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Organic Food – Facts Essay

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The word ‘Organic’ means ‘living’, and in practical terms, this means natural food that is grown and processed without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Nothing unnatural is allowed so there are no growth hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, dyes, chemical coatings or irradiation allowed. There is no genetic engineering allowed in organic foods. Organic food is nothing else but good pure nutritional food – the way it used to be. Toxic overload The food we eat affects our health.

Most conventionally produced food comes from production systems that rely on a cocktail of up to 350 different chemicals.

The World Health Organization has classified many of these substances as hazardous to our health. In studies, the short and long term effects on our health from these toxic chemicals ranges from short term conditions such as ADS (Attention Deficit Syndrome), allergies, digestion and reproductive disorders to long term illnesses such as cancers and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer. Our organic food however is different because by definition it is pure, wholesome and nutritious.

There are absolutely no toxins or otherwise artificial or synthetic chemicals, coatings or treatments that in any way affect quality of organic food. In harmony with Nature Organic and bio-dynamic farmers work with nature, promoting the diversity and sustainability of the environment and building upon a healthy eco-system. Organic agriculture preserves the overall quality of our lakes, rivers, estuaries, wetlands, ground and drinking water. Organic farming relies on renewable resources, using 70% less and producing much less pollution than conventional farming.

Preserving the soil is a key factor. They practice methods such as ‘intercropping’ where crops are mixed, rather than grown in large fields, minimizing the impact of agriculture on the environment. Humane treatment to animals Our organic livestock is raised in an ethical and humane manner, which puts emphasis on the health and treatment of the animals. Fresh air and space to move around and access to the outdoors ensure a healthy and stress-free animal. They are fed only organically grown feed and are reared without the unnecessary use of anti-biotics, growth promoters or hormones.

Organic animals are never fed unnatural food such as animal scraps which is the practice that lead to the livestock neural disease ‘BSE’ and its related ‘kreuzfeld Jacobs’ disease in humans. Bio-diversity Organic farmers plant many more species of fruit and have brought back many heirloom varieties from the brink of extinction. These old varieties are often tastier and juicier but not suited to large scale industrial farming. In Britain,organic farmers grow 100 different varieties of potatoes alone!

This bio-diversity gives us the joy and experience of eating new and different fruits and vegetables. GM-free Genetic engineering is not permitted in organic food and an organic farmer loses his organic certification if his crop is not 100io gm-free. Genetically engineered agricultural products have an unknown impact on the safety and health of the consumer and environment. ‘Organic Foods and Cafe’ does not sell genetically modified food. For further information please read our GM leaflet. The benefits of going Organic Trusting our food.

Organic labeling tells you all the ingredients – there are no hidden ingredients that there can legally be in conventional foods as in conventional foods, the ingredients of each individual ingredient do not have to be listed. You know you can trust organic food because of the organic certification which has strictly enforced criteria – look for the organic symbol. Optimum Health In terms of health, prevention is better than cure. It is essential not to overload our bodies with toxins, which damage our immune systems. Organic farmers avoid using unnecessary and harmful chemicals, additives and drugs.

Many of these substances have been classified by the W. H. O. as poisonous to your health and the environment. In addition, organic food retains essential nutrients, such as iron and salicylic acid, which are stripped away in conventional food processing. Value for money You get what you pay for – this is very valid for organic food. Organic food really has more nutrients, vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorous than conventionally produced food. This is because in organic farming, great emphasis is on nourishing the soil which in turn gives healthy plants.

Healthy plants give produce that is packed full of all the vitamins and minerals which give flavour and goodness to our food. The time allowed for the crops to grow by not using chemical fertilizers is the final key elements making it possible for organic crops to have much higher nutrition levels. Authentic Taste Organic produce and meats retain a pure, fresh flavour the way nature intended. In studies, organic produce was proven to have more intense flavour molecules, a direct result of a healthy, dynamic soil. In organic food, flavour is not contaminated or masked by residues, preservatives or waxes.

