Blog Directory - Blogged foodliterate: Organically Speaking - Part 2

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Organically Speaking - Part 2

Organic myths - now I'm fine with anyone who chooses to grow, process and/or consume organic foods; I do every now and then, but I don't like bad science or bogus claims. One of the biggest claims that I hear over & over is that organic foods are more nutritious than their conventional counterparts. There have been numerous studies conducted and very few have shown organic foods to be of higher nutritional quality and of those studies that have leaned towards organic " were not designed, conducted, or published according to accepted scientific standards..." - Dr. Joseph Rosen (Rutgers University Food Science Professor). Even Katherine Di Matteo of the Organic Trade Association has stated "Organic foods are as nutritious as any other foods."

Want to really know what make a difference in nutrition? Freshness - it has more to do with the retention or loss of nutrients than whether or not it was grown using inorganic fertilizers. The fresher the product you are buying, the more nutritious it will be; vitamins and phytochemicals breakdown over time. The exact same plants grown under two different growing conditions (organic vs. conventional) still have the exact same genetic makeup meaning they are biochemically identical. Organic methodology does not alter the biology or the genes.

Which brings me conveniently to my next point - bioengineering. Wow do people, especially those in the media, get upset over biotech aka GMO (genetically modified organisms). Dr. Adrienne Massey has a great quote "Genetic modification of food by humans is nothing new. We have genetically modified virtually all of the food we have ever consumed." She's so right; genetic modifications have been made on purpose for thousands of years, now granted it was done (and still is sometimes) via cross-pollination and selective breeding versus the lab.

And we have over 20 years of growing and eating biotech foods here in the US with no evidence of food safety risks. The FDA's Dr. Jane Henney has been quoted in regards to the history of safe use of bioengineered foods that there are no confirmed issues, "Not one rash; not one cough; not one sore throat; not one headache." Just to get a GMO to market requires 10-15 years of research, examinations, field tests, review by the FDA, USDA and EPA. Then most of them are also reviewed by the WHO (World Health Organization), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Natural Research Council.

The harsh reality is this -you can choose to eat only organic because of the abundance of food available in the US, but a lot of the rest of the planet cannot. We can't convert the world food supply to solely organic methodologies, nor eliminate GMO crops, or we will leave around 2 billion people without food. Organic, non-modified crops, consume more resources and produce smaller yields. I for one am glad that we have choices between organic and conventional rather than between food or no food. Make sure all of your choices are well informed!

No comments: