals, three-quarters of which is nontherapeutic. Many of these agents are identical or similar to drugs used in humans. 42 Evidence is clear that such nontherapeutic use promotes the development of drug-resistant organisms in the animals and that these organisms then colonize the intestines of people living on farms where this practice occurs. 43 Evidence is also ample that human disease caused by antibiotic-resistant organisms spread through the food chain. 44 Because organic farming prohibits the nontherapeutic use of antibiotic agents, it could contribute to a reduction in the threat of human disease caused by drug-resistant organisms.
Pesticides have a host of toxic effects that range from acute poisonings to subtle subclinical effects from long-term, low-dose exposure. 45 Organophosphate pesticides are commonly used in agriculture, and poisoning is a persistent problem in the agricultural setting. From 1998 to 2005, 3271 cases of agricultural occupational acute pesticide poisoning were reported to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the National Institute of Occupational Health’s SENSOR-Pesticides program. This constitutes a rate of 56 cases per 100 000 full-time equivalents, 38 times the rate observed in nonagricultural occupations. 46 Chronic exposure among farm workers has been associated with numerous adult health problems, including respiratory problems, memory disorders, dermatologic conditions, depression, neurologic deficits including Parkinson disease, miscarriages, birth defects, and cancer. 47 , – 50 Prenatal organophosphate pesticide exposure has been associated with adverse birth outcomes, such as decreased birth weight and length 51 and smaller head circumference. 52 A large prospective birth cohort study that measured pesticide exposure in pregnant farm workers in California and followed their offspring found lower mental development index scores at 24 months of age 53 and attentional problems at 3.5 and 5 years of age. 54 An analysis of cross-sectional data from the NHANES has demonstrated that within the range of exposure in the general US population, the odds of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder for 8- to 15-year-old children were increased 55% with a 10-fold increase in urinary concentrations of the organophosphate metabolite dimethyl alkylphosphate. 55
The National Research Council reported in 1993 that the primary form of exposure to pesticides in children is through dietary intake. 56 Organic produce consistently has lower levels of pesticide residues than does conventionally grown produce, 57 and a diet of organic produce reduces human exposure. Several studies have clearly demonstrated that an organic diet reduces children’s exposure to pesticides commonly used in conventional agricultural production. A small longitudinal cohort of children who regularly consumed conventional produce demonstrated that urinary pesticide residues were reduced to almost nondetectable levels (below 0.3 µg/L for malathion dicarboxylic acid, for example) when they were changed to an organic produce diet for 5 days. 58 In addition, residues varied with seasonal intake of produce, suggesting that dietary intake of organophosphate pesticides represented the major source of exposure in these young children. 59
Although a common practice, rinsing conventionally farmed produce reduces some but not all pesticide residues on produce to varying degrees but has not been proven to decrease human exposure. 60
Pesticide metabolite concentrations observed in studies that examined exposure in farming communities as well as in residential settings were in the same range as those observed in subjects consuming conventional produce in studies of biological exposure measures for organic versus conventional produce diets. For instance, the median concentration observed for malathion urinary metabolites in female farm workers whose offspring had significantly lower mental development index scores at 24 months of age was 0.82 µg/L, 53 which is close to the median concentration found in children in the initial conventional diet phase of the organic diet study of 1.5 µg/L, discussed previously. 58 Ranges for other pesticide metabolites were similar.
Although chronic pesticide exposure and measurable pesticide metabolite concentrations seem undesirable and potentially unhealthy, no studies to date have experimentally examined the causal relationship between exposure to pesticides directly from conventionally grown foods and adverse neurodevelopmental health outcomes. Most of the research implicating pesticides in these adverse health outcomes is from case-control or cross-sectional studies. These studies are limited by a number of factors, including difficulties measuring past exposures and the lack of a positive temporal relationship between exposure and outcome. It is difficult to directly extrapolate from these studies and draw conclusions about potential toxicity at the levels of pesticide exposure documented from dietary intake of conventional produce. Data derived from large prospective cohort studies may address some of these shortcomings.
