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Friday, March 22, 2013

Organic vs. Conventional Produce

It's a big question. Should we be eating all organic food all the time? Are we crazy not to? Or are we just wasting our money?
Maybe the first question is what does "organic" mean? In Canada, organic foods are those that are grown, raised and harvested without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, GMO's (genetically modified organisms) antibiotic and growth hormones. All foods in Canada that are labelled "organic" must follow the Canadian Organics Standards Act . Conventional or non-organic foods may be farmed using some of the same techniques as organic farms, however they may also use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
There have been studies done to test whether or not organic foods are more nutrients rich with Vitamin A, & C, calcium and iron. There is no evidence to show that they are. Some people believe that organic produce tastes better than conventional produce. Whether or not you choose to eat organic or conventionally farmed products, here's a great video showing you how to make sure you clean your produce properly before eating.
There's the dirty dozen to look out for, if you are only buying certain veggies or fruits that organic, these are the ones to choose.

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Imported Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

So now that we have or veggies and fruit figured out, what about meat and dairy products? The things you need to worry about in meat and dairy products is hormones and antibiotics. Both of these are used in Canadian meat and dairy production to help keep animals healthy and to help them grow. In Canada growth hormones are only given to meat cows, not to dairy cows, or in chicken and pork production. Antibiotics are more widely used in poultry, pork and fish raised for food. They are also sprayed on fruit and on honey bees. Keep in mind that when a cow or chicken is treated with antibiotics their milk and eggs are thrown out for the duration of the treatment. Because Turkeys are such hardy birds they rarely need to be treated with antibiotics.
Whether or not you eat all organic, non or somewhere in between we know it's better for the environment to eat foods produced closer to home, it's saves using those damn fossil fuels. Eating locally produced foods means you are supporting your local community, who doesn't want to do that? Whatever your choices, bon appetit!

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