It must have been a week or two ago, that I came home and saw my wife had purchased some organic bananas. I asked why she made the switch and she mentioned they were the only ones on sale that day. It looked and tasted like a regular banana. It did not seem so special to me to justify the extra cost. Of course, with bananas it is not really that much higher, but It did get me thinking. We all know that organics has been a hot topic in modern times, but why? There are several misconceptions about organics that really should be brought up.
One thing that is common to hear supporters of organics say is “I only eat 100% organic foods”. This is pertaining to the idea that they will not eat food they diem “contaminated”. Well unless you grow and cook everything yourself, with only products you produced, its highly unlikely you are hitting that 100% benchmark. To be labeled “Made with organic ingredients” by the USDA, only 70% of a product needs to be organic. An example of this is products such as corn chips. Organic corn chips can be made from organic corn but fried in non-organic oil. Since corn chips are roughly 25% oil, this food would be considered organic, and still have non-organic compounds/ingredients.
A big fear out there is consuming antibiotics through our meat. Meats cannot be treated with antibiotics in order to fit the label of organic. People fear that if they eat meat from animals treated with antibiotics, that they will ingest antibiotic resistant microbes. The idea is that this will in turn make them resistant to antibiotics. This fear is for the most part not necessary, as farmers have to wait a certain amount of days after administering drugs to process an animal. During this time the medicine is being metabolized by the body. Meat with antibiotic residues are already discarded and is not in the best interest of the farmers to try and cheat the system. Properly cooked meats and proper hygiene will prevent the ingestion of any of these microbes, even the meniscal amount you may encounter.
My personal pet peeve with organics is the idea they are “produced chemical free”. Well unfortunately this is hardly the case. In fact, a lot of times the only difference is not even the actual chemical, but the source of the chemical. If a farmer buys a cheaper, synthetic version, they are not considered organic. If that same farmers buys that same chemical, produced from a natural source, they would be considered organic. And if you think your body can tell the difference in a synthetic chemical vs a naturally produced one, you’d also be surprised to find out this is not true. A classic organic pesticide known as Rotenone was linked to causing Parkinson’s disease in humans, for example.
This article is not an attack on organic producers or those who choose to eat organic foods. This is just a clarification of some of the commonly held beliefs of its supporters. I too believe in responsible use of pesticides and herbicides and eating foods that are carefully grown. The fact of the matter is that conventionally grown foods are safe to eat and our farmers go to great lengths to insure our food is safe to eat.