A major subject in the organic debate is whether organic farming methods have less impact on the environment, can be equally as productive, and can be no more expensive than conventional approaches. A variety of surveys and studies have attempted to compare these issues for organic and conventional farming methods. Many believe that organic farming is less damaging to the environment because organic farms do not use or release synthetic pesticides into the environment, some of which have the potential to harm soil, water, and local terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. 61 In addition, it is thought that organic farms are better than conventional farms at sustaining diverse ecosystems, including populations of plants, insects, and animals, because of practices such as crop rotation. When calculated either per unit area or per unit of yield, organic farms use less energy and produce less waste. 62 , 63 Organically managed soil has been demonstrated to be of higher quality and have higher water retention, which may increase yields for organic farms in drought years. 64
Critics of organic farming methods believe that organic farms require more land to produce the same amount of food as conventional farms. One study found a 20% smaller yield from organic farms. 65 Another study from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency found that, area for area, organic farms of potatoes, sugar beets, and seed grass produce as little as half the output as their conventional farm counterparts. 66
It remains controversial whether organic farming is able to provide adequate food supply to sustain the world population. Norman Borlaug, considered to be the father of the “green revolution” and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, believes that organic farming alone is incapable of feeding the world population and needs to be used in conjunction with genetically modified food. 67 On the other hand, a meta-analysis of 292 studies designed to assess the efficiency of both organic and conventional farming concluded that organic methods could produce enough food on a global per-capita basis to sustain the current human population and potentially an even larger population without increasing the agricultural land base. 68
The largest prospective farming study to date is a comparative trial of more than 20 years’ duration conducted by researchers from Cornell University. This study, conducted in Pennsylvania, compared various conventional and organic farming approaches in a controlled prospective design in which confounding influences such as weather and moisture were similar in the different systems. Over 20 years of observation, the organic fields had productivity that was generally comparable to the conventional fields, while avoiding environmental pollution with herbicides and pesticides and reducing fossil fuel consumption by 30%. Although costs were higher primarily because of increased labor costs (15%), the return for the organic plots was higher because of the higher prices commanded at the marketplace. 64
One major concern with organic food is its higher price to consumers. Organic products typically cost 10% to 40% more than similar conventionally produced products. 69 A number of factors contribute to these higher costs, including higher-priced organic animal feed, lower productivity, and higher labor costs because of the increased reliance on hand weeding. Of potential concern is that the higher price of organically produced fruits and vegetables might lead consumers to eat less of these foods, despite the well-established literature documenting the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, including lower rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. Fifty-five percent of children born in the United States are eligible for food packages under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and these food packages are currently giving families approximately $10 a month to spend on fruits and vegetables, so the money must be used wisely to maximize spending capacity for healthy foods.
To demonstrate superiority of 1 food production method over another, it is important to show an advantage in terms of improved individual health or an important societal advantage. Organic diets have been convincingly demonstrated to expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with human disease. Nontherapeutic use of antibiotic agents in livestock contributes to the emergence of resistant bacteria; thus, organic animal husbandry may reduce the risk of human disease attributable to resistant organisms. There is sound evidence that organic foods contain more vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and phosphorus than do conventional foods, but there is no direct evidence that this provides meaningful nutritional benefits to children eating organic foods compared with those who eat conventionally grown food products. Well-designed farming studies demonstrate that comparable yields can be achieved with organic farming techniques and that organic farming has a lower environmental impact than do conventional approaches. However, no well-powered human studies have directly demonstrated health benefits or disease protection as a result of consuming an organic diet. Such studies would be difficult to perform and require large prospective cohort populations or, better, randomly assigning subjects to interventions that increase organic versus conventional food intakes. Additional data are needed to identify relationships between diet and pesticide exposure and individual health outcomes. Pediatricians should incorporate this evidence when discussing the health and environmental impact of organic foods and organic farming while continuing to encourage all patients and their families to attain optimal nutrition and dietary variety by choosing a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, consistent with the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations.
Nutritional differences between organic and conventional produce appear minimal, but studies examining this have been limited by inadequate controls for the many subtle potential confounders, such as moisture, maturity of the produce, and measurement techniques. No direct evidence of a clinically relevant nutritional difference between organic and conventional produce exists.
Organic produce contains fewer pesticide residues than does conventional produce, and consuming a diet of organic produce reduces human exposure to pesticides. It remains unclear whether such a reduction in exposure is clinically relevant.
Organic animal husbandry that prohibits the nontherapeutic use of antibiotic agents has the potential to reduce human disease caused by drug-resistant organisms.
There is no evidence of clinically relevant differences in organic and conventional milk.
There are few, if any, nutritional differences between organic and conventional milk. There is no evidence that any differences that may exist are clinically relevant.
There is no evidence that organic milk has clinically significant higher bacterial contamination levels than does conventional milk.
