Organic food: a superior quality choice
More than half a million tons of pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on U.S. crops each year, and assuming that people ingest such potential toxic substances is an extremely realistic possibility.
The long-term effects of exposure to pesticides and herbicides are not entirely clear, however a worrying picture is beginning to emerge.
Demographic studies conducted on the adult population suggest a link with certain types of cancers and neurological diseases.
As parents and doctors, it is not wise to wait until some irrefutable scientific evidence comes to definitively associate these chemicals with various diseases.
Pesticides that were once considered safe and used for decades are now banned; for example, the disinfestation of apples with methyl-parathion, a type of organophosphorus insecticide, has recently been prohibited.
Under the banner of "Organic"
As far as health is concerned, food is one of the few environmental factors over which we can exercise specific control.
It is difficult to control the air we breathe outside, unless you move to another area. Conversely, we have the ability to control, at least to a certain extent, how safe the food we ingest is, and this can be done by purchasing organic food.
The term organic means that food non sono stati trattati con sostanze chimiche e sono stati coltivati su terreni sicuri.
Certified organic cultivation
It is good to look for food products that bear the label "from certified organic cultivation".
Organic foods may not be totally pesticide-free due to contamination from adjacent crops and circumstances beyond their control.
A 1997 Consumer Reports study conducted on approximately fifty kilos of organic and non-organic food products (randomly selected from shops around the country) found that 25% of biological samples contained only traces of pesticides, while in 77% of foods non-biological pesticide content was evident.
It is true that organic products have a higher cost, but it is equally true that health is worth the price.
We therefore recommend caution when purchasing the following types of fruit and vegetables, as they contain some of the highest levels of toxic pesticides
- Winter squash
- Green beans
Baby food products are also contaminated with pesticides and chemicals.
Fortunately, the most well-known brands currently market products from organic crops and farms.
An acceptable alternative to the purchase of organic products is to buy fruit and vegetables at the outlets of local farms, after knowing the companies that do not use pesticides in their crops.
It is also possible to buy poultry and fresh meat from chickens, sheep and cattle raised on pesticide-free, hormone-free and antibiotic-free feed and fodder.
Organic milk is also currently available.
Nutritional superiority of organic products
One study compared the amounts of useful and toxic minerals found in foods from organic and conventional crops.
The results are shown below, clearly in favor of organic products.
|Useful minerals||Toxic minerals|
|Boron - 70% higher in organic products||Aluminum - 40% higher in conventional crop products|
|Calcium - 63% higher in organic products||Cadmium - 5% higher in organic products|
|Cobalt - same in both groups||Mercury - 25% higher in conventional crop products|
|Chromium - 78% higher in organic products||Lead - 29% higher in conventional crop products|
|Iron - 59% higher in organic products|
|Phosphorus - 91% higher in organic products|
|Iodine - 73% higher in organic products|
|Lithium - 118% higher in organic products|
|Magnesium - 138% higher in organic products|
|Molybdenum - 68% higher in organic products|
|Nickel - 66% higher in organic products|
|Potassium - 125% higher in organic products|
|Copper - 48% higher in organic products|
|Rubidium - 28% higher in conventional crop products (undesirable mineral)|
|Selenium - 390% higher in organic products|
|Silicon - 86% higher in organic products|
|Sodium - 159% higher in organic products|
|Strontium - 133% higher in organic products|
|Vanadium - 8% higher in organic products|
|Zinc - 60% higher in organic products|
|Sulfur - 20% higher in organic products|
Useful minerals and toxic minerals
Wash fruit and vegetables well
All food, whether organic or not, must be thoroughly washed and cleaned to eliminate bacteria as well as pesticides.
As for soft-fleshed fruit, such as pears, the problem lies in the fact that pesticides accumulate in the core of the fruit.
It is recommended to wash fruit and vegetables with dish detergent or special detergents that dissolve pesticides.
As previously mentioned, fish is an excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids. Unfortunately, certain fish species are known to contain mercury and other toxins in dangerously high quantities.
The box below lists fish deemed safe from mercury contamination and those considered unsafe or unsafe.
The quality and safety of the fish depends on the areas in which you are located.
|Fish generally low in mercury||Fish generally with a high mercury content|
|Mahimahi||Black Whiting (Atlantic Ocean)|
|Black Whiting (Pacific Ocean)||Cod (Atlantic Ocean)|
|Cod (Pacific Ocean)||Orange Roughy|
|Plaice (Pacific Ocean)||Plaice (Atlantic Ocean)|
|Clams||Chilean sea bass|
|Striped sea bass|
Mercury and fish pollution
Organic farming and quality of life
When we talk about organic agriculture we mean the agricultural approach aimed at producing food with natural substances and processes, with the aim of having qualitative products with limited environmental impact, thanks to:
- Responsible use of energy and natural resources
- Maintenance of biodiversity
- Conservation and enhancement of local ecological balances
- Improvement of soil fertility
- Maintenance of water quality
- Attention to animal welfare
Well over 100 years ago, some visionary pioneers understood the profound connection between what we eat and the quality and health of our life, as well as the planet we live on.
The concept of "Organic" developed from the need of indigenous peoples (Latin America, Japan and India for example) to enhance biological and cultural diversity . Only in the 1970s, thanks to various reference organizations, did a common biological movement begin to emerge.
Thanks to this community of intent and an international movement, it was possible to start developing production and processing standards, introducing certification schemes and regulating the meaning of “organic”.
In the 1980s, official legislation was introduced in Europe and the United States of America and, to date, over 82 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania have implemented organic regulations.
In many economically underdeveloped countries, organic farming is often the only opportunity to ensure sufficient food availability for the population. In industrialized countries, where intensive industrial agriculture based on chemistry prevails , developing organic crops is a responsible and conscious choice in the direction of safeguarding the health of populations and the territory, while respecting biodiversity.
Although there is concrete evidence of the benefits deriving from organic farming, to date, not even 1% of cultivated agricultural land and world food consumption holds organic certification. This is because the dynamic development of consumer markets is extremely fast while the conversion of land to organic farming takes longer.
The challenges for a broader development of the biological system pass through access to capital and adequate income, animal welfare, the availability of land, water and seeds, healthy diets and the elimination of waste in agricultural and food systems. All this can not be included in a single model but in a holistic and dynamic system aimed at developing best practices based on local priorities. An expansion outside the traditional circles is needed; consolidate and expand relations with the research community, with operators in the value chain, as well as with the media, with political decision-makers and with international institutions.
The concept of "organic" should become a vision that, starting from political decisions , takes shape in all choices and in everything that people do, being aware of the harmful consequences of traditional industrial intensive crops.
However, it is necessary to specify that there are no foods marketed in Italy that can be defined as harmful to the health of consumers, since the current regulations provide for scientifically determined quality standards and such as not to harm the organism of the people who follow the procedures of recommended administration.
The production of organic food has the noble purpose of promoting the eco-sustainability of agriculture and animal breeding, as well as improving the healthiness of the resulting foods.
Currently the costs of organic productions, even in the nobility of intentions, are often not sustainable either for producers or consumers.Moreover, the doubt about the real organic quality of many products / producers is still quite widespread , since the legislation provides random checks.
The vision and sharing of the noble values that underlie the concept of "organic" still represent a step forward towards an increasingly responsible approach to the earth's resources, they suggest a more attentive attitude towards our daily choices, as well as, they remind us of individual responsibility towards the community and future generations.
Not surprisingly, when we talk about "organic" we often associate the word "holistic", meaning
the integrated and interdependent vision of everything that exists, the vision of the earth and
all its inhabitants as a single large organism that , in order to function, it needs
all its components to be healthy.