Half of All the Fruit & Veg You Buy is Contaminated

Posted by Trish Riley, August 2, 2009

©Trish RileyHere’s some news that seems to have been put out just to confuse consumers about organic foods. I’m guessing that there is some big AG money behind the report, which is being heartily challenged.

Alarmingly, as much as a quarter of the food on sale in 2008 – the date of the latest figures – was found to contain multiple pesticides. In some cases, up to ten different chemicals were detected in a single sample.

Experts warn that the “cocktail effect” of so many different chemicals endangers health. They also point out that some of the pesticides are not only cancer-causing but also so-called “gender-benders” – chemicals that disrupt human sexuality.

“Researchers are concerned about the possible adverse health effects of very low-level exposures to mixtures of chemicals,” said professor Andrew Watterson, head of the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group at the University of Stirling.

He also criticised the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for failing to include the impact of pesticides in last week’s report on organic food. “Why did the FSA apparently frame the recent research project to exclude the human and environmental health impacts of so-called food contaminants?” he asked.

The FSA report reviewed previous studies and concluded that there were “no important differences” in the nutrition content of organic food compared to conventionally-farmed food.

But the FSA has since come under fire.

via Half of All the Fruit & Veg You Buy is Contaminated | CommonDreams.org. Thanks, Ed!

There is no reason to think that organic foods would have fewer nutrients than industrially produced foods, and there are many reasons to think that organics have greater benefits for the environment, for pesticide reduction, and for taste, all of which affect human health at least as much — or more — than minor differences in nutritional content.

I’ve done quite a bit of research on the benefits of organic produce and I’m convinced that it would be a damn good thing to reduce your exposure to synthetic chemicals in any way that you can. I’m quite confused by this report stating that there are no nutritional benefits to organic produce. Here are a few studies from The Rodale Institute that attest to the nutritional benefits of organics:

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that mothers on organic diets had significantly more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and trans-vaccenic acid (TVA) in their breast milk than did mothers on conventional diets. These fatty acids are believed to protect against a variety of diseases, including diabetes and colon cancer….rodale institute http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/node/445

Organic strawberries stop cancer cells
In laboratory tests at two Swedish universities, extracts from organic strawberries were even more effective in their cancer-suppressing effects (on colon and breast cancer cells) than were extracts from conventional strawberries. The study was publicized in 2006.

The researchers said they believe the benefits of organically grown foods have a lot to with activating the plant’s defense mechanisms to synthesize its own protective agents because synthetic pesticides are excluded. Compost as a soil supplement increased the level of antioxidant compounds in strawberries. http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/node/433

Organic foods richer in minerals and vitamins
Organic farms grow foods that are free of dangerous chemicals and richer in mineral, vitamin and nutrient content. Healthy agrarian populations existing before they began to eat processed foods, and other comparative studies, suggest a number of ways that organic farming practices grow food with identifiable health benefits.

Besides being free of, or much lower in, pesticide residue, organic foods grown in improved organic soils have also been found to have fewer nitrates and food additives linked with disease, but higher levels of the minerals calcium, magnesium, iron and copper. http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/node/432

Organic crops higher in flavonoids, better for the heart
A 10-year comparison of organic and conventional finds higher levels of beneficial flavonoids in organic tomatoes.

Researchers at the University of California-Davis (California) found that the mean levels of the two beneficial compounds measured for the decade were more than 80 percent higher in organic tomatoes. Further, while the flavonoid levels were fairly stable in tomatoes from the conventional fields, the levels increased more markedly over time in the organic samples as soil organic matter quality improved.

Some research suggests that flavonoids protect against cardiovascular disease and, to a lesser extent, against cancer and other age-related diseases such as dementia. http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/node/430

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