There is no evidence that conventional milk contains significantly increased amounts of bovine GH. Any bovine GH that might remain in conventional milk is not biologically active in humans because of structural differences and susceptibility to digestion in the stomach.
Organic farming approaches in practice are usually more expensive than conventional approaches, but in carefully designed experimental farms, the cost difference can be mitigated.
The price differential between organic and conventional food might be reduced or eliminated as organic farming techniques advance and as the prices of petroleum products, such as pesticides and herbicides, as well as the price of energy, increase.
Organic farming reduces fossil fuel consumption and reduces environmental contamination with pesticides and herbicides.
Large prospective cohort studies that record dietary intake accurately and measure environmental exposures directly will likely greatly enhance understanding of the relationship between pesticide exposure from conventional foods and human disease and between consumption of meat from hormone-treated animals and the risk of breast cancer in women.
Encourage patients and their families to eat an optimally health-promoting diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free milk and dairy products.
When approached by families interested in consuming organic foods, review key facts presented in this report to address the full range of relevant nutrition, human health, environmental, and cost issues. Be explicit about areas in which scientific evidence is strong as well as those in which it is uncertain.
When advice is sought by families concerned with the potential health impact of pesticide residues in food, direct them toward reliable resources that provide information on the relative pesticide content of various fruits and vegetables. Two such examples include:
Consumer Reports article (September 2008) “Fruits and Vegetables, When to Buy Organic” ( http://www.consumerreports.org/health/healthy-living/diet-nutrition/healthy-foods/organic-foods/overview/when-to-buy-organic.htm ) and
Environmental Working Group’s “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides” ( http://www.foodnews.org ).
Joel Forman, MD
Janet Silverstein, MD
Jatinder J. S. Bhatia, MD, Chairperson
Steven A. Abrams, MD
Mark R. Corkins, MD
Sarah D. de Ferranti, MD
Neville Hylton Golden, MD
Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD
Frank R. Greer, MD
Marcie B. Schneider, MD
Nicolas Stettler, MD
Dan W. Thomas, MD
Laurence Grummer-Strawn, PhD – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Van S. Hubbard, MD, PhD – National Institutes of Health
Valérie Marchand, MD – Canadian Pediatric Society
Benson M. Silverman, MD – US Food and Drug Administration
Valery Soto, MS, RD, LD – US Department of Agriculture
Debra L. Burrowes, MHA
Jerome A. Paulson, MD, Chairperson
Alice Cantwell Brock-Utne, MD
Heather Lynn Brumberg, MD, MPH
Carla C. Campbell, MD, MS
Bruce Perrin Lanphear, MD, MPH
Kevin C. Osterhoudt, MD, MSCE
Megan T. Sandel, MD
Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP
Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH
Helen J. Binns, MD, MPH
Peter C. Grevatt, PhD – US Environmental Protection Agency
Mary Ellen Mortensen, MD, MS – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Walter Rogan, MD – National Institutes of Health
Sharon Ann Savage, MD – National Cancer Institute
National Organic Program
US Department of Agriculture
This document is copyrighted and is property of the American Academy of Pediatrics and its Board of Directors. All authors have filed conflict of interest statements with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Any conflicts have been resolved through a process approved by the Board of Directors. The American Academy of Pediatrics has neither solicited nor accepted any commercial involvement in the development of the content of this publication.
The guidance in this report does not indicate an exclusive course of treatment or serve as a standard of medical care. Variations, taking into account individual circumstances, may be appropriate.
All clinical reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics automatically expire 5 years after publication unless reaffirmed, revised, or retired at or before that time.
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14 Meaningful Advantages and Disadvantages of Organic Food
Organic foods refer to vegetables, fruits, fish, dairy products and meats that are grown naturally or through organic farming, and are not processed or refined. It is one of those food sources that promote ecological balance, biodiversity conservation, and recycling of resources. In terms of chemical composition, it has 17% higher concentrations of polyphenols compared to conventional grown crops, 69% higher content in other nutrients, such as flavonols, phenolic acids and anthocyanins. It also has 69% higher flavanones.
In terms of chemical composition, studies showed that it has higher concentrations of nutrients, lower levels of anti-nutrients, and reduced detectable pesticide residues. Overall, it is not only environment friendly, but also healthy. Despite of all these, some people still question the advantages that organic foods offer. Nothing is perfect, after all. Moreover, certain countries, such as the United States, European Union and Canada, require farmers and producers to obtain certification before they can grow or market their products, which are both good and bad, depending on who you are asking. So anyone who wish to switch to organic food must weigh their advantages and disadvantages before making a decision.
