Chemical PesticidesOne hallmark of organic food is that it is raised without chemical insecticides and herbicides. Chemical insecticides can help to protect plants from insects that damage the plants and spread disease and chemical herbicides kill weeds. However, these chemical pesticides raise many health concerns. Chemical pesticide residue on fruit and vegetables can expose consumers to the chemicals in the pesticides. Even thorough washing may be inadequate to completely remove all traces of these pesticides from our food. Similarly, farm workers can be exposed to chemical pesticides while working in the fields. Their exposure level is much higher than the end consumer because they handle crops before they have been washed. Moreover, farm workers who apply chemical pesticides may absorb the pesticides through their skin and inhale the pesticide vapors in the air. Finally, people living near a farm that uses chemical pesticides may be exposed. Occasionally, this occurs through the air. However, the most common source of contamination is water sources. Runoff from fields that have been treated with pesticides can carry chemicals into wells, lakes, rivers, and ground aquifers. Because organic food is raised without chemical insecticides and herbicides, it may be susceptible to attacks by insects and weeds. As a result, yields of organic crops are usually lower than non-organic crops, leading to higher prices for organic food than non-organic food. However, it is generally believed that pesticide-free organic food is safer for consumers, farmers and farm workers, and water sources. However, the lack of chemical insecticides and herbicides does not mean that these plants are left defenseless. Good insects can be imported into a garden to battle bad insects. For example, ladybugs eat aphids and wasps lay eggs inside aphids, eliminating these pests that suck the sap from plants and infect them with disease. Similarly, certain plants, such as marigolds, repel pests and attract pollinators, such as bees, when planted near crop plants.
Chemical FertilizersChemical fertilizers are, in some ways, responsible for increasing yields to the point that most of us never have to grow our own food. However, chemical fertilizers can raise many potential environmental issues. Thus, organic food is raised without chemical fertilizers. There are concerns that chemical fertilizers can cause health problems for consumers, farm workers, and farmers. Similarly, chemicals from fertilizers can enter water sources through runoff from fertilized fields. However, fertilizers also raise environmental issues. Chemical fertilizers contain nitrogen, which is absorbed by plants to produce chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the chemical that makes plants green and allows plants to convert sunlight into energy. However, microbes in the soil convert nitrogen to nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas. This gas is released into the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. Another concern about fertilizers is their effect on topsoil. Plants naturally absorb nutrients from the soil. In a more natural state, plants that die would decompose under the influence of microbes and replenish the nutrients in the soil over time. However, these natural processes take a long time, so farmers replace these natural sources of nutrients with chemical fertilizers. Ironically, the topsoil becomes more and more depleted of nutrients as more chemical fertilizers are added because the organic matter from decaying plants never makes it into the soil. Organic compost, which consists of decayed plant matter, can replace chemical fertilizers when raising organic food. Even though compost lacks the chemicals in fertilizer, it can still increase yields and, more importantly, replenishes nutrients in topsoil naturally.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)GMOs are not allowed to claim that they are organic. That is, all foods certified as organic by the USDA are GMO-free. In a way, most food crops are GMOs. Selective breeding and hybridization have created versions of food crops that are very different from their naturally-occurring ancestors. Beginning as early as the mid-1800s, scientists had attributed these ancient farming practices to genetic selection. Since that time, the best schools in agriculture have sought to improve upon Mother Nature with plants that are more resistant to adverse conditions and produce hardier fruits and vegetables. However, GMOs represent something different. GMOs do not take advantage of naturally-occurring genetic mutations to develop more beneficial characteristics in food crops. Rather, GMOs are typically transgenic, meaning that they contain genes from other species to carry their characteristics to food crops. For example, in one famous case, a fish gene was spliced into tomato plants to make them less susceptible to frost. These tomatoes were never commercialized, but this example is iconic of the possibilities, both good and bad, presented by GMOs. There have been no specific health concerns raised about GMOs. That is, no human diseases or disorders have been tied to the consumption of GMOs. However, there are concerns about the effects of GMOs on the environment. Like the cases of invasive plants and animals, many environmentalists are concerned that GMOs could be difficult or impossible to control. This could lead GMOs to spread so widely that they crowd out native plants or even other crop plants, resulting in loss of biodiversity and crop losses. This concern is not unfounded. Rapeseed plants — the plants that produce canola oil — that have been genetically modified to resist the chemical pesticide Roundup have escaped from controlled fields into the wild in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. These GMOs were intended to be sterile, but have cross-bred with feral rapeseed plants to create a hybrid. Since this plant has never existed before in either nature or the wild, scientists know almost nothing about it.
