There is no doubt that buying organic food is going mainstream, and baby food is leading the way. Organic Consumers Association reports, "Consumer Reports says going organic for your baby is a good choice. Baby food is usually made from condensed fruits and vegetables. This means that the pesticide residue can sometimes be concentrated as well. So you'll get higher levels than in regular food. In fact, studies have shown that children who eat organic food have lower levels of pesticides in their blood than children who eat regular food. And Consumer Reports says pesticides can pose a bigger risk for children than for adults." Click here to read the full article. But does the mainstreaming of organic foods come at cost of ethical standards? The practices of Horizon to use feedlot dairies and White Wave's switch to cheaper grown Chinese soybeans are alarming trends in the organic food industry. In addition, large health food store chains such as Whole Foods and Wild Oats are guilty of the Walmart Effect, by forcing smaller health food stores out of business.
Many families of limited income wonder how they can afford to buy organic foods, which tend to be more expensive. Buying or trading for local produce from farmers and gardeners, in my opinion, is the best solution. Or even better, start your own organic garden! For the Grist's response to such a question posed by Brokeass, click here. Once again, you know organics are going mainstream when Newsmax, the leading independent online news site with a conservative perspective, advises its readers on what organic products to buy: "More Americans than ever are worried about carcinogens from pesticides and fertilizer in their food, and they are adding organic foods to their food carts. When the FDA and USDA ran tests on more than 100,000 samples of food, they found pesticides known to cause cancer, damage to the brain and nervous system, and birth defects. But if you don’t have a lot of money to add to your food budget, but still want to expose your family to as few chemicals as possible, where should you put your valuable food dollars?
Here’s a list of the most contaminated food products:
Meat. Beef, poultry and pork have higher residual levels of pesticides than any plant food. Chemicals accumulate in the animal’s fatty tissue and go straight to the dinner table.
Milk, Butter, and Cheese. Pesticides are concentrated in milk. In addition, growth hormones and antibiotics are also found in non-organic milk, butter and cheese.
Strawberries, Raspberries and Cherries. Strawberries receive the most pesticides of any crop grown in America. Thirty-six pesticides are applied to strawberries and 90 percent of berries tested have pesticide contamination above levels considered safe. Raspberries and cherries don’t rate much better.
Apples and Pears. The FDA detected 36 chemicals in apples. Half are neurotoxins which cause brain damage.
Tomatoes. A tomato’s thin skin allows the more than 30 pesticides used on conventionally-grown crops to seep through the entire tomato.
Potatoes. Heavily contaminated with both pesticides and fungicides, the FDA found that 79 percent of potatoes had levels of several pesticides that were deemed unsafe.
Spinach. Spinach is the vegetable most often contaminated with the most powerful pesticides used on food. The FDA found that 83 percent of spinach had dangerous levels of pesticides. Other greens are also heavily contaminated.
Coffee. The pesticides that are so dangerous they’re not allowed to be used in this country are shipped overseas where they’re used on crops and shipped back in our foods. Coffee is one of the worst.
Peaches and Nectarines. 95 percent of peaches and 97 percent of nectarines tested were contaminated from the forty-five pesticides used in conventional orchards. Don’t think you can avoid the pesticides by peeling; their thin skin allows the pesticides to soak deep into the fruit.
Grapes. Thirty-five different chemicals sprayed on grapes are showered on several times during their growth. Testing found 86 percent of grapes were contaminated with pesticides. Imported grapes have even more pesticides, with those from Chile having the most.
Celery. 94 percent of celery was found to have dangerous levels of pesticides.
Red and Green Bell Peppers. Bell peppers, doused with 39 pesticides, also have high levels of chemical residues. In addition, peppers are often coated with unhealthy wax."
For more information, please read our previous post "Greenwashing of Foods".