Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Organic myths debunked

I've seen a few articles of late that were contrary to the prevailing winds espoused by my healthier friends and family.

Let's take nitrates. They are bad for you right? Well, maybe but maybe not. Nitrite free may not mean what you think it means. Let's take bacon for instance, one of the essential food groups.

Uncured bacon isn't any healthier. Here's why. - The Washington Post

The truth is there is little practical difference between cured and uncured bacon in terms of health. Both are cured in the true sense of the word, meaning they are preserved.The use of the labels “cured” and “uncured” on processed meats results from Agriculture Department’s labeling regulations. To be called cured, the meat must be processed with synthetic nitrites or nitrates. (You’ll see types of them, such as potassium nitrite or sodium nitrite, in the products’ ingredient list.)Without these compounds, meat would spoil. “Nitrite is especially important because it has inhibitory action against microorganisms and specifically against spores of Clostridium botulinum [which cause botulism], should they be present,” says Jeff J. Sindelar, a meat science professor and extension meat specialist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.Nitrites and nitrates also can form from natural sources, such as celery salt, powder, or juice, and these can be used to cure meat. Because they aren’t synthetic, the Agriculture Department requires meat processed with them to be labeled “uncured” and “no nitrates or nitrites added.”It’s a technical detail; the chemical composition of these curing agents are the same. “Nitrite is nitrite, regardless of source,” Sindelar says.“When people see ‘uncured’ and ‘no nitrates/nitrites added’ on a label, they believe the meat is healthier,” says Amy Keating, a nutritionist at Consumer Reports. “But that’s not the case.”

Processed meats do have harmful effects on the body and should be consumed in moderation. It is an interesting article. 


Another thing that came across the bowsprit - you know that expensive wash your wife buys to clean the pesticides off fruit? Well, according to this, it is essentially worthless, you are better off using tap water.

“Plain running tap water remains the simplest and safest method” of removing germs and pesticides from produce, Johnson-Arbor said.

Fruits and vegetables are absorbent by nature, so it’s generally not recommended to use any type of soap, detergent or cleaning solution on them.

“According to the FDA, washing fresh produce with soap, detergent or commercial produce wash is not recommended, as their safety and effectiveness have not been adequately tested,” explained Emma Laing, the director of dietetics at the University of Georgia. “Because produce is porous, soaps and detergents can be absorbed even with thorough rinsing, and this can lead to illness.”

Organic means free from chemicals, right? Well, no

For products with the USDA "organic" label, only 95 percent of the ingredients must be organic. There are about 200 non-organic substances producers can to add to food without sacrificing the organic claim. And that non-organic 5 percent could be sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. The other 95 percent could be exposed to USDA-approved biological or botanical pest controls — or even chemicals from a list of allowable compounds poisonous to weeds and bugs but supposedly safe for people.

Products with the label “made with organic ingredients” can have as little as 70 percent organic content. Consider a bag of corn chips made with organic corn and non-organic oil: Since about 25 percent of a chip is oil, the processed product meets the government standard.


Next time around we can talk about bottled water. 

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