SludgeAlthough animal manure is considered an organic fertilizer, treated sewage, also known as sludge, is not. That is, for the USDA to certify food as organic, it must be grown without sludge. The issue with sludge is not necessarily that it is made from human waste. Manure and human waste are dense with nutrients that plants need. However, human waste is not the only component of sewage. People commonly dispose of household and industrial cleaners, pharmaceuticals, and other toxic substances by pouring them down the drain or into a toilet. Although sludge has been heat-treated to kill any microbes, it is not purified to remove these other substances. As a result, unintended toxins can make it into sludge. When the sludge is used to fertilize plants, these toxic chemicals can work their way onto, and into, the fruits and vegetables. Soil testing has revealed that sludge can carry heavy metals, dioxins, and other carcinogens into the soil.
Organic MeatIn addition to the restrictions on artificial chemicals used to grow organic fruits and vegetables, the USDA has defined “organic meat” as meat that is raised without hormones and antibiotics. Hormones were implanted into animals so that the animals grow faster. In fact, cattle implanted with a hormone pellet grows up to 20% faster than non-implanted cattle. This means that they are ready for slaughter sooner and ranchers can turn over faster. Research on whether synthetic hormones in meat causes any adverse health effects. However, erring on the side of caution, organic meat is raised without added hormones. Farm animals may also be injected with antibiotics. The purpose of this is not to keep you, the consumer, safe from food-borne illnesses. Rather, it is to prevent diseases from spreading among the farm animals, wiping out the farmer’s or rancher’s animals. The concern about animals raised with antibiotics is that the practice can create stronger and hardier antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. For example, antibiotic-resistant E. coli strains likely arose from the use of antibiotics in chicken farms. These strains cause minor illnesses in healthy people but can be fatal in young children, senior citizens, and people with compromised immune systems. Even steps such as proper storage of meat in fridge freezers are not enough to kill these strains. Rather, meat and vegetables infected with these E. coli strains have to be cooked beyond recognition or thrown out.
Humane MeatThe movement for organic meat is sometimes conflated with the movement for humane meat. Organic meat does not mean “humane” and there is no requirement that organic meat is raised and slaughtered humanely. Rather, organic meat merely refers to the lack of artificial chemicals used to raise the meat. That said, humane meat, particularly as it relates to free-range, feedlot free, and cage-free, may have less environmental impact than factory ranches and farms. Factory ranches and farms produce a great deal of animal waste that is allowed to run off into fields and water sources. In fact, it is believed that the recurring outbreaks of E. coli bacteria in vegetable fields are due, at least in some cases, to runoff of animal waste from ranches and farms. Free-range animals, on the other hand, wander freely rather than being penned into feedlots. When animals graze and forage in pastures, there is less concentration of waste which is less likely to produce massive runoff.
MethaneAlthough there are ways to raise organic and humane meat, we should not overlook the fact that meat is very resource-intensive and results in a massive release of carbon. Raising meat consumes much more water, energy, and land on a per calorie basis than plants. Moreover, animals produce methane, the second most common greenhouse gas, whereas plants absorb carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. Consequently, many scientists believe that one of the most eco-friendly food choices you can make is to reduce your consumption of meat and increase your consumption of plant-based foods. In fact, this matches up with the recommendations for a healthy diet. Dietitians recommend that half of your diet comes from fruits and vegetables and the other half come from whole grains and protein sources. When choosing protein sources, dietitians recommend fish, poultry, nuts, and beans, while limiting consumption of red meat, cheese, and processed meat. Moreover, dietitians recommend avoiding added sugar. Not only will your dentist love you, but your risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes will also be reduced.
