READER QUESTION: Are organic foods really that different?
RMOM: As Richmondmom.com continues to search for healthy, nutritious alternatives for families, we discover more and more concerns. Who knew there was so much going on in our food?
A recent review of data by the CDC revealed that more than 325,000 people are hospitalized each year in the U.S. as a result of food-borne illnesses and 5,000 die. Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma are responsible for 1,500 deaths annually according to the Centers for Disease Control. More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through food.
Food kills people every day?
One of the biggest concerns with the food produced in the U.S. is that the FDA reports that 80% of antibiotics in the U.S. go to livestock – not humans! That means that antibiotics are going into our food and flowing into our water systems too. The primary purpose of antibiotics for livestock is to keep them healthy because they are confined in filthy, cramped quarters.
More antibiotics are fed to livestock in North Carolina alone than are given to humans in the entire U.S! That is based on a professional peer-reviewed journal, “Medical Clinics of North America.”
In another journal, “Applied and Environmental Microbiology”, it is reported that 70% of hogs on one farm studied were infected with MRSA – a deadly infection for people that has become much more resistant to treatment than ever before.
So, what can parents do to better protect the health of their children and themselves?
- Buy local and organic whenever possible.
- Always wash your hands before preparing any type of food.
- Wash foods thoroughly before preparation.
- Always wash hands before and after touching raw meat.
- Don’t use the same cutting boards for meat and vegetables.
- Avoid wooden cutting boards for meat since they can absorb many germs and unwanted products of the food.
- Keep all food preparation surfaces clean and sanitized before, during and after food preparation.
- Avoid any meats that include antibiotics.
- Provide children with organic milk (unless otherwise recommended by a doctor).
- Even vegetables can be infected with e-Coli and other germs since everything eventually finds its way into our water systems – purchase organic but handle with care, even if you’re a vegetarian.
Kate Semp has provided valuable information about farm to table options for Richmond families. You can also learn more about what’s in your food in this article. You may also find some great tips in this article about Richmond’s Green Monkey lunch and catering business that focuses on organic, fresh and natural foods.
Don’t leave your family’s health to chance. Be proactive when it comes to making food choices and always handle food in a safe, sanitary environment. Teach children the importance of washing fruits and vegetables before taking a bite and focus on local, organic foods whenever possible.
Now you have the facts to help you make a decision about whether or not organic is really worth the price.