Many consumers are committed to organic products for reasons that are more emotional than logical. They frequently define their purchasing choices in terms of what they consider to be “wholesome and natural,” which often translates to the absence of “synthetic” inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides. For some, the prohibition on “genetically modified” crops (however they might be defined) is another consideration. Sometimes, they assume that in some vague way, organic agricultural practices are better for the planet.
In short, on their dinner table they want something like the farm of the idealized “Old McDonald” children’s tune that many of us grew up with. The reality is very different.
On June 23rd, the FDA reported a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A virus due to contaminated organic strawberries that were imported fresh from Baja California, a state in northern Mexico, and imported to the United States under the FreshKampo and HEB brands. As of early July, 18 outbreak-associated cases had been reported from three different states (California, Minnesota and North Dakota), and 13 people were hospitalized as a result. The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are also investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A which is likely linked to the FreshKampo organic strawberries.
I’ve known for years that “organic” is not a guarantee, especially now that we don’t label country of origin in food. I get my meat and vegetables from farmers I know personally.
It’s worth the extra effort and time. When it comes to your health, it’s pay me now a little with better food or pay a lot, lot more with bad health later.