The current USDA term “Organic” states:
Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used. Consumer Information.
Since the 1950’s, the use of chemical pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and steroids in the production of our food supply has increased at an astounding rate. There are literally thousands of chemicals being used to grow, store, process, preserve, flavor and package our food, and yet again “protect” our food from pests.
What have been the long-term effects of all these chemicals that we ingest daily? The statistics are becoming recognized. In this country, the incidence of leukemia, lymphoma, sarcoma, myeloma, cancer of the brain and nervous system, severe birth defects, hyperactivity in children, allergies, and a host of other disorders has increased at an equally astounding rate despite the modern medical era in which we live. Have we been secretly poisoned for the sake of “pest control” and “production”? Unfortunately, most often, symptoms are not an immediate cause and effect, but appear consistently after repeated exposure even in low levels; repeated exposure most people have no idea they are subjected to.
The “safe pesticide residue standards” in this country were set up in the 1960’s and have had no significant updates since then. The theoretical legal pesticide residue limits are based on a 125-pound adult and assume that person is only exposed to one pesticide—and never more than one, simultaneously. More than 100 different chemicals can be used on tomatoes alone. Seventy-five different chemicals are commonly used on cucumbers. Fifty to sixty different pesticides are commonly used on carrots. These “standards” appear to be seriously inadequate. The statistics are evidence that we are jeopardizing our health and we don’t even know it. How many are willing to look at what they are eating and make a change?
In late December of 2000 the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced final adoption of the first standards the federal government has ever imposed for the labeling and processing of organic foods. The new standards ban the use of irradiation, biotechnology and sewage-sludge fertilizer for any food product labeled organic. When the department introduced proposed regulation in 1997, all three of these methods were permitted. After nearly 300,000 people wrote letters of protest opposing their inclusion, the department withdrew that proposal and started again.
Also banned is the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in organic food crops, as well as the use of antibiotics in all meat labeled organic. Do not confuse Certified Organic with “Pesticide-free”. “Pesticide-free” can signify only that upon a random inspection of the food, no pesticide residues were detected (they were washed well.) However, since most pesticides applied to crops cannot be detected by routine methods and since there is the possibility that the food will be contaminated further on down the line (before reaching the grocery store shelves,) “pesticide –free” does not guarantee that the food is truly without pesticides. The Certified Organic testing process is performed routinely on soil samples and must test clean for three years to receive Certified Organic status.
Conventional methods of producing food not only kills the pests that may feed on the plants but all the organisms that live in the soil and nourish the soil, thus the food as well. The result is a product that has little flavor and is void of much of its nutritional value intended.
We believe that the closer you are to your food supply the better. Our rule of thumb is… Know your farmers, visit their farms! If they have something to hide, you don’t want to eat the food they produce.