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Write down one or two words that describe what the term “organic” means to you. Then, we’ll discuss your responses as a group.

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Presentation on theme: "Write down one or two words that describe what the term “organic” means to you. Then, we’ll discuss your responses as a group."— Presentation transcript:


2 Write down one or two words that describe what the term “organic” means to you. Then, we’ll discuss your responses as a group.

3 USDA National Organic Program Passed by Congress in 1990 Set national standards for production process Crop standards Livestock standards Handling standards Regulation through Inspections Complaints, Investigations and Appeals Fines

4 100% Organic Only organically-produced ingredients and processing aids Specific processing methods Specific nutritional labeling Organic 95% organically produced ingredients Specific processing methods Specific nutritional labeling Made with Organic Ingredients At least 70% organic ingredients Specific ingredients noted Specific processing methods Some Organic Ingredients



7 Using one or two words, state why you do or do not buy foods that are labeled as organic.


9 Approximately 70% of consumers purchase organic foods to avoid pesticides The USDA prohibits some pesticides in organic food production, but allows others like: Water disinfectants of calcium and sodium hypochlorite and copper sulfate Insecticides of boric acid, lime sulfur, copper sulfate and oils

10 EPA regulates all other pesticides by imposing Maximum Residue Limits “Reasonable certainty of no harm” Lifetime cancer risk to pesticide exposure are below 1 cancer per 1 million persons exposed For non-cancer risk, occurs when acute or chronic basis is below the reference dose 99.9% of the time Occupational exposure is the greatest area of concern, specifically to migrant workers

11 Data on pesticide residues from three different testing agencies

12 What are nitrates and nitrites? Naturally occurring inorganic ions Microbial action decomposes wastes to ammonia, which oxidizes into nitrite and nitrate How does nitrate and nitrite get into the food supply? Contaminated food Prepared baby foods Sausage

13 Studies indicate organic production of food results in lower nitrate levels An analysis of over 18 independent studies showed the following results in nitrate levels of organic and conventional foods:

14 Levels regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Act sets maximum level at 10mg/L Nitrate sources include Runoff from agricultural fertilizer use Leaching from sewage and septic tanks Erosion of natural deposits


16 University of Minnesota study measured E-coli contamination in fields using animal manure as fertilizer Study included organic farmers, semi-organic farmers (non-USDA certified) and conventional farmers All types of produce gathered directly from fields Samples measured for E-coli

17 Degree of contamination contingent upon manure spraying techniques Fields using manure aged <6 months before application had highest E-coli levels Fields using manure aged >6 months before application had lower E-coli levels Organic and semi-organic fields most contaminated


19 Uses of Antibiotics in Livestock Therapeutic Use Control Use Prevention-Prophylaxis Use Growth Promotion

20 No current regulation by the FDA on sub-therapeutic antibiotic use in animal production No reporting requirements, but the following facts are submitted by the FDA’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System: 20.5 million pounds used by meat producers in 1999 17.7 million pounds were used for prevention of disease and treatment Remaining 2.8 million pounds used for growth promotion

21 The CBS Report Nearly 70% of hogs and 64% of workers detected with new MRSA strain where antibiotics were used No MRSA on antibiotic-free farms The University of Iowa study Two facilities – both used antibiotics Production System A – 60,000 head, sows from Canada, Minnesota and Illinois Production System B – 27,000 head, all sows from Michigan Results Production System A – 49% in swine, 45% in workers Production System B – 0% swine, 0% workers

22 Voluntary ban in 1998 Mandatory ban in 2000 As AGP use (growth protection) use decreased, need for therapeutic drugs increased As therapeutic drug use increased, human resistance to campylobacter and salmonella increased



25 In 2003, French researchers used tomato puree to determine antioxidant effects of organically grown vs. conventionally grown tomatoes Fresh organic tomatoes had higher levels of Vitamin C, carotenoids and polyphenols than conventional tomatoes No significant difference in higher levels of Vitamin C and polyphenol benefit in plasma levels of antioxidants

26 1.Organic food is more nutritious than conventional food 2.Organic food is safer than conventional food


28 The short answer is no. Organic foods have less synthetic pesticides and nitrates but – Still contain measurable levels of pesticides and nitrates Contain other allowed pesticides with known health risks Some foods higher in Vitamin C and carotenoids, with no difference in antioxidant levels

29 Again, the short answer is no. Conflicting study results for microbiological safety Issues with organic farming practices concerning manure use Antibiotic use in animal food production – more research needed

30 Not scientific evidence exists to show a benefit in organic foods over conventional foods in safety, nutrition, or disease prevention Organic foods are usually more expensive than conventional foods while providing basically the same nutritional value Whichever route you choose, eat your fruits and vegetables! Check out

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