List of Pros of Organic Food
1. Healthier to consume Proponents may claim that organic foods are more nutritious than the non-organic variety, but scientific studies showed that there is little difference in nutrient content, except for phosphorus and total polyphenols, which are significantly higher. Organic chicken also contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than its non-organic counterparts. So what makes naturally grown foods healthier? It is the fact that they are organically farmed, free from any pesticides and herbicides that may have harmful effects. This results in a more energetic and stronger body, with a reduced risk of disorders, illness and disease.
The absence of preservatives also enables you to control and keep unnecessary weight off the weighing scale. So even if nutrient and vitamin-content doesn’t have a huge difference, organic foods are healthier overall.
2. Better tasting Some non-organic foods contain additives that can alter the taste, nutritional value and may even lead to weight gain. All of these are not found on naturally grown food items, which mean taste is better and more natural. Recent studies also showed that organic food has more healthy chemicals and mineral salts that increase nutritional value and quality.
3. Higher level of antioxidants Organic fruits and vegetables contain 40% more antioxidants according to research. As an element that the body needs to keep the system healthy and free from disease, having more antioxidant is sure to be beneficial. This is because it reduces the risk of heart diseases, stroke and cancer. So, organic foods play a role in preventing terminal and life-threatening diseases, particularly heart problems since they also contain salicylic acid that keeps arteries from hardening.
4. Promotes a healthy family An article on Cord Blood Test Results showed that a newborn baby’s cord blood contains traces of more than 200 harmful chemicals and 21 pesticides. So it is no wonder that conventional food practices have been closely associated with birth defects, ADHD, autism, childhood leukemia, learning disorders and nervous system disorders in children. Why put yourself and your future children at risk by eating non-organic foods?
5. Safer to eat The use of chemicals and pesticides has been linked to a wide range of diseases, such as leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, infertility, cancer of the breast and prostate, Parkinson’s disease, and immune and endocrine disorders. Herbicides and fertilizers, on the other hand, can lead to immune disorders, heart diseases hypertension, cancers and other numerous diseases. So taking all of them out of the equation makes the food you eat a lot safer. Most importantly, it is nothing like genetically engineered foods or meat sources that have been given appetite enhancers and synthetic hormones.
In the United States, organic meat certification help ensure that farm animals meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture organic protocol. This enhances safety, as regulations require that animals are fed with foods that are certified organic and do not contain animal byproducts. No antibiotics or growth hormones must be used on them as well. Also, animal production must not involve genetic engineering or irradiation.
6. Protects the environment Organic farming uses manure instead of fertilizers, crop rotation in place of single crop, weeding for herbicides, and nitrogen-fixing plants instead of nitrogen fertilizers. Without the chemicals, growing organic foods protect the environment from pollution and contamination of nearby bodies of water. Organic farming also conserve water and soil. And, compared to conventional soils, organic soils contain more micro-organisms that store carbon in the ground, helping maintain global climate. So, when you eat organic foods and support their growth, you are, in a way, doing your share in environmental conservation.
7. Promotes improved animal reproduction Research showed that animals that feed on organic foods reproduce more compared to their non-organic food-eating counterparts. Apparently, animals also suffer infertility due to a large consumption of food items grown with chemicals, similar to humans. This results in lower levels of reproduction.
8. Supports the local economy When you buy organic foods, you support local farmers and their organic farms. When the rest of the community does the same thing, there will be more farms and more jobs will be created. These, in turn, support the community’s local economy.
9. It is cheaper Buying organic food may be expensive initially, but you will save money in the long run. Remember that whole foods prevent major and minor diseases, lowering health care costs because you are unlikely to get sick and be confined in a hospital. Moreover, you won’t miss work and your income will remain intact.
Once your body is accustomed to eating organic food, your taste buds and your body will develop a certain aversion to junk food, which would result in you not investing on them and be able to maintain a good and healthy weight.
Organic foods are also of high quality, which means you get exactly what you paid for. And if you still think it is too expensive for your grocery budget, you can always grow your own organic vegetable garden and then barter with other farmers. You can also try to barter goods or services in exchange for organic food.
