Organic. Just how important is it? Well it depends. It’s no secret that our produce is sprayed with toxic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and more chemicals that I can’t pronounce let alone spell. Organic produce, less so. There are certain regulations that farmers must adhere to in order to become certified as organic. They use natural fertilizers that benefit the environment as well as the fruit/vegetables. When it comes to packaged foods, organic plays a big part as well. People want to know that the items they are eating are free of harmful chemicals, GMOs, and other toxins.
So who decides whether something is organic? The USDA for one and other 3rd party certifiers. Not surprisingly, the USDA is more lenient then some of the other agencies out there (i.e. QAI). The USDA has a list of 30+ chemicals that they allow be used in organic products. These are NON-organic chemicals! They are also very easily swayed by corporations with deep pockets as we have discussed in previous posts.
What can we do to protect ourselves against these toxins? Buy organic! Of course I would love to buy all organic, but frankly I can’t afford it! So I buy the dirty dozen (see below) as organic and not the clean fifteen (see below). I try to buy the veggies that I am going to juice as organic (to avoid direct absorption of chemicals). Certain things that have been known to be genetically modified I will buy organic (tofu, corn, soy). When it comes to organic certifiers, I personally don’t even consider what is labeled as USDA Organic as organic. I don’t trust them and prefer an organic seal from another company.
Dirty Dozen: think anything with a soft shell that you may eat as well
**This has been updated for the new 2012 list from ewg.org
- Sweet Peppers
and perhaps Kale/Collard Greens
Clean Fifteen: Anything that you peel to eat
- Sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
You can get the 2011 shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce here.
Again, I encourage you to do your own research as well.