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Why We Should All Eat More Organic Food
By Organic Consumers Association

Organic Food is More Nutritious

Organic foods, especially raw or non-processed, contain higher levels of beta carotene, vitamins C, D and E, health-promoting polyphenols, cancer-fighting antioxidants, flavonoids that help ward off heart disease, essential fatty acids, and essential minerals.

On the average, organic food is 25% more nutritious in terms of vitamins and minerals than products derived from industrial agriculture. Since on the average, organic food's shelf price is only 20% higher than chemical food, this makes it actually cheaper, gram for gram, than chemical food, even ignoring the astronomical hidden costs (damage to health, climate, environment, and government subsidies) of industrial food production. Levels of antioxidants in milk from organic cattle are between 50% and 80% higher than normal milk. Organic wheat, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, onions and lettuce have between 20% and 40% more nutrients than non-organic foods.

Organic food contains qualitatively higher levels of essential minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium), that are severely depleted in chemical foods grown on pesticide and nitrate fertilizer-abused soil. UK and US government statistics indicate that levels of trace minerals in (non-organic) fruit and vegetables fell by up to 76% between 1940 and 1991.

Organic Food is Pure Food, Free of Chemical Additives

Organic food doesn't contain food additives, flavor enhancers (like MSG), artificial sweeteners (like aspartame and high-fructose corn syrup), contaminants (like mercury) or preservatives (like sodium nitrate), that can cause health problems.

Eating organic has the potential to lower the incidence of autism, learning disorders, diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, allergies, osteoporosis, migraines, dementia, and hyperactivity.

Organic Food Is Safer

Organic food doesn't contain pesticides. More than 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues remain on non-organic food even after washing. Children are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure. One class of pesticides, endocrine disruptors, are likely responsible for early puberty and breast cancer. Pesticides are linked to asthma and cancer.

Organic food isn't genetically modified. Under organic standards, genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are prohibited.

Organic animals aren't given drugs. Organic farming standards prohibit the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified vaccines in farm animals. Hormone-laced beef and dairy consumption is correlated with increased rates of breast, testis and prostate cancers.

Organic animals aren't fed animal remains or slaughterhouse waste, blood, or manure. Eating organic reduces the risks of CJD, the human version of mad cow disease, as well as Alzheimer's.

Organic animals aren't fed arsenic.

Organic animals aren't fed byproducts of corn ethanol production (which increases the rate of E. coli contamination).

Organic crops aren't fertilized with toxic sewage sludge or coal waste, or irrigated with E. coli contaminated sewage water.

Organic food isn't irradiated. Cats fed a diet of irradiated food got multiple sclerosis within 3-4 months.

Organic food contains less illness-inducing bacteria. Organic chicken is free of salmonella and has a reduced incidence of campylobacter.

How to Identify Real Organic Food

Look for the USDA Organic Seal or the Words "Made With Organic Ingredients"

When you see the "USDA Organic" seal, you know that the food is at least 95% organic, does not contain genetically modified organisms, was not irradiated, and comes from a farm that:

  • Employs positive soil building, conservation, manure management and crop rotation practices.
  • Provides outdoor access and pasture for livestock.
  • Refrains from antibiotic and hormone use in animals.
  • Sustains animals on 100% organic feed.
  • Keeps records of all operations.
  • Is inspected annually by an accredited Third-Party Organic Certifier.

If it is a multi-ingredient product, it was made at a certified organic processing plant that takes strict measures to avoid contamination of organic products.

Products that are "Made With Organic Ingredients" are at least 70% organic and are also free from genetically modified organisms and food irradiation.

Organic Food On a Budget

When comparing prices in the grocery aisles, the organic version of particular items is often 20% on the average more expensive, but if you make a pledge to eat more organic, you'll likely save money overall by eating out at restaurants less often, packing your lunch, and cooking from scratch. (Because you'll be eating healthier, you'll probably also save on doctors' bills!)

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online (www.organicconsumers.org) and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. We are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation's estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers.

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