From years of conversations with individuals about the pros and cons of organic food production, one of the overwhelming answers on the “pro” side of the equation is lack of pesticides.
This is one of the most influential reasons individuals decide to purchase organic food, and it is one of the biggest misnomers.
Just because something is marked “organic” does not automatically mean it was raised in a pesticide free environment.
In fact, there are a vast number of pesticides that are on the approved for organic production list.
Where Does the Term Organic Come From?
Although the term “organic” conjures up a lot of different emotions in people, at its core it means “from nature”. So, many substances have been allowed for use in organic production as long as they were derived from nature, or carbon-based. In other words, as long as they were natural pesticides and not synthetic pesticides made in a lab.
But are Natural Pesticides Safer?
This is not always the case. Although the thought of synthetic lab made chemicals scares the public, the fact of the matter is we know a lot more about these substances than their “natural” counterparts. In order to be approved for commercial use, chemicals have to be thoroughly tested. Everything from effectiveness and lethality to break down is tested for years before it is allowed to be sold.
Many people don’t realize that pesticides do have what is called a “breakdown period”. It is the time in which it takes the chemical to breakdown to the point where it is a neutral substance. Many people think that once a chemical is sprayed, then it is always lethal. This is not the case. That is why people are naturally afraid that using chemicals in food production will leave pesticides in food. That is just not the case (when used properly).
Proponents of not using chemicals in food productions always refer back to the bad occurrences in the past as evidence to why pesticides have no place in our society. Examples like the historic use of the DDT pesticide and the resulting pesticide poisoning are proof to them why all use of synthetic substances is bad and should be banned.
It does not matter if we are talking about teachers, mailmen, reporters, or farmers; there are bad apples in every industry. Not just that, if you look back in history of all industries (and see the way things used to be done) you will see that old standards were not always the best standards. We learn from our history, we develop new technologies, and we study the best practices on how to achieve the desired results. To say that the mistakes of the past paint the same picture for our present or future is ridiculous. That goes for all industries and especially our good production.
When it comes to food, there are two habits everyone should adopt; don’t believe what everyone says, and question everything.
The organic industry has everyone right where they want them. People see the word “organic” and assume that it is a healthier and more wholesome option for themselves and their families. Producers are able to charge a premium for their products, while still using pesticides (and in some cases synthetic pesticides). When people don’t continue to ask the necessary questions, an industry they once new will morph into something unrecognizable and money will rule the day.
Feature image via BigStock Photo