The myth of organic superiority: Are organic foods really safer? – myheraldreview.com

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We are bombarded with advertising claims that “natural” or “organic” products are superior to, and safer than, “chemical” products.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “organic” is defined as, “The use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides.” As a branch of chemistry, “organic” is concerned with the carbon compounds of living beings and most other carbon compounds.
In general terms, “organic” simply means plants are grown from inputs from other living or previous living compounds without inputs from synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
In reality, everything on the planet Earth is chemically composed. The popular belief that natural sources of sugar such as fruit juices or honey is healthier than refined sugar is unsubstantiated. Our body’s enzymes can’t tell the difference between refined sugar and fructose and sucrose, just as plants cannot distinguish between chemical nitrogen and nitrogen from organic sources such as fish fertilizer or blood meal; nitrogen is nitrogen (the most common deficiency in plants).
Table salt is sodium chloride — a chemical. Sometimes we need to take calcium or iron supplements — chemicals. Those who claim they only eat organic foods very often are blind to their entire diet.
Organics do have their place. When fertilizing young plants, I use fish fertilizer, which is 5-1-1; 5% nitrogen, which is very mild compared to ammonium sulfate, 21-0-0; 21% nitrogen of concentrated chemical fertilizer. It is simply too strong for seedlings.
The popular belief that “natural” or “organic” products are superior to, and safer than “chemical” products is misguided. Nicotine sulfate as a pesticide is completely organic and naturally-derived, but highly toxic to all animals, insects as well as humans. Do NOT use it! Do NOT assume that “organic” is synonymous with “safe.” Botulism is natural but fatal if ingested.
Foods labeled “organic” are generally more expensive without any increased benefit. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Be conservative with any chemicals, organic substance, natural or synthetic; you add to a landscape, regardless of their source.
John Chapman was a garden teacher on radio, TV and garden columnist in the Phoenix media for years and practices what he preaches. He now lives in southern Arizona. Questions; john@johnchapman.com
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