Organic food is known to have better health value compared to non-organic food. That’s the reason the demand for organic food went up by 30% during the last. Most organic food tastes better than non-organic and it can help to prevent cancer and heart diseases. The organic food is grown without the use of pesticides and therefore offers a safer environment for animals and birds.
However, you might not be able to get all these benefits from organic food, especially if your food is being grown in California.
The US Department of Agriculture provides organic standards for farms who want to label their food as ‘organic’. However, these standards were written 15 years ago and they haven’t been replaced with new standards ever since. According to these original organic food standards, the farmers are under no obligation to avoid using petroleum-laced waste water. In Southern California, the water from gas and oil wells is being used to grow your organic food. This water is petroleum-laced and it causes multitude of problems, even when the food is otherwise organic.
Oil companies last year supplied half the water that went to the 45,000 acres of farmland in Kern County’s Cawelo Water District, farmland that is owned, in part, by Sunview, a company that sells certified organic raisins and grapes. Food watchdog groups are concerned that the state hasn’t required oil companies to disclose all the chemicals they use in oil drilling and fracking operations, much less set safety limits for all those chemicals in irrigation water.
A spokesman for the USDA’s National Organics Program confirmed that it has little to say on the matter. “The USDA organic regulations do not directly address the use of irrigation water on organic farms,” said the spokesman, who asked to be quoted on background, “but organic operations must generally maintain or improve the natural resources of the operation, including soil and water quality.”
Of course, that’s easier said than done. USDA organic regulations do not require farms to perform water quality tests, and irrigation water is not evaluated as an input by the Organic Materials Review Institute, which vets products used on organic farms. Calls placed to California Certified Organic Farmers, which certifies organic farms in California, were not returned.
Irrigation water appears to be a major loophole in a food safety program that otherwise strictly controls what farmers can apply to their land. Notably, the organics program does prohibit the use of sewage sludge-based fertilizer, a product widely used on nonorganic farms that sometimes contains chemicals such as flame retardants and pharmaceuticals.
On Monday, California Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Democrat from Glendale, introduced a bill that would require crops irrigated with wastewater from oil and gas operations to be labeled as such. “No one expects their lettuce to contain heavy chemicals from fracking wastewater,” he explained in a press release.
That’s especially true if their lettuce is labeled “organic,” adds Adam Scow, the California director of the environmental group Food and Water Watch: “I think most people’s logic would tell them that’s not a practice consistent with organic standards.”
If you want to consume 100% organic food and you can’t trust USDA labeled ‘organic’ food just yet with no regulations controlling the irrigation water, you can start growing your own organic vegetables in a rooftop garden. Check out this video below to learn to do it youself.
GROW YOUR OWN ORGANIC VEGETABLES
Read full article at Mother Jones.