Organic and Non-Organic Produce: Which one is the better option? Is there a better option?

I have always asked myself if an organic or non-organic fruit or vegetable was better. I grew up in a household where my parents only bought non-organic fruits and vegetables and maybe organic a few times. Growing up in the 1990s, my parents  did not see why they had to buy organic fruits or vegetables. In their mind “A fruit, was a  fruit – and a vegetable, was a vegetable.”   I also thought in this same fashion. In the 21st century, we are living in a society where individuals are more health and food conscious. Many people are trying to improve their health by exercising and eating more fruits and vegetables. Many people want to know where, when, and how their food is grown or made. Individuals are also paying more attention to nutrition labels, ingredients and whether a particular food is organic or non-organic.

 Pesticides’ harmful effects on children 

“Scientist have shown that children age 5 and under ingest an average of eight pesticides each day. And young children, whose internal organs and systems are developing rapidly, are particularly vulnerable to pesticides’ harmful effects” (abcnews.go.com). When it comes to produce, pesticides are becoming a big issue.  They are also a growing concern for children’s health. Cleaning and washing your fruits and vegetables before eating and serving them, might not be adequate in order to prevent pesticide exposure. According to United States Environmental Protection Agency, “pesticides are harmful to children because their internal organs are still developing and maturing, and children consume more than adults, increasing their exposure to pesticides in food and water” (epa.gov).  Even disinfectants specialized for fruits and vegetables might not be adequate. Why? Biofilms, which are established from microbes, coat fruits and vegetables and protect bacterial cells from antimicrobial compounds.  What is the best thing to do in a situation like this? Trying and buying organic fruits and vegetables could help.

Why do people buy organic fruits and vegetables?

People buy organic fruits and vegetables because pesticides and similar chemicals usually stay on these types of foods and individuals want to reduce their exposure.  People buy organic produce because of their health benefits.  Organic produce has more nutrients than regular produce. Many individuals also want to buy produce that has not had contact with fertilizers and synthetic pesticides.

Pros and Cons of Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Pros

-Children are ingesting and exposed to less pesticides

-There is scientific evidence that organic produce provides more nutrients

-Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are not used on organic produce, which means their is less pesticide residue on organic produce than regular produce

-Helps fight global warming

-Farmers tend to use more natural, cultural and humane ways of applying pesticides and fertilizers to plants

Cons

-Organic produce is not a wallet breakers but it can be a little costly

*The average cost for 16oz. of non-organic strawberries is 3.99, while it is 4.49 for organic strawberries

-Organic does not mean “pesticide, chemical, or harm free”

*The non-synthetic pesticide/fertilizer method does not necessarily mean it is “pesticide, chemical, or harm free”

*Non-synthetic pesticides/fertilizers REDUCE the exposure BUT does NOT ELIMINATE the exposure to pesticides

So which one is actually better – Organic or Non-Organic Produce?

It depends. Buying organic fruits and vegetables does not mean it is “pesticide or chemical free,” but it is a better alternative than buying regular produce.

Organic foods are grown with fewer pesticides, which is beneficial for the development and growth of children.  If you want to purchase organic produce and can afford it, why not give it a try. But when it comes to fruits and vegetables, do not waste too much of your time worrying whether it is organic or not.  It is more important for your child to have a diet full of fruits and vegetables, rather than focusing all of your energy on whether the produce is organic or not.

If you plan on buying organic produce, why not make homemade baby food as well. 

 My Magic Bullet Story 

My mother started using the “Magic Bullet” towards the end of last year. My mother always talked about how she wanted to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in her diet. The Magic Bullet was her answer. When I came home for winter break last year, I saw the kitchen in my house slowly transform into the “Magic Bullet Smoothie Shop” as I would call it. My mother made all kinds of smoothies and I will admit that I became a “smoothie lover” during winter break. Last night, I feel asleep while the television on. I woke up randomly out of my sleep and saw the “Baby Bullet” infomercial airing on the television. The Baby Bullet is similar to the Magic Bullet but instead of making smoothies, you can make your own baby food.  I believe making baby food at home is a better alternative than buying factory-made baby food. Store bought baby food such as food made by Gerber ®, is not fresh because it sits on the store shelf for weeks and has high amounts of sugar and sodium. When you make homemade baby food, it is fresh, has more nutrients, and tastes better.  You can make delicious baby food and smoothies and maybe turn you kitchen into the “Magic and Baby Bullet Shop.”

For more information on the Baby Bullet go to www.babybullet.com

Sources:

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/pest.htm

http://www.healthyhouseinstitute.com/a_876-Washing_Fruits_and_Vegetables_May_Not_Be_Enough

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/JustOneThing/organic-nonorganic-buy/story?id=13310727#.T4MTnr_C5e4

http://www.live-the-organic-life.com/organic-food-cost.html

written by Nicolette Orji

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