Organic food: to buy or not to buy?

Photography: Bec Hudson

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Last week the Environmental Working Group published it’s annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean Fifteen lists’…

These lists are very handy reference guides for the foods you should always try to buy organic, because they carry the highest amount of pesticides, and the foods you can be less precious about, because hey, organic food is expensive, isn’t it?

These are the foods that are best to try and buy organic if you can… 

dirty dozen;

Source: Environmental Working Group

 

The reason this is so important is because the most commonly used pesticide (Monsanto’s Round Up) contains an ingredient called ‘glyphosate’, which was last year classified by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer as ‘probably carcinogenic’.

This made headlines in the US and the state of California was quick to act, with plans to introduce warning labels on food products containing glyphosate.  The Trump administration has since put a stop to this though, ruling in favour of Monsanto on glyphosate, contradictory to the advice of the World Health Organisation. (The EPA is also reversing bans on a number of toxic chemicals the Obama administration had sought to outlaw).

This is one of a number things that have happened at the U.S Environmental Protection Agency since the Trump administration came into power that beggar belief. Scott Pruitt, who was appointed by Trump to lead the EPA, sued the EPA at least 14 times in his previous role as Oklahoma’s attorney general and described himself as a leading activist against the EPA’s agenda.

While Trump’s EPA has sided with the pesticide industry, the situation is unfortunately similar here in Australia. I made an enquiry to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) last year off the back of the WHO classification and it is clear our government also has no interest in regulating the use of glyphosate here in Australia either.  This was their response:

The APVMA has considered the recent findings and action taken by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) in California in relation to Glyphosate. This decision does not change the APVMA’s position that there is no scientific evidence that glyphosate poses a cancer risk to humans, when used according to label directions.

“When used according to label directions”, says it all, doesn’t it? How do we, the consumers, know if the farmers that have grown our produce have followed label directions?

It is clear that no action is being taken because there are too many vested interests at stake. Which is the same reason the issue is not being reported by media outlets, who are fearful of losing advertising revenue.

So, we must educate ourselves.

Organic food is indeed expensive, but I think of it like health insurance. And I promise you that it won’t cost nearly as much as your ongoing medical expenses once you’ve had a cancer diagnosis.

And of course, when we buy organic, we are supporting farmers who are doing the right thing, and striving towards ecologically sustainable farming practices.  And it is only by increasing the demand for organic food that the price will decrease.

The good news though, is there are foods we can afford to be less precious about when buying organic, avocados, for example, and other foods that have thicker skins.

clean fifteen; organic

Source: Environmental Working Group

 

Is there someone in your home you’re having trouble convincing of the importance of buying some foods organic, where you can? Perhaps this article might help give them a gentle nudge.

For more info on the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen heat to: https://www.ewg.org

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Zara is a healthy home consultant, author and keynote speaker on a mission to empower 1 million people to takes steps towards a healthier home. Zara learned about the link between our homes and our health after going through two different types of cancer. Zara is passionate about shining the spotlight on what she believes to be the least understood health challenges of our time, and sharing the things she wishes she had known, that could have prevented the illnesses she has been through. Recognised as one of Australia’s leading health influencers, Zara was a finalist in the 2014 Bupa Health Influencer of the Year Awards. She has appeared on TEN News, Today Show and The Project, been featured in the Herald Sun, I Quit Sugar, and contributed Medibank’s Be. Magazine and Fairfax health online publications. Zara contributed to the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s first comprehensive report on breast cancer in young women in Australia.

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