If there’s one thing the last couple of decades have reinforced in the minds of consumers, it’s that organic foods are healthier than their non-organic alternatives. However, unless you’re growing your own produce, it’s unlikely that you’re even aware of the differences between organic and non-organic. Like most people, you’ve probably bought into the marketing hype that anything not labeled organic is somehow inferior, and therefore not as healthy.
That’s because the standards defining what is and isn’t certified organic vary from country to country. When it comes to those standards, the U.S. is so far from perfect that the last time you ate organic, you probably ingested deadly poisons. That’s because the FDA doesn’t monitor the presence of heavy metals in certified organic food.
This opens up a huge export market for other countries, as what can’t be sold on their shelves is readily purchased in the U.S. At over $30 billion in annual revenue, the American organic food market remains one of the largest unregulated industries in the country. Mom-and-pop businesses and grassroots organizations like the California Certified Organic Farmers are working to establish regulations, but there is only so much they can do without support from the FDA. Across the U.S., California is the unchallenged leader in establishing and enforcing organic standards, while federally administered programs such as the USDA’s National Organic Program still lag behind.
Unfortunately, federal regulation by the USDA tends to focus largely on environmental sustainability, and the absence of pesticide use. The regulations govern where food can be grown, how it can be raised, and what can be done with it once it’s harvested. They do not, however, mandate any particular testing, as that’s the job of the FDA. As we’ve stated previously, the FDA isn’t doing its job. In fact, it isn’t even pretending to.
This would have continued to go unnoticed by Americans were it not for the actions of a man known as the Health Ranger. His name is Mike Adams, he’s the Editor in Chief of Natural News, and to quote him,
The shocking truth is that the FDA does not require certified organic products to be tested for heavy metals. That means manufacturers can legally sell products here that have concentrations of toxic heavy metals that would be illegal to sell in Canada, for example. Many people are consuming these products, but are not aware of the health risks.
As you might imagine, Adams is no friend of certain organic food manufacturers, and there are several scientific publications that vilify him, but he’s not a loose cannon blindly slinging these accusations. Everything he does is based on research conducted in his own labs, and much of it has been independently verified. In fact, the most commonly leveled accusation against him concerning heavy metals in organic foods is that he’s claiming that there are dangers when no FDA regulations exist to establish what’s dangerous and what’s not. While that is technically true, it’s only a half-truth. The FDA’s website does indicate that “many plants, whether or not they are organically grown, contain substances that may be toxic,” and there certainly aren’t any standards to be found there, but they’re not the only group in the United States working to regulate the organic food industry. Nor are they the most informed or effective.
California holds that honor. As mentioned previously, it’s the national leader when it comes to establishing and enforcing standards in the organic food community. California’s own Prop 65 is the only real statute in America that establishes measurable standards for these heavy metal poisons. It sets standards for aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, tungsten, and other substances. Unfortunately, that’s also where the problem starts. In some cases the levels of these poisons found in certified organic foods manufactured from imported raw materials are more than 20 times the acceptable levels.
His research is considered groundbreaking by many, including Doctor Oz, who featured Mike Adams on a program titled The Whistleblower Who Found Poison in America’s Food. However, these findings aren’t limited to research conducted by the “Renegade Health Ranger.” They’re actually quite widespread, and have been a concern for some time.
In 2006, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of NIH, wrote, “It is difficult, therefore, to weigh the risks, but what should be made clear is that ‘organic’ does not automatically equal ‘safe.’ Additional studies in this area of research are warranted. At our present state of knowledge, other factors rather than safety aspects seem to speak in favor of organic food.” In other words, while organic food might be better for you, being organic doesn’t necessarily make it any safer to consume.
In 2012, Stanford University published an article on the health benefits of organic foods, and found that there was little benefit to them when compared to non-organic foods. “Some believe that organic food is always healthier and more nutritious,” said Smith-Spangler, who is also an instructor of medicine at the School of Medicine. “We were a little surprised that we didn’t find that.” While the article did not specifically look into the presence of heavy metals, it did find that the main difference between organic and non-organic foods was a lack of pesticides. Other factors, such as where the foods were grown, had a much more uniform impact on the foods, with little difference noted between them once pesticides were eliminated from the equation.
This leaves us with the disturbing fact that, while organic foods are relatively free of pesticides, they’re not necessarily as healthy as we’ve been led to believe. At least, not if you live outside of California or consume protein shakes made with ingredients of dubious origin, such as China or other countries known for exporting contaminated food products.
For those of you who just want to see the test results for heavy metal contamination, here is a link to some of the tests conducted on rice protein shakes.
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