It is believed that the most noteworthy of choices we can make based on enhancement of our own health and environmental health is the consumption of organic food. Organic food or otherwise you bet that a number of individuals would prefer organic food to the conventionally produced one. This is so because of a number of discoveries made crediting organic food to be better. For instance, a major European Union study concluded in 2007 found out that organic foods were 40% more rich in antioxidants than their conventional equivalents with a similar percentage for organic milk going as high as 60%.
Earlier, in 2001, Washington State University researchers had established that organic apples were sweeter and firmer as compared to their conventional equivalents. Other separate studies elsewhere have since established that generally, organic fruits and vegetables contain higher nutrient levels. Regardless of who is conducting the study or where and when the study is conducted, the bottom line remains that organic food is of superior quality than their conventional equivalents and this explains why they are expensive besides their high demand. This paper seeks to investigate the benefits of organic food on children.
Introduction Organic farming has been embraced recently especially by developed 1st and 2nd world countries. Organic food is that kind of food obtained in their very natural environment without contamination of any kind i. e. if it is plants they are produced without the conventional use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides etc. These artificial substances are avoided as a way of maintaining the natural composition of plant cells. It should be noted that if these substances are used they are incorporated into the plant tissues and cells thus causing contamination.
If any fertilizer has to be used then it has to be from livestock and poultry which in turn have never been fed on artificial substances such as antibiotics, growth hormones etc. The food generated by this kind of farming is termed as organic food. It should be noted that organic produce may not necessarily be genetically modified. With the increased embrace of this kind of farming, some countries have moved to make sure that the farmers are certified in order to produce and market their produce as organic.
Such countries include US, Canada, EU, Japan and many more. Historically the practice of organic farming was limited to a private family affair making organic food scarce and available only in farmer’s markets and small stores. Nevertheless, since the 90’s the demand for organic food has appreciably grown forcing the production of the food also to grow averagely at the rate of 20% pa. The growth proceeded right into the 21st century and as of April 2008 the organic food had claimed almost 2% of the total world food sales.
At the moment it is projected that the growth rate may supersede the historical 20% pa to stand at 40-50% pa based on the country (Davis & Winter, 2006). The best processed organic food is the one that contains almost 100% natural ingredients. However if the non organic ingredients happen to be present, then their percentages must be very minimal and allow the animal and plant ingredients command more than 95% in Canada, US and Australia. How do you ascertain the percentage printed on the packages of these organic foods?
Initially, people eating organic food insisted on knowing the organic farmer and visiting that farmer so as to trust the food produced. However with the growth of the organic food production industry, food production is not easily ascertainable and labeling of products as organic is easily trusted. The responsibility of ascertaining and ensuring that the food labeled as organic is indeed organic and it is produced as per the dictates of organic farming and processing regulations set out in the given country has been left to the government and other third party inspectors.
The government legislation and the role of the third party inspectors have been relied on for assurance (Government of Canada, 2006). In Canada for instance, the organic food production is highly regulated and the government regulations governing organic food (farming and processing) need to be followed to the letter. There are no genetic modification, no food additives and there are no artificial processing methods such as chemical ripening and food irradiation.
If organic food is being imported to Canada, then it has to come with an attestation from the source country. All these regulations are maintained and implemented basically on consumer protection grounds. Some food producers are likely to falsify information such as to reap high profit margins associated with organic food. The high profit margins in organic food is due to the 10 to 40% extra cost on organic food as compared to the food that is conventionally produced. Benefits of Organic Food on Children
Based on the method of production of organic food, they are the best and safe for consumption especially for children whose body systems are more sensitive than the adults’. It is common knowledge that the choice of nutrition and food plays a major role in either triggering or preventing conditions such as obesity, asthma and diabetes. It has been established that healthy foods such as organic foods help prevent the onset of conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, hearty diseases and even cancer. Therefore, organic foods are quite beneficial to mankind especially to children (Finnamore, 2008).
Since there are no artificial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides used in the production of organic food, then it means that the food lacks the residue levels of pesticides and herbicides witnessed in the conventionally produced food. Such residue herbicides and pesticides have been known to trigger cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Children are more susceptible to toxins such as the residual pesticides because of a combination of factors such as immature and developing organs and brains thus reduced detoxification and immune system.
Therefore, feeding children on the conventionally produced food which has residual pesticide levels far above the recommended safety levels exposes them to the pesticides and herbicides which may cause cancer, cardiovascular diseases and nervous system defects. Feeding children on organic food protects them from the toxic pesticides guarantying their health as they develop. The hyperactivity in children has been blamed on the residual pesticides and herbicides in the conventionally produced foods. Therefore if children are fed on organic food, hyperactivity in school going children is likely to be reduced.
Conventionally produced food has some food additives such as sweeteners, preservatives flavorings colorings hydrogenated fat, and phosphoric acid added during processing. These substances may pose toxic threat to the child’s immature brain and organs hence having adverse effects on the children. Such additives are prohibited in organic food production and this protects children from possible toxic effects of the food additives the additives. According, to doctors, the least the artificial additives and sweeteners in children’s’ food, the better.