Food Science/organic

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Question
hi,
  i hear that some foods it doesn't matter if they are organic or not, like some fruits and vegetables, for example bananas, squash, because of their thick peels, pesticides/herbicides and whatever cannot get to the actual vegetable/fruit.  is this true?  if i buy a squash that is not organic will it contain no pesticides/etc. once i open it?  thanks

Answer
Hi Grace,

My apologies for not answering sooner but I have been trying to run down the source of this myth of fruits and vegetables you don't need to buy organically.  I have had some leads but I have not been able to pin the source down yet.  The most promising culprit is an organization that is also supporting genetically altering our food crops and animals (which is the WORST thing we have ever done to our food).  When I determine where this information is coming from I will send you a follow-up.

Now, on to your answer!!… It is ALWAYS healthier ALWAYS safer and ALWAYS environmentally friendly to buy organic (Unfortunately it is usually more expensive, although the price is coming down as word of organics continues to spread and demand rises). Even big names like Gerber, Hunts, General Mills and many others are getting on board with the organic and GMO free labels. Cheerios, my favorite cereal as a child, is once again part of my breakfasts. General Mills took the steps necessary to make Cheerios GMO-free.

Organic farming standards include no chemical pesticides or herbicides, no chemical fertilizers, crop rotation for continually balanced soil nutrients, no sludge used as fertilizer and no gene altered plants or animals.  You get a more nutritious and safer product that doesn't pollute the environment.

Crop rotation also kills certain pests that thrive on one type of crop.  These insects spend their larval stage in the soil over the winter and part of the spring.  When the next crop is planted they will be there to eat and damage it.  If you rotate crops these plant specific pests (such as the European corn borer) simply die without a food source.   

Now all the claims I have seen for not buying these 10-12 crops organically do not say they are free of pesticides, but that the levels are so low that we do not need to be concerned.  Well according to the FDA, EPA and USDA ALL conventionally grown crops have contamination levels that are safe to consume.  So what are you really getting when you don't buy organic versions of these 12 slightly contaminated food crops?  ….  Why, you get contaminated food!

Even if organic foods were not more nutritious, even if they had some contamination, I would still buy them for the protection offered to the environment (and, as a consequence, protecting me and my own who live in the environment!!).  Pollution from chemical fertilizer runoffs into lakes and streams cause algae blooms and massive fish kills.  Pesticides indiscriminately kill and injure harmful and beneficial insects and wildlife.  Our environment is still trying to rid itself of DDT, not used in the USA for decades, but still persisting.  Our Bald Eagle is now no longer endangered because we stopped using DDT and other pesticides that were destroying vast populations of birds.  The American and Canadian honeybee population is now threatened.  Search for "Colony Collapse Disorder" on the Internet for the full story.  The cause is focused on a pesticide (clothianidin) owned by Bayer Crop Science.  This chemical was banned in Germany and France because of its affects on honeybees. We are using it here and affected bees simply do not return to the hive.  It is a severe problem in 20 states.  Conventional honey and beeswax is now contaminated with a large number of pesticides as a result of two type of mite infestestations and the clothianidin and it's family of pesticides, derived from nicotine.

I can tell you Grace that this list of not-so-contaminated conventional foods is an attempt to trick you and me and everyone else into buying fewer organic foods.  Even our regulatory agencies have been compromised in an effort to destroy organic farming.  
The FDA and USDA are requiring standards for organic food designed not to make it safer but to drive organics off of farms by making them too expensive for in the marketplace FDA requires seperate sinks for washing conventional & organic produce, organics must be wrapped before sale, any contamination of organics makes the entire bin contaminated and unsellable as organic.  

Companies like Monsanto and Syngenta and Bayer Crop Science improperly influence not only the agencies charged with overseeing their genetically engineered food production, they get FDA & USDA leaders to foster regulations that hurt their competition (conventional and organic farmers).
This allows these bio-tech companies to be on a path to contaminate all crops grown in America and Canada (eventually the world. For instance corn, soy and canola crops are nearly completely contaminated in America and Canada.  You cannot buy USA conventional or organic versions of these products without having their DNA contaminated with GMO DNA.  

Another rawback with GMO? You will always have less contamination in both conventional and organic crops than GM crops.

Plants of all types uptake whatever is in the soil and absorb what is sprayed on them or is in the air that they use.  Different plants will absorb different chemicals and nutrients in varying degrees, but if it's there it will be absorbed. That is one of the reasons why a conventional farm must use organic practices on it for three years or more before it can be certified to produce organic foods.  Time has to be given to get all of the contaminants out of the soil and to produce soil rich in nutrients and building blocks of nutrients so that healthful/nutritious crops can be grown.

Conventional and GMO farmers (Genetically Modified Organisms) are supposed to spray chemical pesticides when there is little chance of rain to reduce the amount of contamination in the soil and increase the effectiveness against target insects.  Those rules are sometimes circumvented by an uncooperative weather system or impatient/unmindful farmers.  The result is contamination not only on but in the food.  Some pesticides will persist for several years in soil and are replenished when farmers till silage (leftovers after harvesting) into the ground as fertilizer for next season’s crops.  This tilled in pesticide (including herbicide, used to kill weeds and seeds in anticipation of next seasons planting), if it persists, will be absorbed by anything growing there.

Conventional and gene modified crop farming cannot get away from the contamination that occurs to their products or the contamination that occurs in farm animals that eat these crops or silage.  They also have practices that foster the buildup of contaminants in their soils.  

GMO farming creates the MOST CONTAMINATED of all crops.  

