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Organic options for everyone

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According to "The Organic Way" these foods should be labelled because they may pose inherent risks to consumers. It states that, during the process of irradiation, some vitamins and enzymes are destroyed and free radicals are created that may react with cell membranes and cause the cells in your body to function poorly. Hence, organic standards also prohibit food irradiation.

Potential health problems aside, the book states that recent studies in North America, Europe and Japan confirm that organically grown foods have a higher levels of vitamins and trace elements that are beneficial to our health.

The author suggests that buying organic also helps to support your local economy, as well as the environmental integrity of the people who participate in every step of organic food production, such as farmers, processors, distributors and organic seed retailers, to name just a few.

"Many of these people have chosen to earn a lower income than those working in similar ‘conventional’ professions but make their livelihood in a way they can be proud of," states Skrypicajko.

Environmentally speaking, organic farming prevents water contamination and conserves water.

"Pollutants used on conventional crops leach into the water through pesticide drifts, infiltration into ground water and run-off from the farmlands.

"Organic agriculture forbids the use of chemicals, and also uses lower amounts of water per square acre of farmland by building healthier soil that retains water more readily," Skrypicajko says.

Pesticides used in conventional farming do not only kill off "pests" but also small animals and insects.

"Pesticides are killing off species of insects, birds, and fish throughout the world" Skrypiczajko writes, "Organic agriculture supports biodiversity by observing the natural rhythms of each insect or bird in nature by integrating that role into farming practices."

Skrypiczajko visited organic poultry, sheep, pig and dairy farms when doing research for her book and spoke with certification officers who visit and certify organic livestock farms.

"What I have seen has honestly seemed quite idyllic to a non-farmer. By that I mean animals looking healthy, grazing outside, spacious barns, and often being treated like pets," she said.

She then researched the treatment of animals on conventional farms.

She found it "a shock to read how many animals being raised for ‘conventional meat and dairy products are confined to unacceptably small spaces, mutiliated without anaesthetics and fed pellets of animal remains and growth hormones, all to be a profitable product for the industry."

So it appears the organic way is not only a wise decision for consumer health but also as an ethical option, supporting those who farm with ethics and give consideration to the environment, native flora and fauna, and domestic farm animals.

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