Dirty Fifteen: Why We Should Avoid Non-Pesticides When Buying Organic Foods
There are a number of popular slogans around at the moment which all describe the advantages of organic produce and that is certainly true when we speak of no pesticides on our produce. However, I am certain that many of us do not understand exactly what an organic vegetable really is. The word ‘organic’ can be used in a number of different ways and can mean several things. For instance, the definition may actually be related to the following: The produce does not contain any synthetic substances or pesticides. Some other examples might be: The plants are cultivated without any synthetic substances such as herbicides or pesticides.
So, when we say that the farmer is not using pesticides, this simply means that the farmer is not applying any artificial substance. Organic farms are also not overcrowded with industrial-like machinery. Most farmers grow their own food and do so without the aid of modern pesticides. This means that the pesticides that are used do not cause harm to humans or to any animals that live nearby. Therefore, an organic farmer is not using these chemicals in any way.
On the other hand, the most common way of describing agriculture in this country is using chemicals in order to protect crops, animals and the environment from pests. As mentioned before, organic farmers are not sprayed with any harmful chemicals and pest control measures are frequently based on natural methods and practices. These practices include:
No spraying – In many cases, farmers will spray their crops with a commonly known insecticide or pesticide known as ‘cysts’. The main question is whether this is safe or not. The European Union says that there are no proven links between cysts and cancer. However, this does not mean that non-organic fruits and vegetables are automatically unsafe.
Use of non-organic pesticides – When an insect comes into contact with a particular type of pesticide, it will take that ingredient into its system. In essence, the insects become addicted to the poison. In most cases, non-organic pesticides come in the form of ‘hopium’, ‘lindostrome’ and ‘oil of rotten eggs’. These pesticides are more toxic than their organic counterparts, although they are less likely to affect humans.
Excessive use of pesticides – An increasing number of farms have been found to be spraying their crops with extremely high levels of pesticide residue. This has been shown to be especially problematic in low-income countries where families cannot afford to buy organic food. In some cases, low-income families were actually consuming contaminated food that could harm them. It was discovered that some farmers had been spraying their produce with pesticides even when it was not on their farms. Such practices are not only illegal in many countries, but they are also illegal in the United States.
The practice of using pesticides despite the risks is known as ‘Genetic engineering’ and it is proving to be a big problem. There is an increasing concern that this practice could be responsible for causing the sudden surge in honeybee colonies. Studies suggest that in areas that have been hit by genetic engineering, the insect populations are increasing at twice the normal rate. Many scientists believe that this increase in the insect population could be responsible for the recent spike in bee pollen allergies.
It is clear that it is better not to buy organic fruits and vegetables if you want to stay healthy. However, we can still do our part in trying to keep the environment safe from chemicals. Instead of eating dirty dozen, why not try eating fruits and vegetables grown organically? They are less likely to have harmful side effects than those grown using pesticides. As you begin to taste healthy foods, you will likely decide to include them more often.