Food For Thought

Topics: Organic food, Organic farming, Pesticide Pages: 6 (1799 words) Published: April 10, 2014
Chemical Residues
Organic food is based on very precise standards of production, and its non-pesticide requirements are an integral part of the identification and labeling of such products. With respect to chemicals, organic agriculture refrains from the use of “synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, fungicides, veterinary drugs, synthetic preservatives and additives” (Shepherd et al.3). Thus, the hazardous residues in organic food are restricted to the lowest amount possible. In fact, many researches have shown the harmfulness of pesticide residues on human health, so pesticide-free organic food is considered much healthier than conventional food. Studies have shown a relatively low presence of pesticide residue in organic food compared to conventional food. For instance, the amount of two primary pesticides, DDT and LINDANE, is restricted to the lowest pounds per dairy (ppd). DDT residue in organic milk has a mean of 0.0217 ppd and can be as low as non-detectable. In comparison, the mean DDT value in conventional milk is 0.0921 ppd over four times that of organic milk (Kouba 35). Similarly, the average LINDANE residue in conventional milk is twice that in organic milk (Kouba 35). These two sets of data provide evidence for a lower residue quantity in organic milk compared to conventional milk. Moreover, the Pesticide Data Program in the United States Department of Agriculture monitors pesticide residues in the United States, and their most recent results also prove that there is little pesticide remnants in organic food. In all the organic samples tested, USDA found that 29.5 percent of the samples contain no detectable pesticides, 30 percent contain only one pesticide and 40 percent contain more than 1 pesticide (Pesticide). Hence, the empirical data from USDA further supports that there are lower levels of residue contaminant in organic food. The scientific evidence is crucial in determining the consumer’s attitude towards purchasing organic food. As people value healthy food and safe food more, consumers are likely to choose the healthier and safer organic food over the conventional food, thus expands the market of organic food. Researchers have found a general negative correlation between the exposure to pesticides and health conditions. Pesticides are associated with well-known acute health problems such as “nausea, dizziness, vomiting, headaches, abdominal pain, and skin and eye problems” (Ecobichon 643). Long-term exposure to pesticides even increases the risks of more serious chronic diseases such as respiratory problems, memory deficits and miscarriages (McCauley et al. 953). Based on the studies by Ecobichon and McCauley et al., pesticides are correlated with many discomforts and diseases, so exposure to pesticides increases the risks of having health problems. Moreover, Kouba studies the effect of pesticides on male farmers and shows a lower sperm concentration among non-organic farmers than organic farmers (36). Suggested by the study of Kouba, men’s health can be negatively affected by constant exposure to pesticides. Additionally, current studies have shown a potential for childhood cancer and Parkinson disease from long-term pesticide contact (Daniels et al. 1068; Firestone et al. 91). According to the various health problems related to pesticide exposure, substantial pesticide intake from diet contributes to health risks. Therefore, compared to conventional food, organic food is healthier in respect to its low pesticide residue. Recognizing the consequences of pesticide intake, consumers tend to choose the safer organic food which has lower pesticide. Nutritional Values and Better Tastes

Besides the low pesticide residue contamination, another benefit of organic food is good taste and increased nutritious values. A 4-year, 12-billion-pound EU study on the benefits of organic food suggests that some organic foods, such as fruits, vegetables and milk, are more nutritious than non-organic...
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