List of Cons of Organic Food
1. More expensive It is true that you will be able to save more money with organic foods because it prevents a lot of diseases that could send you to the hospital where your finances is highly likely to be used up. But when the concern is about the cost of initial purchase, naturally grown foods turn out to be not as cheap as proponents would have you believe. Because organic farmers do not use chemicals or artificial methods to grow crops or livestock, production is much lower. Add to this the extra manual labor, and the costs of organic farming are surely elevated. The only way farmers will make a profit is to sell their products at a higher price.
2. Doesn’t last longer Because natural foods do not contain preservatives, they have shorter storage life and tend to spoil faster than conventional foods. If you have to buy them more than once or twice a week, you would have to double your grocery budget for food. In the end, you don’t get to save money.
3. Not widely available It takes twice as long to produce organic crops than the conventional kind. This means organic foods are not always available in stores, and especially because only a few local farms are adapting organic farming. Some communities, however, are luckier than others when it comes to supply of naturally grown foods.
4. Takes a lot of work Organic farming may have benefits, but before anything can be harvested, farmers have to go through a lot of work and face plenty of challenges. Using manure as fertilizer, for example, is difficult to apply, and even more difficult to control the mineral content. Weeding, on the other hand, is more labor intensive than using herbicides, and when nitrogen-fixing plants are used as part of crop rotation, the area available for growing crops is reduced significantly.
Crop rotation is also one of the techniques that organic farmers use, which is beneficial since it reduces plant disease and minimize damage to soil composition. Unfortunately, this results in lower production and an inefficient method of growing different types of crops.
5. Doesn’t live up to the hype Organic foods are said to be more nutritious than the conventional kind. Unfortunately, scientific studies don’t back up this particular claim. There may be certain nutrients that show significant difference but only a few, which can be a letdown, considering that proponents of organic foods use high concentration of nutrients for promotion.
In terms of the bacterial contamination, the difference is not statistically significant either. What is even surprising is that the prevalence of E.coli is higher in organic produce than its conventional counterparts, 7% and 6% respectively. Organic crops also have a 5% greater risk of being contaminated. This may have something to do with the use of manure as fertilizer. So clearly, organic foods don’t live up to the hype.
Organic food certainly has many advantages, but it’s not all that perfect. Whether you are a consumer or farmer, it will bring pros and cons to your plate. Organic tomatoes anyone?
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- Energy & Climate Justice
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The Positive Impact of Organic Foods
What does organic mean, what are the benefits of organic foods, are organic foods healthier, how do organic foods help reduce the impacts of climate change.
Read on to find the answers to these questions and more!
USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing the following factors:
Animal raising practices
Pest and weed control
Biologically based farming methods including regular crop rotations
Organic producers must rely on natural substances, without most conventional pesticides, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation
Animals are not given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not allowed
Only pesticides made with natural ingredients can be used
Organic farming tends to be better for the environment
Reduces pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion, increases soil fertility and health, and uses less energy
Healthy soil is key to growing healthy food!
Treating soil with harmful pesticides and fertilizers makes the soil dependent on these unnatural chemicals
Natural cultivation practices are far better than chemical soil management
Organic farming greatly lessens erosion
A recent study showed that an organic farm had, on average, eight more inches of topsoil than a chemically treated farm
Buying organic food fights the effects of climate change
Soil has the ability to sequester carbon (for more about this topic check out my last article Carbon Sequestration through Soil Health | Environmental Center )
Rodale’s research shows that: “If only 10,000 medium-sized farms in the U.S. converted to organic production, they would store so much carbon in the soil that it would be equivalent to taking 1,174,400 cars off the road, or reducing car miles driven by 14.62 billion miles.”
Organic farming supports water conservation and water health
American Rivers notes that water runoff from non-organic farms contains harmful pesticides, toxic fertilizers, and animal waste that is a major water pollution threat
Organic farming also creates healthy soil that does not need as much water
Note: labeling a food ‘organic’ does NOT necessarily mean the product is nutritious or healthy, labeling something organic is based solely on the agricultural field and/or farm practices
Studies, however, have shown that organic milk and meat can be richer in nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids
Studies have also proven that organic produce tends to have higher levels of vitamin C, certain minerals, and antioxidants
A study done by Friends of the Earth showed that switching to an organic diet decreased levels of cancer-causing glyphosate – the main ingredient in a common pesticide – by 70% in participants’ bodies in only one week!
