- Approved Pesticides. There are 40+ pesticides on the “approved” list for organic farming. They do the same thing as all other pesticides with no guarantee they’re any safer.
- Half the “natural” chemicals used in organic farming are carcinogenic. Many of the approved chemicals can do just as much harm as some of the “dangerous” chemicals used often in conventional farming.
- Organic pesticides aren’t always as effective as synthetic, and often require up to 5 times more to achieve the same protection. Which is more dangerous – consuming a larger quantity of chemicals that have NOT been tested for safety, or consuming a lesser quantity of chemicals that have been tested for safety
- There are 35 non-synthetic, non-organic substances allowed as ingredients in “organic” products. One is carrageenan is an emulsifier, making ingredients creamy. It also causes inflammation.
- There are 43 synthetic, non-organic substances allowed as ingredients in “organic” products, like cellulose and ethylene. Cellulose is the fancy name for wood pulp. Synthetic ethylene is sprayed on fruits so that they look ripe at the supermarket.
- Over 45 non-organically produced ingredients allowed as ingredients in “organic” products. Included is soy lecithin, the leftover sludge waste from processing soybean oil. Cornstarch is also on the list, produced from corn, 88% of which is genetically modified.
- Only 95% of a food item is required to be organic in order to be labeled “organic.” Some of the items allowed to be in organic foodstuffs aren’t even food. For example, the synthetic chemicals used in disinfecting washes.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Organic Program (NOP) do not certify or inspect companies/foods for certification.. Neither the USDA or the NOP have specific responsibilities or hands in the day-to-day operations of the organic certification process. Instead, they are simply the managers overseeing that the organic certification is working … in the United States. Neither the USDA or the NOP have any control or authority over organic food from other countries.
- The company/brand seeking organic certification pays the accrediting company. The accrediting company not only offers the original certification, but they also offer the annual re-certification. While most companies are honest, this arrangement creates a potential conflict of interest. Fraudulent certifications and under-the-table payments for signatures and accreditation are easily obtained.
- Two of the three major organic certifying companies are for-profit. Only one organization is non-profit. Since the certifying companies are businesses seeking to obtain and maintain profit, it is very concerning that they’re being paid by the ones they certify.
- The actual certification to become organic, and follow-up inspections of companies certified organic, is usually outsourced to a third-party. Here’s an example of how far removed the farm can be from your fork:
- USDA/NOP certifies QAI (QAI pays USDA/NOP).
- QAI certifies XYZ as an organic tomato processing plant (XYZ pays QAI)
- QAI outsources the organic certification of the tomato farm to a third-party (the tomato farm pays the third-party, and the third-party pays USDA/NOP)
- The supermarket buys organic tomatoes from XYZ and has no clue where the tomatoes came from and XYZ may not know either.
Quality of the food:
- Organic foods may be cross-contaminated with conventional versions of the same food. For example; both organic and conventional avocados are grown in Mexico, likely in neighboring fields, and processed in the same facility. The risk of cross-contamination can occur at the farm itself, shipment to a plant, during processing, during packaging, during shipment and during the stocking of the shelves. The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention has a database of organic food items contaminated with their conventional counterpart. You can’t judge whether an avocado is organic or conventional by looks alone.
- Organic foods may be “watered down.” An almond grower may grow both organic and conventional almonds. At the processing plant, where the nuts are hulled, shelled and pasteurized, conventional almonds may be mixed with organic almonds – intentionally or unintentionally – in order to produce a higher yield of “organic” almonds. It is against NOP rules, but happens nonetheless. The NOP receives hundreds of complaints of fraud each year.
- Annual sales of organic food totals about $53 billion each year, yet there are only 37 employees in the NOP. The NOP is severely understaffed to handle day to day operations and complaints and disputes.. With only one staff member for every $1.7 billion in sales pa., the NOP is forced to be reactive, rather than proactive organization.
Do you buy organic food? Is it to avoid pesticides? Because it tastes better? Because it’s “healthier?” Hmmm. I talked with some old hippies at an organic farm the other day. They were watching the tiny shoots of the newly growing vegetables emerge from the earth. I asked them what they were watching. They replied: “This is the dawning of the age of asparagus, age of asparagus”
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