U.S. regulations require that organic food and beverage products, including fruits and vegetables, be grown according to strict standards that prohibit the use of genetically engineered seeds and growth hormones, sewage sludge, and irradiation. Organic farmers build healthy soil without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and annual audits of farms and processing facilities are required for all but the smallest farms. All organic food and beverage products sold in the United States, no matter where they were grown, must meet or exceed U.S. organic regulations.
Shoppers want organic fruits and vegetables: As the following statistics from the Organic Trade Association’s Manufacturer Survey show, sales of organic fruits and vegetables in the United States continue to grow, and have nearly doubled in the past five years.
Organic farming offers a difference: In the United States alone, more than one billion pounds of pesticides are released into the environment each year as a result of non-organic practices. For example, dieldrin, like many toxic and persistent pesticides, remains in the environment long after application. Although banned for use on agricultural crops in the U.S. in 1985, dieldrin residue can remain in the environment for generations. Extensive pesticide residue testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that conventionally produced fruits and vegetables are three to more than four times more likely on average to contain residues than organic produce, eight to 11 times more likely to contain multiple pesticide residues, and contain residues at levels three to ten times higher than corresponding residues in organic samples.
Research shows a difference in children who eat organic: “By substituting organic fresh fruits and vegetables for corresponding conventional food items, the median urinary metabolite concentrations were reduced to non-detected or close to non-detected levels for malathion and chlorpyrifos at the end of the 5-day organic diet intervention period in both summer and fall seasons. . . . The findings from this study demonstrate that dietary intake of OP pesticides represents the major source of exposure in young children.”
Source: Environmental Health Perspectives, “Dietary Intake and Its Contribution to Longitudinal Organophosphorus Pesticide Exposure in Urban/Suburban Children” Lu, Chensheng; Barr, Dane, Pearson, Melanie, and Waller, Lance. Doi:10.1289/ehp.10912 (available at http://dx.doi.org/), Online January 15, 2008.
Organic products are part of the solution to consumer’s concern for these environmental and public health issues. Each time a person chooses an organic product, it is one step toward a planet finally free of the detrimental effects of agricultural chemicals.