Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Go organic??

           These days everything comes with a price and so is good healthy food!Today's ingenious people making research on everything from common things to medical science ;people being more conscious about their body and health has lead to the recent spurts in the market of organic foods.What is  Organic ?and why organic ?why do so many people flock around  organic food and stores ?
         Typical definition says that "Organic foods are those that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives"(source =wikipedia). Most of the nutritionists believe that Inorganic foods don’t contain the  amount of nutrients needed by an individual for having sound health. This may perhaps be lead from  the forced raising of these food stuffs using artificial chemicals  unlike those that are naturally raised which has the chance to have the more wholesome form  of the nutrient. So  they feel that on consuming the organic food, we may not be in fact getting the best amount of the nutrients that may be needed to have sound health. But these claims have been rejected by the scientists and food agencies. According to the UK's Food Standards Agency, "Consumers may choose to buy organic fruit, vegetables and meat because they believe them to be more nutritious than other food. However, the balance of current scientific evidence does not support this view." A 12-month systematic review commissioned by the FSA in 2009 and conducted at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine based on 50 years worth of collected evidence concluded that "there is no good evidence that consumption of organic food is beneficial to health in relation to nutrient content.(source wikipedia).They claim that the pesticide levels in the food is well within the safety range for the human body and have no significant health hazards.In most countries, pesticides must be approved for sale and use by a government agency.In the United states, the Environmental protective Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the  Food Qulaity protection Act (FQPA). Complex and costly studies must be conducted to indicate whether the material is safe to use and effective against the intended pest. The EPA regulates pesticides to ensure that these products do not pose adverse effects to humans or the environment.
           Well ,while this arguments  goes on and on,we consumers are in a  tumult whether to  buy organic or non organic food.We all know the proven facts of the ill effects of pesticides on the atmosphere and on the farm workers who spray these pesticides which include severe respiratory ailments,wheezing ,thyroid problems ,cancer reports also.Endosulfan and DDT(organochlorane group pesticides) have also shown severe health hazards in several regions.The proof of Endosulfan poisoning due to aerial spray in cashew plantations have also been seen through generations in the form of physical disabilities ,mental retardation,thyroid problems ,cancer in Kasargod ,Kerala state ,India .This group of pesticides have anyways been banned also in most of the countries and so we need not be worried.But the question is do the food items have that much of residual pesticides as to harm us?The decision is left to us based on our sensibilities.In countries like USA, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created an organic seal and people who wish to go organic can accordingly do based on this seal. Foods bearing it are required to be grown, harvested, and processed according to national standards that include restrictions on amounts and residues of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.Of all the hindrances ,cost is the most important factor setting restrictions on our decisions of buying organic food .How many of us would  pay double the price for organic food  because it has a little more nutritional values than the other and when harmful effects of pesticide residues are still being speculated and not proven?Can we really afford "to go organic"for all the food items?from rice ,vegetables fruits to all other commodities?
             To be on the safer side,Environmental working group and the Food and drug  administration made a comprehensive list of fruits and vegetables which contain high traces and least traces of pesticides in  fruits and vegetables .So this list may help us in deciding which foods can be "go organic" and which foods could be non organic.Accordingly ,the" Dirty 12"
•Sweet bell peppers
•Grapes (imported)

    And which organic produce is probably not worth the added expense? The group lists these 12 items as having the least pesticide residues:(clean 12)
•Sweet peas (frozen)
•Sweet corn (frozen)

   Whether or not you buy organic, you can do your part to reduce pesticide residues on foods with the following tips:

•Wash and scrub produce under streaming water to remove dirt, bacteria and surface pesticide residues, even produce with inedible skins such as cantaloupe. Do not use soap.This will help clean most of the pesticide residues from the outer peel.
•Remove the peel from fruits and vegetables in most of the fruits and vegetables.
•Remove the outer leaves of leafy vegetables.
•Trim visible fat and skin from meat and poultry because pesticide residues can collect in fat.
•Eat a variety of foods from different sources.