Organic Foods

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 205
  • Published : December 2, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Are Organic Foods All They Are Hyped Up To Be: An Overview Of The Organic Food Industry Today, with cancer and obesity cases increasing quickly, people are turning their attention to the foods they are consuming. Such diets as the vegan, vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, paleo, raw, and locavore are becoming more and more popular. The one thing these diets all have in common is the belief that organic foods are better than conventional foods. Similar to conventional foods, organic foods contain chemicals and toxic bacteria, emit more greenhouse gases, and are not sustainable. The chemicals in organic foods cause harm to people and the environment. Furthermore, organic foods travel long distances, producing larger amounts of greenhouse gases and changing the nutritional content of the food. Organic foods also use more land and produces less food. Though there is much hype about eating organic produce, consumers may want to weigh out their options. Most people believe organic foods are better for you and the environment because they do not use chemicals. For instance, The USDA website states that organic foods are foods that are produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients; bioengineering; sewage sludge; or ionizing radiation (USDA). The truth is organic foods claim to be chemical-free except the organic pesticides they are allowed to use are so dangerous they have been “grandfathered” with current regulations and are not required to undergo strict modern safety tests. For example, organic farmers are allowed to use copper to treat fungal diseases on their farmland crops. Copper is not biodegradable and stays in the soil forever and is toxic in excessive amounts to the human body (Johnston). Another example is in India, who is a large manufacturer and exporter of organic foods to the United States. It has recently been estimated that 75% of India’s surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural wastes (Michael). Organic foods can be just as harmful to humans and our environment. There is also debate whether ingesting harmful chemicals, which are sprayed during conventional farming methods in order to kill other living organisms, are toxic to the human body. Because organic foods do not use fungicides and such, they are also frequently contaminated with bacteria and naturally occurring toxins that are harmful for human digestion (Miller). Studies have been performed to test the harmful effects to humans from organic chemicals. A recent study released by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of 110 people and 358 matched controls showed two organic pesticides commonly used today, rotenone and paraquat, are linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease in humans. Use of either of these pesticides makes people 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Rotenone prevents the mitochondria from making necessary energy within cells. Similarly, paraquat produces excessive harmful oxygen by-products that are harmful to cellular structures (NIH). Furthermore, A 2007 Study of Use of Products and Exposure-Related Behavior (SUPERB) surveyed 364 children between ages two and five in order to compare toxin consumption and cancer risk factors. Research found all children examined had excessive amounts of arsenic, dieldrin, DDE and dioxins, all known to cause cancer. In addition, over 95% of preschool children had unacceptable amounts of acrylamide; a cooking byproduct found in potato and tortilla chips, also know to cause cancer (University of California). With so many pesticides and toxins, organic or not, proving to be harmful to the human race, it is difficult to understand what the best options are. Research concludes all chemicals, natural or synthetic, are damaging to the human body and the environment. So the question remains, is it better for people to ingest organic and synthetic chemicals or harmful bacteria and toxins? Organic foods...
tracking img