Food Quality Reflects Farming Methods

We are becoming more conscious of how important the quality of our food is to our health. We create ourselves from the constituents of the food we consume, the carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals. However there is more than just these essential ingredients in our food these days. The pressures on modern farming to provide enough for the ever growing population, demanding unblemished long life produce has lead to modern farming practices that can have significant impacts on the quality of our food. Examples include genetically modified organisms (GMO) such as canola, soy, and corn, the use of chemical biocides (pesticides, fungicides and herbicides etc), artificial fertilizers (commonly contaminated with Cadmium, a toxic metal).

GMOs are a complex construction segments of bacterial and viral genes. An electrical shock is applied to the cell membrane to weaken it, and the modified microorganism is used to infect the target cells with the new genes. Antibiotic marker genes are used to test whether or not the process has worked. The problem with this is now the plant and the virus have antibiotic resistant genes which may transfer to humans and other animals potentially causing increased antibiotic resistance. New Scientist in July 2002 reported on a scientific experiment that showed that this can happen to bacteria in the human digestive system. Currently every commercially released GMO plant has the antibiotic resistance genes in every cell. Monsanto is the producer of many GMO varieties and also bought us other products such as Aspartame, DDT, bovine growth hormone, agent orange and PCB’s, claiming all were safe!!!

A pesticide is a substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying or repelling any pest. More than 7200 registered biocide products are used in Australian agriculture. “A recent World Resources Institute report concluded that “pesticides are likely causes of immune suppression for millions of people throughout the world.”

Some examples of chemicals in food production include Chloryrifos a common food residue which can cause peripheral nerve damage, autoimmune disease, antibiotic allergy, multiple chemical sensitivity, headaches and nausea. Other chemicals disrupt the sex hormones, acting like oestrogen in the body. Apples and oranges are likely to have been treated with Endosulphan, an organochlorine pesticide. This is a hormone disruptor. Organochlorines and dioxins are associated with greater risk of infectious disease in children. Exposure to these toxins during pregnancy is associated with impaired learning, memory and attention processes in offspring.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient of some of the most common herbicides used in farming and gardening. These products have been promoted as quickly biodegradable and non toxic.

Unfortunately, commercial products, such as Round Up, can be three times more toxic than pure glyphosate. Residues of Glyphosate have been found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. This is because it readily moves into all parts of a plant. As it is inside the plant tissues, it cannot be washed off. A World Health Organisation study revealed significant Glyphosate residues in wheat after harvest. Milling did not remove it, as it moves into the plant and the wheat seed. The study showed that cooking does not break down Glyphosate.

Please consider how your food is grown and produced, choose pesticide free or certified organic where ever possible.

Samantha Warner Naturopath

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