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The Organic Food Value Debate E-mail
Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA   

More and more people are reaching to organic food believing that by eating organic food that they are doing their bodies goorganic foodod. But is eating organic really improving your health?  According to information from a new stud conducted in Toronto and appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, there is no data supporting the notion that organic foods are any healthier or more beneficial than regular, non organic conventional foods.

About Organic Foods

Organic food refers to food items that are produced, manufactured and handled using organic means defined by certifying bodies such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under its Organic Food Products Act. As of April 2008, organic food accounts for 1-2% of food sales worldwide.

Organic Food Regulations

Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry. Currently, the United States, Canada, Japan, the European U

nion (EU) and many other countries require organic producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as "organic". While the use of conventional non-organic pesticides, insecticides and herbicides is greatly restricted and only used as a last resort. However, what many people do NOT realize is certain non-organic fertilizers are still used. Most certifications also allow some chemical pesticides to also be used when producing organic foods. This means that there can still be several sources of chemicals used in the growing and management of "organic" food from production to market.

Is Organic Worth the Money?

Constant debates occur over whether it is beneficial in any way to buy some produce organically.There are several studies that suggest buying organic is NOT worth the money.

According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health, the following twelve foods have the lowest pesticide load when conventionally grown. Consequently, they are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume and buying organic here may not provide any real val;ue for your money:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli 
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Onions
  • Pineapples 
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Sweet peas (frozen)

The following are some of the "dirtier" foods, when it comes to chemical contamination from fertilizes  and pesticides use. There are many countries that are known for heavy chemical use during food production. Many of the following foods, when tested come up high in chemical contamination, both surface and within the food itself from these farming techniques, therefore paying a little extra money for buying organic may in fact be worth the money:

  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Imported Grapes (especially from Chile)
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Red Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
As a minimum, consider especially avoiding tomatoes, strawberries, and spinach (from Mexico), peaches, pears, and grapes from Chile, fruits and vegetables especially apples from New Zealand.

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