Nor is it enhanced to many times the flavour that is actually present which is common practice to achieve a full flavour where very little is actually there in conventional food. Protecting our future generations We all want the best for our children, and we have selected organic food that provides them with the goodness and nutrition that their growing bodies need to develop optimal mental, emotional and physical performance. It is imperative that they are protected from the detrimental effects of health-damaging toxins found in conventional foods.

Today’s children have unacceptably high levels of asthma, eczemas and syndromes such as Attention Deficit Syndrome. Many of these can be linked to unhealthy additives in children’s foods and by eating organic foods we can prevent and alleviate these problems. Supporting Small Farms Organic farms are usually small, family run operations that take seriously the health of the environment and their stewardship of the land they work. They use techniques which limit agricultures impact on the soil, on streams and ground water, bird and wild life and on human health.

We have picked selected family run organic certified farms where quality and freshness can be assured. Why does Organic food cost more? The truth is that we have become too used to paying very little for our food and what we put in our mouths has become nothing more than a business commodity. In order to produce high quality organic food, every step of production is more labour-intensive, time-consuming and frankly, not as profitable. Organic food takes longer to grow, as there are no growth hormones and chemical fertilizers used.

Due to a lack of fumigants and wax coatings, organic food is often more perishable, there more is lost in transit between the farmer and the consumer. Most farms are small family run operations that do not benefit from government subsidies. The truth is that we are getting what we are paying for: a good quality product that is nutritious, delicious and safe for us to eat and not the cheapest product that is possible to produce. Organic Produce 1. Organic produce has an average of 50% more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other micro-nutrients than their intensively farmed counterparts.

2. Organic produce is not covered in a cocktail of poisonous chemicals. The average conventionally grown apple has 20 – 30 artificial chemicals on its skin even after washing. 3. Organic produce is usually picked when it is ripe, unlike conventional food, which to allow for extra processing and commercial ease, is picked unripe and before it is fully developed. What is the Difference? Conventional Vs Natural / Organic Food (As per USDA rules) No| Ingredient / Processing| Conventional Food| Natural / Organic Food| 1| Artificial Flavours| May be used| No|.

2| Artificial Colours| May be used| No| 3| Artificial Preservatives| May be used| No| 4| Artificial Fertilizers| May be used| May be used| 5| Synthetic Pesticides| May be used| May be used| 6| Irradiation| May be used| May be used| 7| Genetically Engineered | May be used| May be used| What are genetically Engineered/ Modified Food? Genetically-modified food is produced from plants and animals which have had their genes changed in the laboratory by scientists. All living organisms have genes written in their DNA. They are the chemical instructions for life and all the organism’s functions.

By modifying the genes, the scientists can change the characteristics of an organism. Most often, these modifications to our food are for economic reasons. To create GM crops, genes from bacteria, viruses, plants, animals and even humans have been inserted into plants such as soybeans, corn, canola and cotton. For example scientists wanted to increase the frost tolerance of strawberries so they inserted the “anti-freeze” gene of a cold water fish into the DNA of the strawberry, in effect producing fishberries, a life form that would never occur in nature. Why is it Different from Traditional Crossbreeding?

For thousands of years farmers have engaged in what termed as traditional breeding, favoring seeds from plants with favorable characteristics and creating new plant types from cross-breeding closely-related species. Genetic engineering is more specific. It gives scientists the ability to select a single gene for a single characteristic and transfer that stretch of DNA from one organism to another. For example, a tomato variety was developed by Calgene to switch off the gene which triggers it to produce a chemical that makes the fruit go soft and then rot. What are the Dangers?

Genetic engineering is experimenting with very delicate, yet powerful forces of nature without full knowledge of the repercussions. Yet, once it is introduced into the food system there is no way of getting it out of it as insects, birds, and wind can carry genetically altered seeds into neighboring fields and beyond. All crops are vulnerable to contamination from cross-pollination from transgenic plants. Health Concerns Manufacturers of genetically altered foods are exposing humanity to one of the largest uncontrolled experiments in history. We are all guinea pigs in this genetic experiment with our food.