Carbon FootprintWhen making eco-friendly food choices, you should consider the carbon used to both produce and transport the food. It can be difficult to determine how much carbon is used to produce your food. For example, for a farm located in another state, you would have no way of knowing whether a farm uses wind power or solar energy rather than being connected to the electrical grid. However, if you buy locally, you realize many benefits including:
- You can develop an idea of how much carbon the farm uses to produce your food.
- You know how far the food was transported.
- You contribute to the local economy and support local farmers and businessmen.
WasteWhile it may not be a primary consideration, you may want to seek out food that uses efficient custom packaging. For example, buying in bulk and storing in reusable containers can reduce the waste associated with packaging. Similarly, seeking out recyclable packaging, such as paper wrapping, rather than single-use packaging, such as styrofoam, can minimize waste. You can also reduce waste by storing food safely so that it does not need to be thrown away uneaten.
Eating OutMaking eco-friendly food choices does not necessarily preclude eating out. On the contrary, the best caterers and restaurants that produce high-quality food can bring us happiness and while minimizing the environmental impact of that food. In fact, those in the food service industry often have an excellent feel for local organic food sources, efficient food service equipment, and humane meat. If you find a restaurant with an environmentally-conscious owner and chef, you might want to support it as part of your eco-friendly food choices. Making eco-friendly food choices does not mean that you will be eating twigs and caterpillars from your backyard. However, it does mean understanding terms like organic food, GMO, and locavore. It also means that you need to understand where your food comes from, how it was produced, and how far it was transported. Additionally, being conscious of the nutritional content and packaging allows you to get the most out of your food while having the least impact on the environment.
There are a lot of restaurants in America that serve Americanized versions of Mexican dishes. Just about anything you can find on a Taco Bell menu is going to be Tex-Mex rather than authentic Mexican food. Good authentic Mexican restaurants tend to be few and far between, and generally people don’t know what they’re looking for.
If you want to know how to tell if a restaurant offers genuine Mexican dishes, there are plenty things you can look for. More than likely you will be steering clear of things that look familiar to you and opening up to a whole new menu.
Tacos and BurritosWhen it comes to tacos and burritos, they are authentic Mexican food if they’re made the right way. The right way isn’t going to include lots of melted cheese, nor will it have shredded lettuce and tomatoes. Mexican tacos are generally topped with items like onion, cilantro and lime. They are also served on soft corn tortillas rather than crunchy shells or flour tortillas. As for the burri
So you’re on the market for a refrigerated trailer, but you still haven’t decided what kind you want to get. Should you buy a brand new trailer? A used one? Or what about the renew reefer trailers you’ve heard about? While there are benefits to all three options, purchasing a renew reefer trailer is the best way to get the most quality for the best price.
What is a Renew Reefer Trailer?Renew trailers are sort of a happy medium between new and used. The trailer itself is usually lightly used, but has a new reefer unit installed. They are becoming a more popular option within the industry because of the benefits that come with them and how great of an economic choice they are.
Quality on a BudgetOne of the biggest draws of these renew trailers is that you get the best of both worlds. You pay a lower price due the trailer being used, but you still get all the benefits o
We have truly evolved into an online world where nearly all we need can be bought online and delivered to our door. This can be a very good way to save time and money as it keeps you from lingering in the wine store and making impulse purchases. There are a number of reasons people order wine online and here are a few of the many benefits to consider.
When buying cheap wine online you can avoid the shopping trip and save time by ordering online. There are a number of different sales and specials you can take advantage of while shopping online, and it keeps you from buying products you had no intention of buying to begin with. Buying wine online keeps you sticking to your list and avoiding the hustle and bustle of shopping, time is our number one commodity and if we can avoid wasting it we might as well.
