10 Reasons Why Organic Food is Safer for You and Your Community
10 Reasons Why Organic Food is Safer for You and Your Community by Jack Kittredge
#1. Healthy Soil and Water Organic standards require a program of soil building, which protects against soil erosion and water pollution. A healthy soil promotes vigorous soil life that, in turn, breaks down minerals and makes a complex meal of nutrients available to growing plants. Synthetic fertilizers deliver the three primary nutrients needed for plant growth, but leave out the diverse micronutrients that lead to plant vigor and health.
#2. No Genetic Engineering Organic standards prohibit use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for seed or stock. The US government has allowed, even encouraged, the development and release of many GMOs into our environment and food system. Until compulsory GMO labeling is adopted in this country, buying certified organic is your best guarantee of no genetic engineering in your food.
#3. No Growth Hormones Organic standards prohibit the use of growth hormones. US government regulations permit hormone use in conventional livestock operations to increase the size or rate of gain of animals raised for meat, or to stimulate production of animal products like milk.
#4. No Sludge Organic standards prohibit the use of sewage sludge as a fertilizer, instead relying on use of composted manure, crop residues, green manures, cover crops, and rock powders to provide needed nutrients to plants. US government regulations permit sludge to be used on conventional farms despite concerns about contamination by high levels of heavy minerals, dioxins and other chemicals from industrial and commercial sources.
#5. Open Space Organic standards prohibit confinement or feedlot style livestock operations. Organically raised animals generally must be allowed access to range or pasture. This promotes animal health and contributes as well to maintaining large areas of open land in otherwise developing communities.
#6. No Antibiotics Organic standards prohibit routine use of antibiotics in livestock operations. US government regulations permit conventional animals to be routinely fed subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease from their overcrowded conditions. Antibiotics may only be administered to an organic animal when the animal is sick and needs treatment. Such animals may then no longer be marketed as organic.
#7. No Irradiation Organic standards prohibit the use of ionizing radiation to preserve food. US government regulations allow irradiation of both produce and meat. Irradiation proponents argue that it extends shelf life and kills microbes, which may spoil food and cause human illness. Opponents argue that it also kills the enzymes, vitamins, and healthfulness of food. They suggest cleaning up the feedlots and industrial food processing operations as an alternative way of protecting the public from disease.
#8. No Pesticides Organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, exposure to which has been linked with a number of serious human diseases. US government regulations allow such pesticides, although setting limits for application rates in the field and residue levels on food.
#9. Humane Conditions Organic standards require that animals be treated humanely. This is spelled out in specific detail in the form of housing requirements for space, ventilation, and manure accumulation, as well as access to appropriate pasture or range, health care, food and water, treatment of the young, etc. The organic approach is based on the belief that agriculture must produce thriving plant and animal products to ensure a healthy cycle of life.
#10. No Animal Cannibalism Organic standards require that animals be fed appropriately and prohibit practices such as feeding animal products from rendering plants. US government regulations allow rendered animal products to be fed to cattle, sheep and other herbivores as a protein supplement. This practice has been associated with outbreaks of "Mad Cow Disease".
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