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8 Eye-Opening Facts About Eating Organic Food

Published: 19 Feb 2014



As organic foods make their way into more and more supermarkets around the country, the option to choose between organic and conventionally farmed products is increasingly at your fingertips.  
 
How do you make the decision?  
 
Get your facts straight before you fill your cart with misinformation. 
 
Organic farming never uses pesticides: False  
 
Many organic farmers do try to avoid using pesticides, and most organic foods have lower total pesticide residues, but the fact is, organic farmers use many methods of controlling pests, including pesticides. Part of what defines "organic" is not the absence of pesticides, but the particular pesticides used. Only certain compounds are approved for use as pesticides on organic farms. This includes ingredients derived from natural sources, or synthetic ones that adhere to a list of regulations not required for conventional agriculture-for example, potassium silicate sourced from naturally occurring sand, and copper sulfate, provided that copper accumulation in the soil is minimized. Here's the rub: Organic pesticides may be just as bad for you and for other animals as their synthetic counterparts (and in the case of copper sulfate, even worse). Therefore, it's important to wash your produce even if it's organically grown. 
 
Organic food spoils faster: True(ish)  
 
Organic foods do not have preservatives added and they are not irradiated, two methods used to stop the mold, bacteria and yeast that break down food and cause it to spoil. Irradiation uses energy-much like a microwave-to kill microorganisms, including dangerous ones that cause food-borne illness. Preservatives are chemicals that extend shelf life. By opting out of both methods, organic foods have less defense against the critters that cause spoiling, but no study has been conducted to quantify just how much faster organic food spoils. Interestingly, organic milk often has a longer shelf life than regular milk, though that is not inherent to its organic-ness. Most organic milk undergoes ultrapasteurization, where the milk is heated to a higher temperature than the usual pasteurization process. Normal pasteurization kills potentially dangerous bacteria in milk; ultrapasteurization kills everything. Organic companies probably ultrapasteurize to compensate for the fact that their cows don't get antibiotics, but not all dairies do it. 
 
Organic foods have more salmonella and E. coli : False  
 
So, if organic foods don't use irradiation to kill bacteria and other microorganisms, does that mean they're less safe? No, it doesn't. When scientists put organic and conventional foods under the microscope, they found no statistical difference between them when it came to E. coli. And thankfully, whether organic or not, our food is screened for pathogens by the USDA and the FDA. Yes, there's still risk, as recent recalls ofSalmonella-tainted chicken and Glass Onion Catering's E. coli-contaminated salad have shown, but you don't need to worry about organic foods any more than you do about conventional ones. 
 
Organic food tastes better: False  
 
Though many people will tell you organic food tastes better, when organic and conventional foods go head-to-head in taste tests, we can't tell the difference. So why do so many people swear they can tell them apart? Sometimes, it could be a matter of timing. Organic foods that are sourced locally are likely to be fresher than conventionally grown varieties that have traveled farther. But perhaps our belief in the tastiness of non-conventional food is psychological: A December 2013 study gave volunteers two identical cups of coffee to try-one was presented as a plain ol' cuppa joe, and one was labeled "eco-friendly." The tasters claimed they preferred the taste of the "eco-friendly" one. 
 
Courtesy of Yahoo: http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/8-eye-opening-facts-eating-organic-food-163400441.html

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