By avoiding conventional foods, you could be ingesting an estimated 700 fewer chemicals
An organically certified farm ensures farmers are conserving biodiversity on their farm and only using approved substances without the use of synthetic chemicals
Organic foods create healthier soil that sequesters more carbon
It is estimated that global croplands have the potential to store an additional 1.85 gigatons of carbon each year . This is as much as the global transportation sector emits annually.
Buying local and organic foods is the #1 way to support the climate in our food purchasing decisions!
Check out the local farmer’s market schedule!
Fewer transportation costs reduce carbon emissions greatly
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Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages
Organic farming uses an approach to growing crops and raising livestock that avoids synthetic chemicals, hormones, antibiotic agents, genetic engineering, and irradiation. In the United States, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has implemented the National Organic Program (NOP) in response to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. The NOP set labeling standards that have been in effect since October 2002. NOP standards for organic food production include many specific requirements for both crops and livestock. To qualify as organic, crops must be produced on farms that have not used most synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer for 3 years before harvest and have a sufficient buffer zone to decrease contamination from adjacent lands. Genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge is prohibited. Soil fertility and nutrient content is managed primarily with cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops supplemented with animal and crop waste...
Environmental health : a global access science source
Maria E Rembialkowska
This review summarises existing evidence on the impact of organic food on human health. It compares organic vs. conventional food production with respect to parameters important to human health and discusses the potential impact of organic management practices with an emphasis on EU conditions. Organic food consumption may reduce the risk of allergic disease and of overweight and obesity, but the evidence is not conclusive due to likely residual confounding, as consumers of organic food tend to have healthier lifestyles overall. However, animal experiments suggest that identically composed feed from organic or conventional production impacts in different ways on growth and development. In organic agriculture, the use of pesticides is restricted, while residues in conventional fruits and vegetables constitute the main source of human pesticide exposures. Epidemiological studies have reported adverse effects of certain pesticides on children's cognitive development at current leve...
In this report, we try to approach the question “Is organic food healthier than conventional food?” from a scientific perspective. We can conclude that science does not provide a clear answer to this question. A small number of animal studies and epidemiological studies on health effects from the consumption of organic vs. conventional feed/food have been performed. These studies indicate that the production system of the food has some influence on the immune system of the consuming animal or human. However, such effects are not easily interpreted as positive or negative for health. The chemical composition of plants is affected by the production system; however, the relevance for human health is unclear, and when one focuses on single compounds such as vitamins, the picture is diffuse with small differences between production systems but large variations between studies. The composition of dairy products is definitely influenced by the organic vs. conventional husbandry systems due...
NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Lucy van de Vijver
The current knowledge regarding effects of organic food on health is unclear. In this study we have focused to yield a consolidated knowledge on health related aspects of organic food. We searched for the MeSH term " organic food " in Pubmed search engine (other terms used for search are: Organic food-18296 articles, organic food and health-4018 articles). Studies done on organic food, related to health, free full papers available in English were included for review. From the total of 2,215 articles, 1805 were excluded due to studies which were not related to organic food, studies without abstracts. Out of remaining 410 studies, 338 studies were excluded due to non-availability of full studies. Finally, 32 studies were selected after removal of articles not related to health. Out of 38 studies included, 9 studies focused on humans, in which 3 studies showed decreased pesticide content, 6 studies showed decreased risk of pre-eclampsia, hypospadias, cardiovascular diseases, etc. 14 studies focused on nutritional quality which showed increased lutein, PUFA and n-3 PUFA, antioxidants, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, etc. A total 9 studies focused on microbiological aspects which showed increased prevalence of microbial contamination, increased antibiotic susceptibility, etc. From the available studies, the effect of organic food on health is not convincing enough to recommend widely. More follow-up studies on humans, with large sample size might possibly enlighten the concept of organic food and its effect on health in future.
Safety and practice for organic food
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Food and Nutrition Sciences
Indian Journal of Community Health
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LaRaven C Gordon
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Organic Food
Safe from Dangerous Pesticides:
Chemical pesticides has been lead to breast, prostate and other cancers, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, infertility, seizures, convulsions, immune & endocrine disorders, Parkinson’s disease & depression.
Although some organic foods and products are costlier you actually will save money in several ways:
- All food helps to prevent major and minor diseases, sickness, meaning lower health care, endless likelihood of missing work are the hidden advantage of organic food.
- Purchasing organic food from the farmer’s market is incredibly cheap .You also has the choice of bartering with farmers goods or services.
