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  Is Organic Food Good For Health  
 
Since the last few years, organically grown food is being preferred over conventional crops that use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Recently, there has been a tirade against organic crops with many organizations like the CCF (Centre for Consumer Freedom) saying that the manure used by organic farmers as fertilizers is deadly, as it is a breeding ground for numerous dangerous microbes and the deadly e-coli bacteria. Even the natural pesticides that organic farmers use in cultivation could be far more dangerous that synthetic chemical pesticides.

The debate over organic versus conventional crops has been in existence, since the very beginning. Of late the controversy has grown alarmingly with both sides citing different reasons in support of their stands. Advocates of organic farming say that chemical pesticides can kill, whereas those in favour of conventional farming say that organically grown crops need to develop their own defence systems to guard against insects and pests, which can be way more toxic than pesticides.

All these allegations and counter allegations being traded between global agribusinesses and powerful organic trade associations each working with their own interests in mind have placed the common man in a very perplexing situation. The average family man is just interested in providing his family with a healthy meal and wants to protect his children from harmful toxins together with doing his small bit for protecting the environment. He just wants to know whether organic produce is safer and more environment-friendly than conventionally grown plants and whether it is worthwhile to spend more for buying organically grown food.

The single most important reason, why people choose organic produce over that which is conventionally grown is to avoid consumption of pesticides. Organic farmers cannot use any synthetic chemical for killing weeds, pests or fertilization, whereas the conventional farmer has access to nearly 200 synthetic chemicals, which he can use as fungicides, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. It is true that many of such chemicals are found on the vegetables and fruits that are bought from the market. To be fair, even organic produce is not entirely free from pesticides. Synthetic chemicals from surrounding fields seep into ground water sources and are drawn into organically grown plants.

Of a sample size of 13208 of conventional produce tested by the US Dept of Agriculture, 76 percent of the fresh vegetable and fruit samples tested were found to contain detectable residues of chemicals as against just 23 percent for organically grown produce. Research by food scientist Chensheng Lu of Emory University showed that urine samples from a group of preschool children being studied for pesticide consumption in food showed one child with no detectable levels of organophosphates, a class of common pesticides. Following up on the research the scientist found that the parents of the child served only organic food, none other, at home. This made him go for another experiment of 23 children, who ate conventional food. They were later switched for five days totally to organic foods including vegetables, juices, pasta, processed food, dairy, chips, cereals etc. The results proved conclusively that while on conventional diets the children measured positive to organophosphate pesticides in their urine, but within a day of switching to organic foods the pesticide levels became non-detectable and rose again, when the children switched back to conventional diets.

This is something that goes overwhelmingly in favour of organically grown food.





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