Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Is Organic Better?

The first myth or misunderstanding that I would like to address is that "organic foods are healthier and better for the environment than conventional and GM foods."

Health and Safety
Many people fear synthetic pesticides and herbicides. The media in its use of terms like "factory farming" and "frankenfoods" has helped create the perception that GM foods are unsafe as well. Since organic foods avoid chemicals and 'genetic engineering' people naturally think that they are safer. Since organic products are produced naturally on 'small' family or cooperative farms people feel that these foods are better because quality is lost with mass produced foods.
The Facts
1) Mass produced foods are able to be produced with great precision, getting each plant what it needs as accurately as technically possible using GPS technology.

2) Even organic and 'natural' foods are not 'natural'. They have been developed by plant breeding that involves bringing together thousands of unknown gene combinations with unknown functions. Seedless grapes and watermelons result exactly because these combinations have adverse effects on the plant embryo(seed).

3) Without herbicides, you get weeds that can host pests. In absence of pesticides, pests feed on plants, which can lead to disease and mycotoxins that are known carcinogens.

4) Transgenic crops will actually enable us to improve the nutritional quality of our food- on the market now we have 'Vestive' soybeans that have improved fats that obviate hydrogenation and unhealthy trans-fats.

Next I will discuss myths regarding environmental pollution and organic vs. conventional foods.

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