Eating Organic - Is It Healthier? 吃有机食品是否更健康一些?


在美国的很多超级市场和健康食品店里,那些标上“有机产品”的货物不仅价钱比较昂贵而且都成列在显要的地位。购物者常常在思考,这些标着“有机产品”的货物是不是真的比没有标“有机产品”的货物好,花大价钱买是不是合算;说不准这仅仅是商业广告的又一新花招。

根据坐落在美国马萨诸塞州绿田的有机产品贸易协会的总监凯瑟琳·迪马提奥,有机食品不仅对人体更健康,而且对社会也更好,从长远来看,也消费将会更低。

到底什么有机产品呢?

“有机”是对这个产品是怎样生长和制造而言的。作为“有机”产品的农业工人,他们避免使用化学杀虫药、化学肥料,从而他们的农产品就不需要经过复杂的加工处理,也不需要加添人工的成分、防腐剂或者射线刺激 等等,于是这样的产品就能保持了原有的纯净。“有机”的肉类和奶制品都是只喂养有机谷物、饲料里也没有抗生素、激素或者其他的辅助药物。 要得到正式的“有机产品”的证书,必须经过大量的检查程序、保存各项详细的记录、有关部门对土壤和水质的定期检查,从而确保所有的过程和生长物都符合有关部门的要求。

......是不是有机产品真的是更好呢?

......“有机产品的价格比较高是由于农业工人也必须 让有机农产品经过与普通农产品一样的过程,诸如收割、运输和储存同样的程序,而且他们还必须严格地按照所规定的标准来运作处理和生产。如果你仔细计算的话,加上那些传统农业中的附带工作费用,比如淤泥的清洁、填补 流失了的土壤、对农业工人因为吸入了有毒的杀虫剂所带来的医疗费用等等,有机农产品的价格一点也不贵。”

但是对于有机农产品的口感是否比普通农产品好,这个问题上,人们有不同的意见。(《用户报告》杂志最近举行了一次对胡萝卜、苹果、番茄口感的测试。所有的有机农产品都是直接从农夫市场 直接购买,从而与普通农产品作比较。但是评比小组无法断定任何明显的口感区别)。对于有机产品,有一点是可以强调的,就是有机产品对牲口和环境都比较友善。

美国肯塔基州莱克星顿市农商品生长合作社经理卡伦·阿姆斯特朗·克铭斯说,“有机农产品一定比较好,但是生产有机农产品的农场必须坚持合理的农业要求来做。为了种植有机农产品,农场必须不使用有毒的杀虫剂或者有毒的肥料;然而他们是依靠种植 农作物的多样化和补充土壤的营养值来种植农产品的。那种使用有毒农药和有毒肥料的农业,已经对环境造成了巨大的破坏,而且进入了恶性循环的状态,年复一年地越来越严重。有机农业技术的应用是可以长期的进行的。

不要以为这就太平无事了

当人们在估量该买有机农产品还是该买普通农产品的时候,大家都以为无论价格怎么变化,那些东西都应该是安全的。但是很遗憾的是,这并不是所有的时候都是这样的。

在美国首都华盛顿的“环境工作组”公布了一份使用美国食品和药物监督管理局的资料分析而得的,名为“应该禁止的水果”的报告。不仅是该管理局对污染的描述有明显的不一致性,而且几乎有一半记录下来的污染是从那早已被禁止使用的、使人致癌的或者使人中毒的杀虫剂所带来的。

根据这份报告,十种最严重污染的非有机农产品是:(按顺序排列)草莓、青红椒、菠菜、樱桃、桃子、哈密瓜、西芹菜、苹果、黑莓、还有青豆。

据环境工作组,“如果人们按照美国农业部所推荐的每天吃五份水果和蔬菜的话,那将在一年内可能会吃到七十五次禁用的杀虫剂。与此相比,普通的消费者要吃100磅经过美国食品和药物监督管理局所检查过的新鲜水果和蔬菜,才会遇到一次被检查出有农药残留的。这就是说,没有经过美国食品和药物监督管理局所检查的食品,比被美国食品和药物监督管理局所检查过的食品,多十五倍的机会吃到非法的农药残留。”

至于那些无法买到有机食品的居民和买不起较高价格的有机食品的居民,可能会问有没有什么其他的选择。因为水洗和削皮都不能全部取消农药残留,或者补偿转基因食品,所以任何有顾虑的消费者是有一些步骤可以采取的。

