Yet another study has shown that organic food is not more nutritious than “conventionally” grown food. The only thing that I’m surprised about is that this is big news. This should be common knowledge by now. I’ve blogged about it before. But perhaps it bears repeating. There are good reasons to buy organic foods; better nutrition is not one of them. If you want to protect the environment and reduce your exposure to pesticides then you should buy organic foods whenever possible. If you want to support your local economy and have fresher (and arguably more tasty) food then you should buy local organic foods. If you want to get more nutrients out of your food then you should eat more whole foods, regardless of whether or not they’re organic.
It’s been all over the news today that pesticide residue was found on organic produce. I can’t say that this surprised me. To be honest, I was surprised that everyone else seems so surprised. I was also surprised that the percentage of contaminated produce was so small, only 23.6%. There are many ways in which organic produce can become contaminated with pesticides. Pesticides get into the water and soil and can contaminate produce in this way. There can also be contamination from spraying on neighbouring non-organic crops. According to reports, the contamination of this particular produce occurred post-harvest during storage. I’m not sure how that’s acceptable, perhaps it’s only necessary to grow crops without using pesticides to use the organic designation? That’s beside the point though. We’ve pumped so many hazardous chemicals into the environment that it’s amazing that anything is left uncontaminated. Babies are born with pesticides in their systems. We store pesticides in our body fat. A little pesticide contamination shouldn’t deter you from buying organic if that’s your prerogative. There are still many benefits to organic produce. For one thing, the more organic food that’s grown the fewer pesticides being added to the water and soil, that means that in the long run we’ll be wreaking less havoc on the environment. You’re also avoiding GMOs by choosing organic. Even if some organic produce is contaminated by pesticides, you’re still lowering your risk of exposure in comparison to “conventionally” grown crops. Purchasing organic produce doesn’t absolve you from needing to wash your fresh fruit and veggies anyway. Produce has come into contact with so many other possible contaminants during its journey to the grocery store and its time on the shelf that you should always wash it before eating it.