Organic Food has come a long way since the days when it had a reputation for being grubby, ugly-looking and only found in the darkest corners of specialty health food stores. These days there are many shops including supermarkets that have Organic Food for sale (including Lettuce Deliver of course) and it is no surprise considering Organic Food Sales in Australia is growing at a rate of 30% per year.
Generally consumers are becoming much more concerned with the food that they are prepared to fuel their bodies as well as their children’s bodies with. There have been many studies that have proven that the nutritional value of Certified Organic Fresh Fruit and Vegetables far exceeds that of their conventional equivalent. The most extensive conducted right here in Newcastle results made public in 2007.
The Newcastle University study included two identical farms side by side, one of which used conventional farming practices, the other using organic methods. The study was conducted over 4 years and scrutinized by 33 academic centres across Europe. The conclusion resounding loud and clear was that organic produce contains higher levels of compounds thought to boost health and combat disease.
Professor Carlo Leifert who co-coordinated the multi - million dollar project said that the differences were so marked that organic produce would help to increase the nutrient intake of people not eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. With organic produce containing at least 20% more antioxidants, that would mean that four servings per day would meet the recommended intakes. The study found that organic vegetable crops contained up to 40% more beneficial compounds and organic milk contained over 90% more nutrients than conventionally produced milk. The study is the first of it’s kind that can not be debated as soil, farmers experience, length of time traveled, etc were exactly the same for each organic product and it’s non-organic equivalent.
This study adds to at least 90 others that also say that on average, organic food has a higher nutrient content than it’s non-organic counterparts. There is also no doubt that eating Organic food reduces your exposure to pesticides.
Conventionally grown crops are sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals both while growing and after their harvest. The individual levels of chemical residues are generally well below the official ‘safe’ limits, while between 1 and 2% of conventional produce tested goes over the limit in every survey for chemical residues. The concern mainly with conventional food is due to the ‘chemical cocktail effect’ of consuming minute amounts of a multitude of different pesticides. Preliminary studies in the US have confirmed what some of us have long expected and that is that the combined effect of several different chemicals is far greater than the sum of their parts.
There has been very little study into the long term effect of the combinations of minute trace chemical residues in the body. We know that these poisons are stored in body fat and each toxic enough to kill insects, so in combination it only makes sense that the toxicity enhances chronic conditions and seriously undermines health.
This chemical cocktail is even more concerning in small children considering their intake of food compared to adults in relation to their body weight. Not to mention their bodies are less efficient at eliminating toxins. Breast milk from mothers eating conventional food has been found to contain small amounts of pesticides, which can adversely affect brain development in babies.
Pesticide residues in food are just the tip of the iceberg when you consider that up to 90% of pesticides do not reach their target. Spread by spray drift, vaporization, run off and leaching through the soil, pesticides routinely contaminate our food, air, wildlife, drinking water and even rainwater.
There are dozens, some would say hundreds of reasons Organic Food is better for you. Not only can you benefit from the avoidance of chemicals, there are also the environmental issues to consider, as well as moral questions such as animal welfare, the health of farm workers and fair trade.