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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Myths Organic Food

Myth: Organic food tastes like cardboard.

Fact: This may have been true of processed foods at one time—take crackers or pretzels for example—but this stereotype is as outdated as the hippie connotations that follow it. Today many organic snack foods taste the same as their conventional counterparts, while most people agree that fresh, locally grown organic produce does not compare to the alternative. Even organic produce that is not in season and has been shipped thousands of miles to reach our grocer’s shelves cannot compare to the produce found in our own back yard or at farmers markets. Taste is certainly an individual matter, what you think!Try baking a couple batches of cookies or prepare a couple of bowls of fruit or vegetable salad; use organic ingredients in one and conventional ingredients in the other.Which tastes better?

Myth: Organic food is too expensive.

Fact: In general, organic food costs more than conventional food because of the laborious and time-intensive systems used by the typically smaller organic farms. You may find that the benefits of organic agriculture off-set this additional cost. At the same time, there are ways to purchase organic while sticking to your budget. Consider the following when questioning the price of organic:
• Organic farmers don’t receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do. Therefore, the price of organic food reflects the true cost of growing.
• The price of conventional food does not reflect the cost of environmental cleanups that we pay for through our tax dollars.
• Organic farming is more labor and management intensive.

Myth: Eating organic food is the same as eating natural food.

Fact: Natural foods do not contain additives or preservatives, but they may contain ingredients that have been grown with pesticides or are genetically modified. In other words, the ingredients in the ingredient panel will look familiar, but they have not been produced organically. Natural foods are not regulated and do not meet the same criteria that organic foods do.

Myth : Organic foods are no healthier than non-organic foods.

Fact: Wrong. Food produced organically contains fewer contaminants. Some scientific studies have shown that there are more nutrients in organically produced food.

Myth: Organic farming increases the risk of food poisoning.

Fact: False. Organic farming can actually reduce the risk.

Myth: Organic farming uses pesticides that damage the environment.

Fact: Untrue. Organic farming systems rely upon prevention rather than cure, minimising the need for pesticides.

Myth: Consumers are paying too much for organic food.

Fact: Not so. crop rotations, organic animal feed and welfare standards, the use of good husbandry instead of agri-chemicals, and the preservation of natural habitats all result in organic food costing more to produce. Non-organic food appears to be cheaper but in fact consumers pay for it three times over – first over the counter, second via taxation (to fund agricultural subsidies) and third to remedy the environmental pollution (or disasters like BSE) caused by intensive farming practices.

Myth: Organic food cannot feed a hungry world.

Fact: False. Intensive farming destroys the fertility of the land and is unsustainable. Organic methods help labour-rich but cash-poor communities to produce food sustainably.

Myth: Organic farming is unkind to animals.

Fact: Far from it. Animal welfare and the freedom to behave naturally is central to organic livestock standards.

Myth: Organic food is 100 percent pesticide-free.

Fact: Truth. While organic farmers don't apply environmentally harmful chemicals to crops, they are permitted to use safer pesticides where necessary. The organic designation never really meant 100 percent pesticide- or chemical-free, despite public perception. The designation actually describes a method of farming that is as ecologically sound as possible. Also, chemical pesticides are now so widespread that they appear regularly in the rainwater that drenches all crops, conventional and organic alike. These chemicals can also drift through the air onto organic fields from conventional fields located miles away.

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