sometimes get asked if I eat only organic fruits and
vegetables. My honest answer? I buy what looks freshest and
what fits my budget. And that includes organic as well as
conventionally grown produce. If that sounds like heresy, hear
food is catching on in all segments of our food supply,
reported Laura Batcha, CEO of the Organic Trade Association
(OTA) at the recent Organic Produce Summit in Monterey, Calif.
And millenials — the generation born in the early 1980’s
to the early 2000’s — seem to be leading the charge. This
group chooses organic produce more than any other previous
generation, says Batcher.
an organic alternative is not available where you shop? Or the
price is higher than you want to spend? Don’t be afraid of
other choices, says Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the
Alliance for Food and Farming, a science-based non-profit
organization that represents organic and conventional food
producers (www.safefruitsandveggies.com.) "The one
consistent message that health experts agree upon and that is
confirmed with decades of nutrition research is that a diet
rich in fruits and veggies — whether conventional or organic
— leads to better health and a longer life."
value of eating more fruits and vegetables — organically
produced and otherwise — is undeniable. According to
research reported in the journal of Food and Chemical
Toxicology, if just half of our population would eat one extra
serving of a fruit or a vegetable every day, we could prevent
20,000 cases of cancer in this country every year. Wow.
that mean that organic food doesn’t matter? Not at all.
Organic food is very safe and increasingly more available. But
so is conventionally grown produce, say food toxicologists.
What really matters is that we eat more plant-based foods.
Winters from the Department of Food Science and Technology at
the University of California analyzed pesticide exposures in
food and reported his findings in a recent issue of the
International Journal of Food Contamination. He found very low
levels of pesticide residues in conventionally produced foods
as well as in organic foods (yes, some synthetic pesticides
are approved for use on organic crops). And he concluded that
our exposure to pesticides from either method of farming are
at levels far below what might be a health concern.
worried about pesticides on your food? Experts in food safety,
toxicology and nutrition say we can reduce and often eliminate
any existing residues by simply washing our fruits and
vegetables in clean water. (Some packaged products such as
salad mixes, are already washed; check the label.)
choose to eat is an individual decision. And one size does not
always fit all, say nutrition experts. One goal is to eat more
produce. Organic is great. So are fruits and vegetables grown
by conventional methods. Pick one or the other. But pick it!