Reading food labels is important to your health

The National Organic Program administers the O...

The National Organic Program administers the Organic Seal to products that meet the requirements. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Click here to hear a Good Dirt Radio 5-minute eco-spot on reading food labels.

If your gramma couldn’t pronounce it, well, you might not want to eat it. With over 80,000 largely untested, man-made chemicals in use today, whole, organic food is still known as one of gramma’s best medicines. Non-organic factory foods, routinely made with chemicals known to increase shelf life and sales, damage our health and make good nutrition difficult for the average shopper. After decades of processed factory foods and man-made chemicals, alarming levels of long lasting, toxic synthetics such as pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics and hormones are found in our bodies and the biosphere, promoting America‘s health crisis. The effects are self-evident. Join us to hear why reading labels is a simple, positive action we can take to help reduce the pollution that’s affecting our personal health and that of the planet.

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Read transcript below:

Welcome to Good Dirt Radio, reporting on positive change… taking root.

If your gramma couldn’t pronounce it, well, you might not want to eat it.  With over 80,000 largely untested, manmade chemicals in use today, whole, organic food is still known as one of gramma’s best medicines.Non-organic factory foods, routinely made with chemicals known to increase shelf life and sales… damage our health and make good nutrition difficult for the average shopper. After decades of processed factory foods and manmade chemicals, alarming levels of long lasting, toxic synthetics are found in our bodies and the biosphere.  The list includes pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics and hormones… which contribute to  America’s health crisis. The effects are self-evident.

But, we… the shoppers… have choices in the marketplace.  Andreading… labels is a simple, positive action anyone can take to reduce food & air pollution.   Every dollar spent is a voice in the feedback loop between consumers and producers, saying what you will buy. Reading labels helps shoppers vote for an organic, fair trade food chain, from the CO2 absorbing soil… to the farmer, to your kitchen table.

Tracy Fernandez Rysavy is Editor in Chief of the Green American Magazine and National Green Pages, both published by Green America, a national advocate for a healthier world.  She promotes sustainably produced, organic food and shares a prime reason to read labels and buy organic.

Rysavy:  The President’s cancer panel said that 41% of all Americans will get cancer at some point in their lives.  This is almost one out of every two people you know.  And one of their top recommendations for being part of the 59% who don’t, was to choose, whenever possible, food grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  And so the way, of course to avoid that, is to choose organic food.

Rysavy says buying organic foods also helps reduce climate-changing pollution.

Rysavy:   Organically farmed soil sequesters nearly 30% more carbon than chemically farmed soil.  If you convert all 434 million acres of US farmland to organic, it would sequester nearly 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to taking 800 thousand cars off the road, annually.  

Alexis Baden-Mayer, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney-activist, is Political Director of the Organic Consumers Association. She lobbies for honest ingredient disclosure against unscrupulous food corporations who, for example, put untested chemicals in baby food and call it organic… and sellunlabeled genetically engineered foods.  She offers some history and some harsh reality.

Baden-Mayer:  Its unbelievable what’s out there still.  The United States is still manufacturing and using on our food pesticides that were part of agent orange in Vietnam, pesticides that leave behind dioxin in our environment and residues even that end up on our food are actually very toxic and can lead to horrible health problems including birth defects and cancer.  90% of the animal products that are not organic are coming from factory farms where animals are fed slaughterhouse waste, genetically engineered crops and kept in horribly inhumane conditions where they’re packed in and very disease ridden.  In order to keep them alive, they have to be shot up with vaccines and antibiotics.  

Baden-Mayer advises reading labels to find pesticide and chemical free organic foods and says buying local meat products helps avoid antibiotics, steroids and hormones fed to feedlot animals.  Reading labels can also help shoppers avoid high fructose corn syrup, which is often genetically engineered and unhealthy, especially for children.

Baden-Mayer:  The USDA Organic label guarantees foods that are at least 95% organic that was not produced with the use of genetic engineering and did not have harmful pesticides.  Reading the labels for organic is the safest, easiest way to guarantee that you’re getting pure food.

Reading labels can help shoppers vote with their dollars, which in turn, helps the biosphere.

Rysavy:  Our wallets are powerful tools for change.  We’ve created the market for organics and fair trade by making these choices at the store.  And they continue to grow because we continue to buy.   So choosing organic is really the way to go, not just for us but for the entire planet.  

For more on how reading labels can help create a healthier world, please visit us at gooddirtradio.org.

Change happens when a critical mass of folks learn about their options and take action.  Reading food labels can help protect your health andthat of the climate and biosphere.

I’m Tami Graham and I’m Tom Bartels.  Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio, digging up good news…. for a change.

One Response to Reading food labels is important to your health

  1. i think our world is beginning to awaken. thanks for this post.
    lisa/z

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