“Provision as much pure and organic food as you can, and let the rest go by.” –Laurie Colwin
Organic and Chemical-Free seem like they would be synonymous terms, but this isn’t always the case. In truth, labels can be really misleading, and sometimes we forget to look past the organic certification. It is best to choose foods and products that are both organic and chemical-free. Let’s find out why.
You may associate the term “organic” with things that are pure and clean. However, the organic label doesn’t guarantee that a product is free of chemicals or pesticides. Organic farmers are allowed to use a variety of sprays and powders to keep pests away from their produce (Scientific American, 2011). They are just limited to pesticides and herbicides that come from natural sources (not manmade, or synthetic).
Is it safe to assume that natural pesticides are healthier than synthetic ones? Not necessarily. Many natural pesticides are toxic and pose serious health risks, especially with repeated exposure. Some of these chemicals are actually listed as being potentially carcinogenic.
In fact, the United States permits numerous chemicals that are banned in other countries because they are considered unsafe. Rotenone was used for decades as a standard organic pesticide. Sourced from subtropical plants, it is all-natural. In 2005 it was ultimately banned after being linked to Parkinson’s Disease. Meanwhile, many equally-dangerous chemicals are still allowed.
A bit more troubling is the standard in order to earn the USDA Organic Certification. There is a list of nearly 200 non-organic substances which are still permitted under the USDA Organic Certification. Additionally, the label only requires that 95% of the ingredients are organic. However, that other 5% can be sprayed with non-organic chemicals (Washington Post, 2014).
Organic farming is a big step in the right direction, but you can see that it isn’t always enough. While there are organic farmers and brands who are committed to avoiding toxins, it probably isn’t safe to assume based on the certification alone.
You’ll need to look more closely at labels and ingredients to ensure the products you choose are not only organic but also free of chemicals and safe for your health. It is really important to stay mindful of the products you purchase and the foods you consume. Do your research to discover which organic brands you can actually trust.
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What To Remember:
It is important to know what the Organic Certification does and doesn’t mean.
The USDA Organic Certification allows many potentially-dangerous chemicals to be used.
Seek foods and products that are both organic and chemical-free.
- Haspel, Tamar. (May, 2018) The truth about organic produce and pesticides. WashingtonPost.com
- Valeriano, Laurie. (March, 2017). Hidden Chemicals In Food. ToxicFreeFuture.org.
- 7 Simple Ways to Detox Your Diet and Your Home. EatingWell.com
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