Organic baby food is the best choice for babies. Children are more vulnerable to the dangers of toxins and pesticides in food than adults.
> Baby’s brain, immune and detoxification system are immature and in a state of development.
> Relative to their weight, babies eat 2 to 4 times more vegetables and fruits than adults and proportionately exposed to more contaminants.
> It is still unknown that the long-term health effects of chronic exposure to pesticides are.
Researchers at the University of Washington found that children who ate a diet of organic food had a level of pesticides in their bodies that was six times lower than children who ate a diet of conventionally produced food. Choosing organic baby foods for your baby may cost more, but the benefits are substantial.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets limits on the amount of pesticide that may be used, however, many experts feel that they should be stricter given the risk to children. The USDA found detectable pesticide residue in 73% percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables and 61% percent of the processed fruits and vegetables. While processing foods, they're often peeled, washed, or heated, which removes many pesticide residues. Additionally, foods grown for processing don't need to be cosmetically appealing, so they tend to have less pesticides sprayed on them.
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet for all children. If you choose not to buy organic, don’t avoid fruits and vegetables due to fear of pesticides. The impact of not giving your baby fruits and vegetables in your child's diet is far greater than any potential risk from pesticides. We have some other solutions.
Organic foods are grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals used in industrial farming. If a food is labeled "certified organic," it has been independently verified that it was produced to organic standards. Some foods are advertised as natural or pesticide-free. Unfortunately, these labels do not really guarantee that the food has no pesticide residues. It may contain pesticides below the detection limits of the tests used or ones not on the limited list of pesticides that they tests for. Foods labeled as "no pesticides" often have more residues than organic food but less than conventionally grown food.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the FDA conducted extensive tests on fruits and vegetables and found that these 12 fruits and vegetables tested highest in levels of pesticides: Peaches, Strawberries, Apples, Spinach, Nectarines, Celery, Pears, Cherries, Potatoes, Sweet Bell Peppers, Lettuce, and Imported Grapes. Many of these foods are the most popular choices in baby food.
Foods that tested lowest in pesticide residues are onions, avocados, frozen corn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, frozen peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, and papayas.
The major downside of organic foods is the cost. Here are our tips for making organic foods more affordable.
Shopping at the local farmer's market, farm stand, or food cooperative is usually very affordable and you can get the freshest choices. Ask if it was grown organically. Look for locally grown produce. Fruits and vegetables grown far away require more pesticides to help them survive the long trip. Another money saving tip is to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season.
In order to save money and know exactly what is in their baby’s food, many parents choose to make organic baby foods themselves. While this may sound like a lot of work, it’s actually pretty simple. You can prepare a generous amount and them freeze them into individual servings. There are thousands of free organic baby food recipes and tips online.
Once you make the switch to organic foods, you will be astonished at how much more flavor these foods have than conventionally grown foods.
These tips will help you reduce the pesticides in conventionally grown foods:
> Peel fruits and vegetables, and remove the outer leaves of vegetables like lettuce and cabbage.
> Scrub all fruits and vegetables under running water.
> For foods that are more difficult to wash, soak them briefly before scrubbing them under running water.
> Produce that as mold, bruising, and decay are likely to have more pesticides. Avoid them.
> Cut the animal fat. Pesticides and other environmental chemicals tend to concentrate in the fat and skin of poultry, meat, and fish, so trim it thoroughly before cooking.
> Serving a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will limit repeated consumption of the same pesticide.
Make organic baby food the choice for your baby. She deserves the best!
Baby Safety Resources - Home Page