Hey toxicologists, is organic food safer to eat?

Michael L. Dourson, Ph.D., DABT, Fats, FSRA

Choose just about any newspaper or journal and all through the program of a calendar year, just one or a lot more posts will be devoted to the rewards (or not) of organic food items and the downsides (or not) of conventionally developed food stuff with pesticides and herbicides. These articles or blog posts are typically puzzling. 

So how does a single type them out?

Food stuff, no matter whether organically or conventionally grown, is a mixture of chemical compounds, several of which our bodies want in get to functionality nicely. Natural meals will come from plants developed with out added pesticides, herbicides or genetic modification, whereas conventionally developed foods may perhaps use one or a lot more of these products.

However, not all substances in foods are useful to our physique, and some of them are dangerous at a sure stage, like too much aflatoxin — a natural fungal item — in peanut butter. And did you know the crops we expand for foods in a natural way produce pesticides and herbicides to defend by themselves from insects and weeds?

Far more:Michael Dourson: Far too considerably of a good matter?

Any gardener who has tried to increase tomatoes close to a walnut tree can tell you this is accurate — the walnut tree’s roots create a herbicide that is poisonous to tomato vegetation. The use of pesticides and herbicides, no matter if human-built or purely natural, typically effects in tiny amounts of these chemical compounds in our food.

Enter genetic modification

Genetic modification (GM) of a foods crop, no matter whether completed in the lab or via traditional crossbreeding, is normally a single way to get the crop to acquire a new pesticide or herbicide, or to enhance the level of an previously existing all-natural a single. These types of modification also might give the crop a way to resist destruction by a human-made herbicide.

The organic and natural foods market has been gaining popularity for several years and hit a sales record of $52.5 billion in 2018.

So corn can be genetically modified in the lab to make a protein to protect it towards insect problems and at the very same time to resist harm by human-made herbicides utilised to eliminate weeds. The use of GM corn with both of these features is well-liked mainly because it not only improves yields but also lessens plowing, soil erosion, and use of common pesticides and herbicides.