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Mounting Evidence that Organic Food is Healthier

SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2005

The case for organic produce < OPN57031905.htm Daytona Beach News-Journal - Daytona,FL,USA By DORRIE L. KANOFSKY Community Voices

Last update: March 19, 2005

I was delighted to learn in a business page article earlier this month about the purchase club for organically grown produce in DeLand which, although not a new concept, is novel to our area.

Being a health advocate/consultant, having been the owner/director of a hearing health care practice for many years, having had staff positions at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and the University of Pennsylvania, I am also, in part, an organic produce consumer.

I enjoyed the article but was a bit dismayed since DeLand is a stretch from my East Volusia home for transit by cycling. But I was even more concerned with the following statement: "Though there are no studies proving that organic food is healthier than conventionally grown foods, converts believe benefits are accrued over entire lifetimes. . ."

Perhaps the author was just uninformed.

I have noticed throughout my history as a professional in health care that there is a faction in our society that preys on the public by hiding facts. The following research/documentation is an attempt to discount the negative myths about organic foods that have been spread, intentionally or not, by the Hudson Institute's Dennis Avery and ABC's 20/20 and John Stossel, to name a few.

Evidence of organic food's superiority is confirmed by Consumer Reports, the Soil Association, the Rodale Institute, Pesticide Action Network, research at Johns Hopkins and Washington State University, to list a few.

If challenged to prove that organic food is safer, I can present evidence by the Pesticide Action Network, U.K., that it is safer for children and babies to eat organic foods because "Latest pesticide residue results from the European Commission suggest that residue safety breaches are getting worse." Those breaches are even worse in our country.

In 1997 the Consumer's Union tested conventional foods and their organic counterparts and found that "Organic fruits and vegetables have fewer pesticide residues than non-organic produce, they have lower levels of pesticides, and they have less overall pesticide toxicity than fruits and vegetables grown with chemicals."

If challenged to prove that organic food is more nutritious, I assert such studies such as "Nutritional Quality of Organic Versus Conventional Fruits, Vegetables and Grains" by Virginia Worthington, doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins University. Her research found that "Organic crops contained significantly more vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus and significantly less nitrates than conventional crops."

If challenged to prove that organic food tastes better, I cite a recent Washington State University study in which a panel of tasters rated organic apples to be tastier and sweeter than conventional apples.

Organic food is even better economically for growers. The Rodale Institute's 15-year Farming Systems Trial showed that organic growing methods produce at least the same yields and better withstand drought, thus producing better yields in years of low rainfall compared to conventional growing methods.

Not only does organic food contain more trace minerals and other valuable nutrients, but of course it is not laced with pesticide and drug residues, nor is it genetically engineered. It is not riddled with e. Coli 0157, salmonella, listeria or any other filth or pathogens which are routinely found in factory farm meat and animal products, even those with high standards.

Health and safety considerations are the major reasons why 10 million consumers are buying organic food.

The cost, why yes, that is a consideration. Sometimes I buy local conventionally grown produce, which is still quite fresh and delicious. In some areas of our country where the demand and supply is quite high, the organic produce costs no more than we pay for conventionally grown produce in the Ormond Beach/Daytona Beach area.

Perhaps if the demand locally for organic produce were higher, the costs would allow many to enjoy its benefits both in taste and health.

Kanofsky, M.M.Sc., lives in Ormond by the Sea