New Year’s Resolution 2015: Eat Healthy

Missed the December Tell Me More newsletter? Read the blog article below on how you can resolve to eat healthier meals in 2015.

After a month filled with holiday parties, big meals and delicious desserts, many of us resolve to eat healthier in the coming year. To follow the suggestion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), half of each of our plates at every meal should be filled with fruits and vegetables. Thanks to modern agriculture, consumers have the option to purchase food grown using crop protection products, organically including with approved bio-pesticides, or through a combination of both practices to make sure they get all of the food nutrients they need―without breaking the bank.

Regardless of whether produce is grown using pesticides or organic methods, consumers can expect the same amount of vital nutrients. Following a comprehensive literature review in 2012, researchers from Stanford University found no significant health differences between organic produce and those grown using crop protection products. Just be sure to get enough of the right nutrients! As stated by the American Cancer Society, “Vegetables, fruits, and whole grain should form the central part of a person’s diet, regardless of whether they are grown conventionally or organically.”

Moreover, your family can commit to eating better in 2015 with the knowledge that produce grown using pesticides is safe for all to consume, including infants and children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stated in 2012 that “U.S. food does not pose a safety concern based upon pesticide residues.” The Environmental Protection Agency sets strict limits (or tolerances) for pesticide residues at levels 100 to 1,000 times lower than the level at which people could be affected. Over and above these limits, the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) set standards to ensure that infants and children would not be affected by pesticide use. Most organic farmers also use pesticides, and the U.S. National Organic Standards Board has approved more than 20 products that are commonly used to grow and process organic crops, though the government does not monitor the volume of those pesticides used. Whether your family chooses to eat food produced using conventional, synthetic crop protection products or organic methods, they can feel confident that their food is safe to eat.

In addition to producing nutritious and safe foods, modern agriculture benefits the economy, helps reduce energy consumption and decreases your grocery bill. The national use of crop protection products across 20 food sector components helps contribute an additional $166.5 billion, approximately, to the economy annually and helps a family of four save nearly 48 percent at the grocery store. Considering environment effects, herbicides allow farmers to practice conservation tillage and reduce their use of fuel for tillage by 50 percent; this leads to a reduction of 558 million gallons of fossil fuels per year and up to 90 percent reduction in the erosion of soil.

You and your loved ones can make a commitment to eat right in an affordable and safe manner in the New Year thanks to modern agriculture. As the American Heart Association suggests, “Be sure to buy and eat plenty of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables that are deeply colored throughout – such as spinach, carrots, peaches and berries – tend to be higher in vitamins and minerals…” Thank a farmer this holiday season; you’ll be able to get the nutrients you need next year due to their hard work year-round.

For more information, download CLA’s Communicating the Safety of Our Health Produce User Toolkit. Or, download CLA’s News Years poster, which highlights the role that farmers around the world and modern agriculture play in growing the foods that are believed to provide good luck and help us ring in the New Year.

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