Organic Foods – Worth it?

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Organic Food

Organic produce has not been shown to be any more nutritious than nonorganic produce. While non-organic crops are cheaper, they have been shown to contain significantly higher amounts

of pesticides, which can build up in your body and cause unwanted health conditions. This should be of particular concern to parents, as children are more susceptible to the ill effects of pesticides because their organ systems (e.g., respiratory and nervous sytems) are still in development.

There are 12 such nonorganic fruits and vegetables have been designated by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a team of scientists, engineers, and policy experts who review scientific data, as the “Dirty Dozen,” containing egregious levels of pesticides. Fifteen other items of produce were designated as “The Clean 15.” That is, they are safe to eat in non-organic forms because they do not normally have any significant amounts of pesticide residue. It is thought that the Clean 15 are clean because they have a tougher outer skin, which protects them from sticky pesticide residue.

A Guide to Buying Produce (adapted from
Dirty Dozen(Buy Organic) Clean 15(You can buy non organic)
Dirty Dozen (Buy Organic) Onions
Peaches Avocados
Apples Sweet corn
Strawberries Pineapples
Domestic Blueberries Mango
Nectarines Sweet peas
Sweet Bell Peppers Asparagus
Spinach, Kale, and Collard Greens Kiwi fruit
Cherries Cabbage
Potatoes Eggplant
Imported Grapes Cantaloupe
Lettuce Watermelon
Celery Grapefruit
  Sweet Potatoes
  Sweet Onions

Organic Meats

Cows and chickens were injected with growth hormones to make them bigger and to make them produce more milk and eggs, and cows (instead just being pastured on grass and hay) were fed corn-based grains and ground meat, which their digestive systems were not made to take.

Large numbers of animals are kept in crowded pens or small cages. They are kept in unnatural conditions and have been reported to be fed non-vegetable feeds, consisting of ground up carcasses of dead animals. The conditions are perfect for food-born disease development, which is eventually passed on to the consumer.

When animals are given feeds that are composed of other ground animals, they are fed unnaturally and develop unnatural diseases. These diseases are transmitted to us in the form of meat and eggs. They are difficult to eliminate, even with cooking or refrigeration.

Similarly growth hormone exposure to animals can lead to the same exposure to you and your family when you eat the foods that come from them. You don’t know what short-term or long-term effects this can have. Finally, from an Islamic point of view, you have to consider whether these animals are acceptable to eat. This goes beyond the thabihah (zabihah), non-thabihah debate, touching on the notion of tayyib, or the requirement of wholesomeness, in food. Most mathahib also disallow the eating of carnivores (and after all, these cows are eating other animals) is not allowed in Islam, no matter how you slaughter it.

Organic meats and poultry come from animals that are not given antibiotics and growth hormones. These animals are allowed to graze (and thus eat vegetation) and are not kept in crowded conditions. Because they are less likely to develop disease, less likely to expose you to antibiotics and growth hormones, and less likely to give you doubt on their Islamic lawfulness, it is highly recommend that you spend the extra money and buy organic meat, poultry, and dairy items.

Excerpt from ‘The Case for Going Organic’

by Sehba Khan, MS, RD

Source: Al Jumuah, Vol 22 Issue 11

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