"The goals of organic are to preserve environmental and human health, and they were built in a way that they are dynamic, so they can change, and they do change as our understanding expands."
—Jessica Shade, director of science programs at The Organic Center
Moderator Kate Geagan, a registered dietician and nutrition consultant leads the discussion with Jessica Shade, PhD, director of science programs at The Organic Center; Tracy Misiewicz, PhD, associate director of science programs at The Organic Center; and Asa Bradman, PhD, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, who studies the effects of exposure to pesticides and toxic substances on humans.
Part 1: Is organic food better than conventional food?
- Studies show positive effects of organic practices on species diversity, soil health and water quality.
- The next frontier of research is to determine how organic food affects human health.
Part 2: Organic food carries little to no risk of exposing humans to pesticides and toxic substances
- Fetuses, babies and young children are more at risk to exposure than adults.
- An ongoing study is following 300 children to see how pesticide exposure affects them.
Part 3: Conventional agriculture practices increase the dangers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
- Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is found at conventional farms, surrounding areas and even grocery stores.
- Each year, 23,000 people die after exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- USDA-backed organic standards ensure that organic livestock aren’t given antibiotics.
Part 4: Helping consumers understand organic's benefits
- Organic foods reduce exposure to pesticides and antibiotic-resistance bacteria.
- Don’t assume customers know what organic certification covers.
- Organic standards evolve as scientific research makes new discoveries.
Part 5: Organic practices can help the environment and health
- Organic farming reduces emissions of greenhouse gases, as more carbon stays in the soil.
- Choosing an organic diet can help protect from the dangers we don’t yet understand.
Part 6: Audience members share concerns about costs, standards
- Concerns about low-income residents’ access to organic foods are widespread.
- Standards need to be established for household goods and personal products.
This session—Sharing the Organic Story—was recorded at Natural Products Expo West 2018.