Buying wine online makes it very easy to send gifts to loved ones around the globe. You don’t need to worry about shipping it, the company you are buying the wine from is in
Planning any kind of a gathering, a party, or an event can be a very stressful job. This is something that involves a lot of nuances and small details that you need to always keep in mind to make sure that everything works in sync with each other and the results remain memorable. Whenever you are tasked with organizing and executing any kind of a party or an event, one of the most important things that you would need to get right. Serving good food at your party will virtually guarantee happy guests and this is where choosing the right food and the right menu can really come in handy.
When it comes to party food, one of the ways you can make sure that your menu remains cohesive and interesting while also providing your guests with a very interesting taste and aroma experience is to choose Mexican food. Widely popular in the country, Mexican food has a rich history of using interesting and exciting ingredients and layering flavors and spices in a number of creative ways to make fo
Everyone needs to eat, and bakeries, meat shops, produce stands, and more are out there to create all kinds of foods. Not to mention all sorts of restaurants, from casual diners to upscale restaurants in cities. Meals doesn’t just appear out of nowhere, though; the right hand tools and machines are used to tenderize meat, prepare bread dough, and a whole lot more. All of this work used to be done by hand, but now, a dough sheeter, commercial bakery mixer, a meat tenderizer machine, and more can be used. Hardware like a meat tenderizer machine can produce food more rapidly and neatly than a person can, and for a busy bakery with a lot of customers, commercial bakery mixers can be a lifesaver. A meat cutter machine for sale or a wholesale meat tenderizer machine can be attractive to many restaurants or other establishments, sin
Here in the United States, the restaurant industry is a hugely important one. After all, restaurants bring in a good deal of revenue on a yearly basis, particularly when it comes to fine dining. In fact, the revenue generated by fine dining establishments actually now accounts for a collective 10% of all sales made in all restaurants over the course of just one year here in the United States, let alone elsewhere outside the country and in the rest of the world.
After all, the average person will pay more than $28 when they visit a fine dining establishment, and some people will even actually end up paying considerably more than that, depending on a number of factors like what food was ordered and the specific fine dining establishment in question. Of course, this means that the quality of the food that is produced is particularly important and must please all the senses, from sight to smell to, finally, taste.
One way to do this is through organic micro green varieties. Micro
Whether you’re a wine fanatic who is looking for a new flavor or completely new to the world of wine and unsure of what to get, it can help to have a guide on types of wine. There are a lot out there and often the wine shelves at liquor stores can be overwhelming. If you’ve ever found yourself staring down the rows of bottles with no idea to where to start, this guide is for you.
Choosing the right wine for you strongly depends on your palate. Some people steer clear of more bitter wines, because they can handle the dry flavor while others find sweet red wines to be too rich. There is a wide range of flavors from intensely dry to overwhelmingly sweet, and everything else in between. Some have specific undertones that change the experience of the flavor and they can range from oaky to fruity.
Wine stores can be a great place to start rather than your corner l
When it comes to going out to eat, there’s no denying that Mexican restaurants are a popular choice for Americans. As of 2017, there are about 60,000 Mexican restaurants dispersed all across the American landscape-about nine percent of all the restaurants in the country.
One out of every 10 restaurants in the United States sells Mexican food, making it the most popular style of international cuisine in the country. In fact, there are more than 67,000 restaurants that serve a burrito.
Need further proof of the popularity of Mexican cuisine in the United States? The invention of Tex-Mex (which occurred in the 1940s) is one good example of integration of American and Mexican culture and fusion of food. These days, tacos are a big deal among foodies and Americans consume four billion of them each year.
Apart from eating at the neighborhood Mexican restaurant, Americans are chowing down on Mexican cuisine at home. Mexican food continues to be the most popular ethnic food seg
Ice cream and other types of frozen treats are quite popular within the United States. Whether Americans enjoy ice cream for dessert or a between-meal snack, the NPD Group’s research shows that 40% will have ice cream every two weeks. This amounts to the average person consuming ice cream about 28.5 times a year. Given the popularity of sweet, frozen concoctions, it’s not surprising 90% of American households choose to treat themselves on a regular basis.