In recent year, more organic food is on the shelf and organic shops are set up as a result of consumer being more health conscious nowadays. Organic food is perceived as the healthier and safer option but not everyone fully understand what “organic” is about. Here the definition –

Organic vegetables and fruits are produced without synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage slugged, irradiation or genetically modified organisms (GMO) while organic livestock are raised without antibiotics and growth hormones [1].

“Organic” label are regulated by USDA in US while organic food produced in Malaysia is required to comply with The Standard of Organic Agriculture by Skim Organik Malaysia (SOM)

“Organic” does not mean pesticides free but using the approved pesticides which are mostly naturally occurring instead of synthetic pesticides. In general, naturally occurring pesticides which normally degrade quickly are less harmful to human and environment than synthetic pesticides. Conventional farming uses synthetic pesticides include organochlorine, organophosphate, carbamate, and pyrethroid insecticides which are concerning due to their toxicity and persistence in the environment. The effect of pesticides on human health is strongly dependent on the amount of pesticide accumulated, the length and frequency of exposure and potential toxicity of the pesticide [3]. In another word, pesticide could be toxic if exceeded certain level even it has been approved safe to be used. Exposure to pesticides can be through skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation. Pesticides will accumulate in human body and also in the ecosystem.

In recent year, more organic food is on the shelf and organic shops are set up as a result of consumer being more health conscious nowadays. Organic food is perceived as the healthier and safer option but not everyone fully understand what “organic” is about. Here the definition – organic vegetables and fruits are produced without synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage slugged, irradiation or genetically modified organisms (GMO) while organic livestock are raised without antibiotics and growth hormones . “Organic” label are regulated by USDA in US while organic food produced in Malaysia is required to comply with The Standard of Organic Agriculture by Skim Organik Malaysia (SOM)

Research showed that pesticides could be carcinogen and neurotoxicants. Higher exposure of pesticides is related to increase risk of prostate cancer and lung cancer.  The relationship between pesticides and other cancers remain inconclusive due to inconsistence result in studies. Currently, arsenic-containing insecticides are recognized as carcinogenic in humans while many others remained suspicious. There is a meta-analysis of all case control showed a positive, statistically significant association between pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s disease [6]. Children are more vulnerable and susceptible to environmental toxicants including pesticides. There is evidence showed that a link between pesticides and neonatal reflexes, psychomotor and mental development, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.

Consumers should also take note that pesticides could not be completely removed with washing even peeling. Hence, choosing your food wisely for yourself and your family are the direct measure in reducing dietary exposure to pesticide residue. You may consider about taking organic food. According to EWG’s Dirty DozenTM , the 15 fruits and vegetables have the most pesticides are: Strawberries, Spinach, Kale, Nectarines, Apples, Grapes, Peaches, Cherries, Pears, Tomatoes, Celery and Potatoes. You may choose organic type for these fruits and vegetables. In addition, organic farming also helps to reduce pollution to the soil and water which is better for the animal and people who live around the farm. Going into organic food is a step closer to healthy life and healthy environment.

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