2017 Update: This post 7 years ago shows that the amount of decent public information on the topic has greatly increased. It is quite clear now that certain neurotoxin pesticides leave residual traces on fruit and veg. However small the amounts I would like to reduce the amount I ingest so I mostly buy organic where possible. Also organic farming generally promotes practices which think about the health of the soil and don’t just rely on heavy fertiliser use. The Environmental Working Group have some well written material on this and other topics and publish a list of dirty dozen fruits & vegetables that are most contaminated every year.
I watched Food Inc. recently, A documentary about the American food industry. Obviously I realise these types of documentaries are made to scare and make an impact by showing the worst examples. However, It made me think twice about eating a lot of products and got me wondering where on the scale of natural to America Ireland is placed?
Thankfully, as far as I am aware, Irish cattle eat grass and not corn which makes me feel that at least my meat is slightly more natural. Corn fed cattle apparently fatten up faster than grass fed cattle so I guess that makes it appealing to farmers. But corn isn’t a natural food for cows so it causes all sorts of digestive problems and leads to e-coli outbreaks more often than with grass fed cattle according to the documentary. I haven’t had the chance to fact check yet and it is annoyingly difficult to find out the truth sometimes in these matters. Perhaps the documentary had a point when it said that the big food corporations control a lot of what is being said.
The most interesting part of the film for me was on organic products. My jury has been out on organics for a while because I can’t decide if it’s necessary. Sometimes I feel that organic crusaders vilify science and that not all non-organic farming is bad. Some G.M foods are just as healthy and have helped to feed the world. G.M rice in China for example has introduced much needed vitamins that are not otherwise included in poorer people’s diets. So for the most part I still maintain the view that non-organics are not all bad but I am intrigued about the case made against non-organic soy. The majority of American soy crops are one type of G.M. soy variety which is resistant to some pesticides. It’s great because it produces a reliable crop every year but what happens if the pests adapt to the pesticide and the crop fails? And because the majority of the American soybeans are of the same variety there are very few seeds from other varieties to replant from. I’m also wary about the pesticide sprayed on these crops because ultimately we end up ingesting the remnants. Hence I am now convinced of the benefits of organic soy. Organic produce is not a solution for the entire world however as there are just too many starving people out-there that need G.M. crops but I guess as it is available to me I will do my best to buy it when I can to reduce the amount of chemical by-products in my body.