Basket of Apples in the Field

Foods that are certified "Organic" are foods that were produced without the involvement of modern synthetic inputs such as chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. Organic foods also do not contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and were not processed by utilizing any industrial solvents, irradiation or any chemical food additives.

The digestive tract starts at the mouth and finishes at the anus and everything a person puts into the body has an effect on it.  These effects are sometimes positive and other times they are negative.  In our health conscious world where there is quite an abundance of food readily available to most people, it is nice to be able to be a little more discerning about what is chosen to be ingested.  There have been a number of studies done that show that organic food is no better when it comes to macronutrient values than non-organically grown foods.  However, there may be another concern.

While these studies have proven that 100g of organic beef tenderloin has the same amount of protein and fat in 100g of non-organic beef tenderloin, there may be some differences between organic and non organic.  There is some evidence that residual hormones used in meat production (poultry, beef, pork, etcetera) may affect humans adversely.  There may be correlations between increases in certain types of cancers forming in humans in non-organic meats that have been raised with growth hormones and other hormonal supplements and is eaten on a regular basis.

Most of the cancers that may be related to eating too many hormone laden meats don’t directly affect the digestive system, however the first symptoms of cancer usually affect the digestive tract when it becomes ill since it processes foods, medications, liquids, and just about everything else a person takes in orally.  A health conscious person may wish to avoid eating non-organic meats whenever possible to avoid any negative health effects that may result.  However, it is important to remember that there haven’t been any major, conclusive studies done that show, one way or the other, that these residual hormones in non-organic meats have an effect on the human body.

As far as whether or not pesticide residue on foods is harmful to human beings, the verdict is somewhat up in the air.  Older studies showed that foods grown with the use of pesticides were perfectly fine for human consumption once picked and consumed.  There was no evidence that these chemicals affected the food in any negative way during the growing process and that the only thing they did was keep the bugs away.  Most produce is washed once it’s picked and it is then recommended to be washed again once the same produce makes its way into the home.  However, there has been some evidence in the last decade that suggests that this isn’t always enough, and that pesticides do have more of an effect on humans after consumption than was previously thought.  Most of this has been enough for some scientific reviewers to call for more specific studies.

It could be more of a worry to consider pesticide contamination between the field and the super market.  If there’s an accident that causes the fresh produce to be sprayed by pesticides, or if this produce has been affected by a leak from the pesticide bins, then it is possible that higher levels could make their way into a person’s system without anyone realizing it.  Pesticides, when a human is exposed to a great quantity, can cause immediate reactions.  It is also known that prolonged exposure to high levels of pesticides can cause cancer and digestive issues in humans.  They can also cause issues in animals, and if the beef that is purchased in the grocery store has been exposed to a lot of pesticides via the animal’s own eating habits prior to being butchered, this could be a cause for concern. All of these problems could be foregone by eating organic despite the usual higher price of organic foods compared to non-organic.

The bottom line is that there is a lot of circumstantial evidence pointing toward residual pesticides being a problem when it comes to human health, including the digestive tract, but there isn’t any concrete evidence, since studies simply haven’t been done that disprove the old idea that current pesticide management is perfectly fine for human consumption of vegetables, fruits and meats.  If a person has any concerns about this, it is perfectly reasonable to choose organics, especially the thin skin options (lettuce, root vegetables, other greens, spinach, and so on) instead of the non-organic options.

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2012