Spend More at the Store

by

One of the things I am most passionate about is clean, healthy food.

You might expect that as a dietitian I would be passionate about food, or because of my life-threatening illness that I would believe strongly in eating organic, pesticide-, herbicide-, and fungicide-free, unprocessed, and non-GMO food. And you would be right again. I also believe it is our right, all of ours, to have such food available!

I have friends who fall on both sides of the debate whether to eat organic or conventional food. And I respect them both. Here’s my take on it: you are going to have to spend money on your health either way, so better it should be at the grocery store buying more expensive organic food versus at the doctor’s office or at the hospital. You definitely have a choice, and you vote with your money every time you go to the store.

My preference is to spend a little more each time at the store than to spend a lot all at once obtaining medical care. It may be seem difficult to spend more on food because of financial obligations. I get that too. Environmental Working Group (EWG) makes it easy to make choices about what to buy organic and what is okay to buy conventional. Every year EWG puts out a list of the most and least contaminated foods. Those lists are called the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. Both can be found at

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

At the very least we could all buy the list of dirty dozen foods in the organic section and the clean foods in the conventional section. According to the simple rule of economics, the higher the demand for organic food, the higher the supply will be, and the more the price will go down (from more competitors in the market supplying organic food), making organic food more affordable for all people.

But something is threatening our access to organic, non-GMO (genetically modified) food. It is called the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know). This act passed in the House of Representatives last summer and now is in the Senate. If this bill passes, companies that produce food products (processed foods) will never have to disclose what is in their products or whether a food is non-GMO.

Currently a few states have legislation demanding companies disclose whether their products are non-GMO and organic. However, this bill will supersede any of their efforts.

Companies claim it will cost them too much to redesign their labels to include non-GMO on the label. But we all know this isn’t true because companies redesign their labels on a regular basis to make the labels more attractive to consumers in hopes that consumers will buy more of their products.

The real issue is whether or not the company wants to disclose that their products are non-GMO. Thankfully more and more people are seeking non-GMO foods and products labeled as such. And because of that demand, food companies are currently placing the non-GMO logo on their labels voluntarily. If the DARK Act passes, they will no longer have to do so.

You may be wondering why this is such a bid deal. What’s the problem with genetically modified foods? That is a topic that is much bigger than this post and so I urge you to read my forth coming post about GMO foods. For now, suffice it to say, if you want to stay healthy or if you are trying to recover from something and trying to get healthy, organic, non-GMO food is the first place to start.

And, though I wasn’t intending to make this post a call to action, I will mention the importance of contacting your state senators to let them know you are opposed to the DARK Act. For more information, you can read about it here:

http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2016/03/new-dark-act-would-keep-american-consumers-hold