Fresh is always best - the organic debate should not distract from the compelling health reasons for eating fresh produce of any kind.
Freshness affects nutrient levels as well as the method by which the food is farmed. Freshness is more related to storage and the time lag before eating than whether a food is produced conventionally or organically. That is a compelling reason for buying local.
You can have wilted spinach that is conventionally-grown and wilted spinach that is organic.
Research clearly shows fresh fruit and vegetables are essential for good health, with health benefits over and above those provided by the vitamins and minerals they contain (this is why taking vitamin and mineral supplements is a poor substitute). If you want more nutrients, eat more fresh produce. Choose carrots rather than fried chips.
Organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming practices reduce pollution (air, water, soil), conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. In addition, organic farming is better for birds and small animals as chemical pesticides can make it harder for creatures to reproduce and can even kill them. Farming without pesticides is also better for the people who harvest our food.
Organic food is a growing industry
The Australian organic food industry is booming. It is currently worth around $200–$250 million per year domestically and a further $50–$80 million per year in exports, with an expected annual growth of up to 60 per cent. In 2010, the retail value of the organic market was estimated to be at least id="mce_marker" billion.
Consumer demand for organic food is growing at a rate of 20–30 per cent per year, with retail sales increasing 670 per cent between 1990 and 2001–02. It is estimated that more than six out of every ten Australian households now buy organic foods on occasion.
What about BPA and phthalates? What we do know though is that neither polypropylene nor melamine contain two of the toxins that have raised concern in recent years: bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. That's a mouthful but doesn't sound like something you want to eat!
BPA, primarily found in a type of plastic called polycarbonate or PC (recycle code 7), is toxic to the body in large doses and can increase your risk of breast and prostate cancer and heart disease, among other diseases. When containers made with BPA are heated, BPA levels in food have been found to increase. Phthalates (such as the plasticiser diethylhexyl phthalate or DEHP) are primarily found in polyvinyl carbonate or PVC (recycle code 3) and have been found to cause problems with hormones and the reproductive system.
EATING PLASTIC : Although there are many different plastics, the two main types of plastic used in dinnerware are melamine resin and polypropylene.
Melamine resin is a tough plastic that can be found in children's dinner sets, many picnic sets and those noodle soup bowls you see on high rotation in food malls.
On its own, the compound melamine is toxic to human health. Ingested at high concentrations, it can damage the kidneys, as was the case in 2008 in China when six babies died and 50,000 others were hospitalised after being fed baby formula contaminated with melamine.
But what does research have to say about the risk of exposure from melamine resin bowls?
This revolution changed the lives and health of teenagers today. Starting in the 1940′s through 1970′s, crops for consumption could now be mass-produced through the use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) as well as bountiful amounts of pesticides.
Because of GMOs, several risks arise when one devours their long-awaited meal. New allergens, increased toxicity, decreased nutrition, and antibiotic resistance now come into consideration when consuming foods purchased from supermarkets (Bernstein et al., 2003). Previous generations of teenagers did not need to worry about such problems. They simply ate food.
This sure is a wake up call! An ingredient label for fruit and vegetables? Strawberries are listed as a fruit with one of the highest pesticide levels. Let’s just say that bugs love them too! It may cost relatively more to produce and therefore purchase organic, but in this case especially, it’s worth every extra cent knowing there is only one ingredient … “strawberry”.