Most people are aware of the “dirty dozen”, certain foods that, for one reason or another, are much healthier if they are organic. With more consumers becoming aware of the health risks involved in foods that carry pesticide or herbicide residues or have been genetically modified, the appetite for organic food is growing. While it is not possible more most people to go all organic, below are five foods that care a significantly higher risk if they are conventionally raised.
Conventionally raised apples are grown with heavy use of pesticides to keep insects away from the fruit, and because apples are a fruit which are traditionally consumed with the skin on, exposure to residues from these chemicals is a distinct possibility. Also, there is a movement afoot to grown conventional apples in a lab rather than an orchard and one company, Arctic Apples, is planning on selling in this country sometime this year. These are two good reasons why organic apples are a safer bet.
Although Hawaii moved to legislatively ban the raising of GMO’s this year, it wrote an exception to this law for papayas. According to a report from the Non-GMO project, most papayas from Hawaii have been genetically modified, and it is possible that even those that are labeled “organic” have been inadvertently contaminated due to cross-pollination. For now, avoiding Hawaiian papaya is best.
The Environmental Working Group has recently reported the disturbing finding that many conventionally raised squashes – including the popular zucchini and crookneck squash – have tested positive for residues from certain pesticides from that had been outlawed from as far back as the 1970’s and 1980’s. Also, squash has been labeled as a “high risk” crop for GMO’s, meaning that much of the nearly 25,000 acres now under cultivation in this country have likely been genetically modified.
Although many vegetarians and vegans rely on soy as a source of plant-based protein, there is reason for caution. It is estimated that a stunning 93% of soy grown in this country has been genetically altered and that it has one of the highest percentages of contamination by pesticides of any food source. These are two good reasons to make sure this product is organic before purchase or else avoid it altogether.
The reason to be careful with this beloved summer food is that back in 2011, Monsanto announced plans to grow genetically altered corn on around a quarter of a million acres, which would account for nearly 40% of the current corn market. Chances are, then, that most of the corn available in mainstream groceries today is Monsanto-bred and therefore suspect.
Organic food is more expensive, and the majority of Americans cannot afford to eat an exclusively organic diet. However, being selective and prioritizing what organic products are really important can be easier on the budget and healthier for the body.
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