Some possible risks: No long term safety testing Genetic engineering uses material from organisms that have never been part of the human food supply to change the nature of the food we eat. Without long term testing and controlled scientific research no one knows if these foods are safe. We really do not know the long term and latent affect these. foods will have on our health. Allergic Reactions By inserting foreign DNA into common foods, without adequate safety testing, genetic engineering can also produce unforeseen and unknown allergens in food.

Given that genes can be introduced from unrelated species the possibilities of allergies are greater than with traditionally bred crops. Toxins Familiar foods could become metabolically dangerous or even toxic. Genetic engineering could upset complex biochemical networks and create new bioactive compounds or change the concentrations of those normally present. These unexpected mutations can create new or higher levels of toxins making them poisonous to human health. Antibiotic Resistance Another potential hazard to human health is the possibility that bacteria in our guts could pick up antibiotic resistant genes found in GM foods.

These genes are inserted into GM plants as “markers” to tell scientists which plants have taken up the exotic genes. If this transfer happens it could exacerbate the already worrisome spread of ‘superbug’ bacteria that have proven to withstand our antibiotics. Decreased Nutritional Value Genetically altered foods may mislead consumers with counterfeit freshness. A luscious looking, bright red GM tomato could be several weeks old and of little nutritional value even though it looks as though it was picked off the vine hours before. Environmental Risks We are opening a Pandora’s box with GM technology.

Raising GM crops is an uncontrolled experiment with unknown consequences for surrounding eco-systems. Biological Pollution Unlike chemicals that are released into the environment, genetically engineered organisms are living things that will reproduce and spread uncontrollably and at will, with little possibility of containment or clean up. These are not natural organisms, but have been made in a lab and will destroy or at best upset the fragile ecological balance Super Weeds GM crops can cross-pollinate with related weeds, resulting in super weeds that are impossible to control.

These weeds are immune to a broad spectrum weed killer after crossing with and assuming the herbicide- resistant gene from the GM plant. This will not only increase the use of topical herbicides but will stimulate demand for stronger, more toxic herbicides. Super Bugs Insects could become resistant to the pesticides engineered into GM crops. This would mean developing new, stronger, more toxic chemical pesticides to fight these pesticide tolerant super bugs. Toxicity to Wildlife Insects and birds will be the first in the animal food chain to be affected by GM crops.

They will be exposed to a range of genetically engineered chemicals, drugs, enzymes and hundreds of other foreign substances for the first time, and there is no telling how they will be affected in the short or long term. These substances will then be passed up through the food chain to affect all the wild life in a given eco-system. Humans in turn will get affected, but as so often, by the time we realize what has happened, it may be too late. DDT was hailed as the solution to all pests and it was not till years later that we realized that it was cancer causing and destroying a lot more than just the bugs we were targeting.

Loss of Biodiversity In the world of genetic engineering we would not need hundreds of different varieties of a crop because all the properties and features can be in a single plant. For example you would not need one species of corn for hot climates and another for cold or one that is drought resistant and another to withstand flooding. All of these unique features can be in a single plant. In the end many species would become extinct. It may only be years after they are extinct that we realize that we have destroyed some features we may still need.

Ethical Questions Fiddling with the genetic make-up of plants and animals is unnatural. Nature takes millions of years to effect genetic change, so do we have the right to make changes overnight and substitute human for natural selection? Do we have the right to play God, to restructure irreversibly the genetic blueprints of the Earth’s plants and animals? Are we playing Creator? Fixing Perfection Are we trying to fix something which isn’t broken? Are we trying to change the course of nature for a good enough purpose?

Manipulating the very building blocks of life in order to extend shelf life, is that a good reason? Religious Concerns Genetic engineering offends deeply held beliefs of a number of different faiths. A Hindu vegetarian may not wish to eat a vegetable bearing an animal gene and likewise, a Muslim may not think it right to eat a tomatoe carrying the gene of a pig. Genetic manipulation hits at the very core of our belief systems and deprives us of the comfort and the assurance that the food we eat complies with our dietary obligations. Are these beliefs going to be secondary to the potential profits of large ago-business?

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