Sometimes crops have their DNA changed to produce their own pesticide.  This pesticide is in all parts of the plant including what we eat.  It cannot be washed off or cooked out.  The root system puts this toxin into the soil.  When the crop is harvested and the remains plowed under the plants release this pesticide into the soil as they decay.  Then another GM crop is planted into this toxic mess and becomes more contaminated.  Even worse, the pesticide in the plant does not kill all insects and several chemical pesticides still have to be sprayed on the crop.  Bio-tech companies claim that farmers don't have to spray as much pesticide as they normally would, thus are saving money.  But now you have at least several chemical contaminants on and in your food.

Some GM plants are modified to be immune to herbicides (plant killers like Round-up chemicals sold by Monsanto).  This is done to control weeds during the growing season.  Because the food crop won't die if herbicide is sprayed on it farmers spray a lot of herbicide.  This kills most of the weeds and increases crop yield.  Once the weeds are gone there are more nutrients in the soil allowing the crop to grow faster and produce more.  Unfortunately you now have a huge problem with herbicide residue on these crops and in the soil where they are grown.  The FDA and USDA have raised the level of herbicide residue on crops considered to be safe.  They didn't do this because research showed it was safe but because they couldn't avoid the extra contamination.  So the level considered "safe to consume" was raised so that the food could be legally sold.

Some of the foods on that list of 12 are claimed to be safe because you peel them. If you peel you will lose nutrients that are in the peels that we normally eat (tomatoes, squash, apples, pears, peaches, etc.).  So while you have reduced the contamination that you eat you are also losing nutrients.

Banana peels, while not eaten, do have nutrients and other substances in them absorbed by the fruit during the ripening (and eventual spoiling) process.  Ever notice how a banana peel gets thinner as it ripens? If the banana peel is contaminated how much of that contamination is being absorbed by the fruit of the banana during this ripening?

The reasons for buying organic, the healthiest and safest foods you can eat…  

1.  No chemical pesticides or fertilizers used on the crops.

2.  No chemical waste contaminating the soil, lakes, streams or air.

3.  Nutrition is better, always, for crops grown organically compared to the best conventional "green-revolution" practices. Crop rotation/tillage ensures a variety of nutrients in the soil for every planting.  Crop rotation also kills some pests that thrive on one type of crop.

4.  No municipal sludge allowed as fertilizer.

5.  No genetically altered crops or animals allowed.  Genetically altered plants and animals are the most unsafe and contaminated of all foods being allowed on our tables. Yet, ironically and confusingly, they are the most regulated foods grown.
Here's how we have been duped -
The regulating agencies overseeing GMO are the FDA, EPA and USDA.
The EPA and USDA are protecting the environment and the land from possible hazardous consequences of growing gene altered crops.
The FDA doesn't regulate GM food crops, cotton or tobacco.
The FDA declares GM food crops to be "substantially equivalent" to conventional and organic crops and they don't need labeling. Through this same reasoning the FDA CLAIMS GENE ALTERED FOOD CROPS DO NOT NEED REGULATION!!

The European Union requires GMO to be labeled, but the US government is threatening to sue for trade sanctions against the EU if they don't allow gene modified food products into their countries from the USA without a label.  How’s that for protecting the public interest?)

I hope you were able to hang in there Grace and read everything I have sent to you.  If you have ANY questions at all please ask a follow-up.  I will be happy to give you additional information or clarify anything that may have been confusing in here.

Two web sites I trust to give you accurate information on organic, conventional and gene altered plants and animals are the following;

http://psrast.org/  and   http://organicconsumers.org/

Thanks for the question,
Hope I was able to help,
Michael Polidori  

Food Science

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Michael Polidori

Expertise

I can answer questions about food safety issues and benefits vs risks issues related to the growing, environmental effects and health effects of conventional, organic and gene altered food (GE GMO genetically engineered), both plants and animals. I can answer questions related to the cause and treatment of nutritionally related disease (including immune related diseases) and nutritional problems related to healing physiological or nutritional injuries.

Experience

I have been studying food growing methods, regulatory rules and organic/conventional/biotechnological methods of producing foods since 1998. I have prepared materials for distribution concerning health safety issues, lack of regulation, environmental dangers and industry sponsored research of genetically engineered plants and animals. I have also created similar materials promoting the benefits of organic agriculture for not only direct health benefits but for dramatic reductions in pollution, indirectly benefitting our health. I have prepared research materials for and participated in Public Television talk and radio shows regarding the issues surrounding genetic engineering and organic foods and debated in college forums with mainstream scientific experts about the safety & regulatory issues of gene altered foods. 2000-2002 I managed booths at major North Carolina events interfacing with the public (including farmers) on organic vs GMO benefits and dangers. I understand regulatory practices, shortcomings & revolving jobs doors of the FDA, USDA and EPA and the industries they regulate. I have been involved in nutrition, health care, prescription drug, vaccine, disease, immune and wellness issues since 1997 reading and writing on the internet and in practical applications with myself, family and friends leading to paths of health, wellness and fitness.

Organizations
North Carolina Citizens For Safe Food, Public Citizen, Organic Consumers Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Working Group, PSRAST.

Education/Credentials
No Degree, but some college in the sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Calculus, Astronomy and Physics). I have also taken several courses in Logic and Philosophy. I am involved in extensive research using mainstream websites (many of which I am on mailing lists for) such as - peer-reviewed publications (The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, others), PubMed database of research studies, National Institutes of Health, FDA, USDA, EPA, University Research libraries, hospital databases (John Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, others). I also regulary contact/correspond-with manufacturers/suppliers of food products, pharmaceuticals (including vaccines) and supplements with questions, recommendations, criticisms and complements. Every week, I learn something new!

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