Organic food stores are becoming more common than ever. The demand for organic produce has become so prevalent that super chains such as Wal-Mart are now carrying them to compete. A once rare commodity, almost every local grocery store seems to cater to the country’s health shift. This new change has also left some consumers underwhelmed. Some are not phased by the organic movement and would rather stick to what they know. Organic produce is significantly more expensive and raises the question of whether it is worth the splurge. The answer to this question is surprisingly both yes and no.
Why are pesticides harmful?
Studies have shown that pesticides are found in consumers’ urine. In low levels, the FDA says the pesticides are not harmful. But exposure to these pesticides may cause neurological diseases, immune disorders and/or certain cancers. At this time, long-term data is not available for the affect of pesticides on humans. But the Environmental Working Group warns against long-term exposure. The group reasons that pesticides are meant to kill insects and any long-term consumption can’t be beneficial to humans. Children are especially sensitive to pesticides because of their developing brains. It is also not completely safe to wash the pesticides off. Some pesticides have seeped into the root of produce and can’t be removed. Pesticides are also in the water, which is absorbed by the soil and can get inside of the fruit or vegetable. Though all produce should be washed to remove dirt and potentially harmful bacteria, there is no guarantee that washing gets rid of pesticide residue. The great aspect is once a person starts to rid their diet of non-organic product, their bodies will quickly rid the pesticides through excretion.
Which foods to consider?
Depending on the type of produce you are buying, whether it is organic or not does matter. Generally, foods with peels such as avocados, pineapples, bananas, cabbage, onions, etc do not have to be organic. Whether organic or grown in the presence of pesticides foods with a peel rarely show signs of pesticide residue. On the other hand, foods with permeable skin, such as strawberries, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples etc, can absorb pesticides.
Why is organic produce more expensive? Generally, a farmer may lose 40 percent to 50 percent of his/her crop. Pesticides are used to save the crop from the damage insects can cause. A farmer can lose a lot of profit if half of his/her produce goes bad. Organic fruit and vegetables have to be more expensive to compensate for what the farmer could not salvage.