迪马提奥说,“如果价格是个问题的话,消费者应该花点时间来查询一下。天然食品合作社的有机产品价格常常是很有竞争性的,他们的会员 们更有这样的特别优惠。仔细逛市场的话,你也常常可以发觉不少商场里的有机食品的价格与普通的食品几乎不相上下。有家庭的消费者,可以把家里吃得比较多的食品列入有机产品来购买,比如牛奶和面包。虽然你只选一两件,对有机产品的经济你已经作出了你的贡献。或者你就不买环境工作组报告中指出的那些不应该吃的食品(诸如菠菜、草莓、苹果等等),而用有机农产品来取而代之。如果产品的种类是个问题的话,那就对你买菜的市场经理说,你想要什么样的有机食品。通常超级市场会按照顾客的要求来进有机农产品



讨论问题:
1.  你对你可以买到的食品有什么顾虑吗?
2.  你是否觉得有机农产品比普通农产品更健康?为什么?
3.  你是否关心食品的生长和培育对环境影响?

Many supermarkets and natural food stores around the country proudly feature slightly higher priced products on their shelves bearing the label "organic". Shoppers often speculate whether or not these products are indeed better for the body and therefore worth the associated extra cost or whether the organic label is just another marketing ploy.


According to Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) based in Greenfield, Mass., organic foods are not only healthier for the body, they are better for society and actually cheaper in the long run.

What is Organic?

The term "organic" refers specifically to how something is grown or produced. Organic farmers refrain from using chemical pesticides or fertilizers, and their crops are minimally processed to maintain product integrity without using artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation. Organic meat and dairy products are derived from animals that are fed only organic grain and are not given antibiotics, hormones or supplemental medications.   The official certification system involves an extensive inspection process that includes detailed record keeping and periodic testing of soil and water quality to ensure that growers are meeting standards set by a governing body.

…Is Organic Really Better?

… "The shelf price of organic products may be a bit higher because farmers must deal with the same costs of conventional food production such as harvesting, transportation and storage but they also have to adhere to stricter handling and production standards. In the end, if you add up the indirect costs of conventional agribusiness, like cleaning up sludge, replenishing depleted soils and the expense of health care for workers exposed to toxic pesticides, organic foods are considerably cheaper."

While there is some disagreement over whether or not organic foods really taste better (Consumer Reports recently conducted a taste-test between conventionally grown carrots, apples and tomatoes and organic ones purchased directly from a farmers' market; the panel failed to identify any significant differences in flavor), there is little argument that organic farming is friendlier to both livestock and the environment.

"Organic foods are certainly better for you, but organic farming has a lot more to do with sustainable agriculture," says Karen Armstrong-Cummings, managing director of the Commodity Growers Cooperative in
Lexington, Ky. "Organic systems don't use toxic pesticides or fertilizers. Rather, they are based on the cultivation of biological diversity and replenishment of soil nutrients. The damage agribusiness inflicts on the environment is abundant and compounds itself every year. Organic techniques are viable over the long term."

Just When You Thought It Was Safe

Of course, when weighing the options between purchasing conventional and organic foods, consumers generally assume that all the food they eat is safe, regardless of price. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), based in
Washington, D.C., released a study called Forbidden Fruit in which samples from the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) own records were analyzed. Not only were there major discrepancies in the FDA's reported contamination figures, but nearly half of the registered contaminates were illegal pesticides that have been banned due to their carcinogenic/toxic properties.

According to the report, the 10 most contaminated non-organic foods (in order) were: strawberries, red/green bell peppers, spinach, cherries, peaches, cantaloupe, celery, apples, blackberries and green peas.

According to the EWG, "A person eating the USDA's recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day will consume illegal pesticides at least 75 times per year. By contrast, the average consumer must eat 100 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in order to eat from a shipment tested for pesticides by the FDA. Which means that the average American is 15 times more likely to eat an illegal pesticide than to eat from a shipment tested by the FDA."

… Shoppers who do not have access to organic foods, or can't afford the slightly higher price, may wonder what alternatives they have. Though washing and peeling are not enough to completely eliminate pesticide residue or compensate for GE altered foods, there are measures that concerned shoppers can take.

"If price is the issue, shoppers should spend the energy to look around," says DiMatteo. "Natural food cooperatives often have very competitive pricing on organic products, especially for members, and careful shoppers can often find stores where organic prices are competitive with non-organics. Families may also choose to buy organic products for the foods they consume most, like milk or bread which, even though it's only one product, contributes considerably to the organic economy or purchase organic foods that are, according to EWG's Forbidden Fruit study, most likely to be contaminated [e.g. spinach, strawberries, apples etc.]. If availability is the issue, speak to the manager where you shop. Often, supermarkets will acquire organic foods at the customer's request." . . .


Discussion Questions:
1. What concerns you about the food that you are able to buy?
2. Do you think organic foods are healthier than conventional foods?  Why?
3. Are you concerned about the way food is grown or raised and it's effects on the environment? Why?

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