- Growing your own products can become free when you get your organic vegetable garden in place.
Safe from Scary Chemicals:
Herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers have been associated with various cancers, immunity disorders & infertility, cardiac disease, hypertension and numerous other diseases.
Safe from Other Crazy Shizz:
Things like hereditarily designed foods, food fertilized with sewer sludge, appetite enhancers given to animals and synthetic hormones are additional advantages of organic food.
Peace of Mind:
Knowing organic food which you are buying can help you to enjoy what you eat for every reason outlined above and below.
Benefits for others when we choose organic:
- Supports the Local Economy:
Purchasing organic, especially from the farmer’s market, supports your local community’s economy, creating jobs and keeping farmers thriving.
Proficient in: Organic Foods
“ This writer never make an mistake for me always deliver long before due date. Am telling you man this writer is absolutely the best. ”
- Keeps Our Families Healthy:
Conventional food practices are connected to birth defects, learning disorders, leukemia in childhood, autism and nervous system disorders in very young age. In fact, even a new born child’s cord blood shows traces of 21 banned pesticides and 200 plus other harmful chemicals.
- Keeps Our Neighbors Healthy:
Supporting organic farms means that few people that is neighbors, farmers and people in other country coming into contact with destructive chemicals. This benefits the entire nations and world’s health and wellness.
Organic Food and the Environment:
The benefit of organic food to the environment not only does this protects the planet, but it obviously still protects our health, the health of loved once and the health of other living creatures.
A few more advantage of organic food to support the environment
- Keep plants healthy:
No super-insects made by pesticides wiping out farms or wild areas. Organic plants flourish as a result of they are made stronger with organic practices.
- Creates healthy conditions:
No topsoil erosion, pollution, contamination, nutrient deletion, antibiotics-resistant bacteria, or scarred land marks from clear cutting and mono-cropping when we work with nature to accommodate requirements.
- Supports are supported by nature:
We may not know all the benefits to organic food practices. But we know “organic” has been working for centuries, so whimpers with a track record likersuperio that when we don’t need to.
Disadvantages of Organic Food
One of the issue or drawback with organic food is that it may be difficult to identify. The place you are living may not have a green market and neighborhood stores and may only carry a limited selection. These things are developing in recent years, but still we have some ways to go and it means a little extra effort on your part, finding good sources, mass ordering or raising or raising our own.
Another hindrance to the benefits of organic food I believe I hear often is that the selection is just naturally restricted, not just because stores don’t stock it, but because the organic counterpart to a normal food is not made. This is valid for multiple reasons. First, some foods are just plain crap and cannot be made healthy or organic without a bonafide miracle. The second one is that organic foods tend to be seasonal, since they are not hereditarily modified to withstand cold and not usually grown artificially. This means it will be difficult to get something like fresh tomatoes in January and February, or asparagus in the heat of summer.
The most well-known issue is that organic food is too expensive. This seems accurate when you are comparing it in your grocery store to conventional food. But it is important to understand that what is organic isn’t really more expensive; non-organic food has just been made artificially cheap by government farm subsidies.
Most of the non-organic food gets from corn and soy, two heavily subsidized commodities. Most processed foods are about 80 percentage of corn-derived, and animal products are fed a corn- and soy-based diet. The other subsidies come in the form of oil: petroleum-based manures, pesticides, and so on. The other has to do with scale: large-scale producers are regularly government-upheld as well. Non-organic agriculturists easily get more subsidies in various ways for producing food than organic agriculturists, and so they can keep their prices artificially low. This means you are really paying the same price for non-organic, but some of it is paid at the grocery store and the remaining in your taxes. But knowing that does not change the most important fact of what is: organic food does not have to be more costly. There are many techniques to making organic food affordable.
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advantage and disadvantage of the use of organic foods
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Some argue that music mainly serves as a way for individuals to reduce their stress and anxiety. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Millions of dollars are spent on space research every year. some people argue that the money should be spent on improving living standards on earth. do you agree or disagree, some people think that parents should teach their children how to be good members of society. others, however, believe that school is the best place to learn this. discuss both views and give your own opinion., some people believe that teenagers should be required to do unpaid community work in their free time. this can benefit teenagers and the community as well. to what extent do you agree or disagree., the problem of obesity is becoming a serious issue all over the world. some people argue that the price of fattneing foods should be increased to reduce the growth of this problem. do you agree or disagree.