Organic Foods

The Definition

Are organic foods better for you than non organic foods?  Are non organic foods dangerous because they use pesticides and herbicides?  The answer to these questions lies, in some part, in the definition of organic farming.

The definition is, surprisingly enough, extremely loose.  “Organic foods” does NOT mean that pesticides or fertilizers were not used.  Organic farming cannot use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers and it cannot use genetically modified organisms (for more information, see the GMO’s page).  While this may seem like organic foods are safer because synthetic pesticides can be dangerous, this is not necessarily the case.  To put it in perspective, arsenic and cyanide would be “natural” pesticides, and therefore allowed under the definition of organic farming.  While there are certain exceptions in the organic farming definition (which include banning arsenic and cyanide), there are equally poisonous chemicals that are completely natural and therefore allowed under organic farming, but should definitely not be ingested by humans (such as hydrogen peroxide).

So, the bottom line: just because something is organic does not mean that pesticides and dangerous chemicals were not used.

Citations

http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/torg.html#National%20Organic%20Standards

http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/torg.html#National%20Organic%20Standards

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPPetitionedSubstancesDatabase

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=6f623e1de5457587ccdfec12bc34ed1c&rgn=div5&view=text&node=7:3.1.1.9.32&idno=7#7:3.1.1.9.32.7.354

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

"Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge" – Carl Sagan

%d bloggers like this: