Organic produce is getting more accessible thanks to consumer demand. With GMO's and heavy pesticide use, it's never been a better time to choose organic. Pesticide exposure, either directly or via mums during pregnancy and breastfeeding, is linked to declining cognitive function in children. If that’s not enough to convince you to choose organic, here are five more reasons:
Organic producers do not allow any genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) into their foods, so you can safely use any products that are ‘certified organic’. When I decided to create June Superfoods, I was determined to receive the certified organic certification to ensure that I was getting the highest-quality ingredients with no toxins or pesticide residues. Australian Certified Organic (ACO) audits and checks on the integrity of farmers, suppliers, manufacturers and processors regularly, offering certainty that these products are of the highest quality.
GMO foods have come under scrutiny lately, as they require stronger pesticides that have been proven to have adverse health effects, specifically on children. To date, there is also still very little research on the long-term impacts of modifying our natural foods on the environment and our health. We are fortunate here in Australia that we do not grow any genetically modified (GM) fruits or vegetables. However, Food Standards Australia does allow GM crops of cotton and canola for commercial use and crops such as corn, wheat, rice, alfalfa, sugarbeet and potato are approved for growing but not yet approved for commercial sale. This means that although we aren’t seeing them in the supermarkets yet, they are growing and being tested for efficiency of insect and herbicide resistance, along with colour and taste.
With the recent uproar over claims that the pesticide Glyphosate has been detected in Cheerios and certain infant cereals, there isn’t enough regulation on safe pesticide levels in our conventional foods. We need to keep asking: how safe are pesticides and why are they being used at such high levels?
Modifying our food seems to be occurring too regularly and we need to band together to ensure that our foods remain safe. Avoiding pesticides from GMO and conventional foods is a great reason to continue to choose organic.
Organic farming doesn’t just mean no GMO’s and pesticides; farmers also have to rotate their crops to ensure the quality of the soil. The Organic Certified Board tests a farms soil for nutrient content. You can rest assured that those nutrients make it into the organic products you are choosing, whether it’s coconut oil, a snack bar, baby care products or face lotion. With the certified organic logo, you are basically getting a superior product that is better for you and has been regulated for quality.
Organic products just taste better. You know that they are regulated and the ingredients can all be traced back to their source. With the highest quality ingredients and no additional toxins, additives and artificial ingredients, it’s easy to see why organic products taste better. As a mum and nutritionist, I feel better knowing that I am giving my family the best that is available.
Without pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, the groundwater stays clean. If we avoid GM crops, we keep more ingredients in their natural state and reduce cross-contamination by farmers. Many farmers lose their organic certification because a neighbouring farm has GM crops. When the wind picks up, often there can be cross- contamination that ruins the organic integrity of the honest farmer. So it’s important to regulate GM crops from being grown across Australia so we don’t lose our organic farmers that supply our amazing organic products.
If it is difficult to find organic products in your local area, then ask your local store or online grocer to source more organic items – whether that be foods, household essentials, baby care or beauty products. The more people that demand these products, the more likely prices will drop and we will all have more access to a variety of high-quality foods and products.
Written for Sprout Market by Kristin Derrin: