California Strawberries Should Be Organic
Almost after six years of raising the red flags on the highly volatile chemical, Midas, or methyl-iodide-based chemical, its Tokyo-based manufacturer has agreed to suspend its sale. Midas is mainly used to fumigate strawberry fields just before planting the fruit trees. This chemical is also used on California strawberries. It may be recalled that California produces 90% of the country’s strawberries. Well, it may sound like a scary combination but all is well now, apparently, at least. But let us recall the facts that led to the suspension of Midas.
1) Six Struggling Years
Right since the last days of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, public health groups, scientists, consumers, as well as a dozen other stakeholders have been pressing the Californian administration to take back the approval granted for use of Methyl iodide in the strawberry fields. The main contention was that the chemical, being highly volatile, was also touted as “one of the most toxic chemicals on earth.” That was two years ago and all this while, the administration was being pressurized to not let this chemical be used on the strawberry fields.
2) An Experiment
Apparently, an experiment, conducted at a comprehensive scale, by John Reganold, PhD, Washington State University Regents professor of soil science, led to the change of attitude on part of the Government. Reganold and his team took three varieties of strawberries and planted them side by side across 13 organic and 13 conventional fields. The results of this experiment are no surprise considering the fact that organically cultivated fruits and vegetables have always found favor with the general public. In this case as well, the strawberries grown on organic fields were found to be more nutritious than the ones grown on conventional fields, under chemical guidance.
3) Significant Addition
The Reganold experiment could, well, be the last nail in the coffin of conventional farming, which advocates use of chemical fertilizers like methyl iodide, which besides being toxic, also do nothing to enhance the nutritive value of the crop. Speaking about his study, Reganold says, “There is no study that represents reality as well as this one does. What makes it so strong is that we have so much data.” He quotes about 150 more such studies, conducted on various fruits and vegetables. Although only 10 out of these 150 studies are considered scientifically valid, 80% of those studies favor organic methods of cultivation.
4) Reganold’s Results
The results of Reganold’s experiments were published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS and they show that:-
- Organic strawberries were smaller but denser in weight.
- Organic strawberries had 10% more Vitamin C.
- Organic strawberries had 9% higher antioxidants.
Taste is also no problem as was suggested in a blind test of the organic strawberries by a consumer panel. The tasters said that the organic version of strawberry was much better in taste than the one grown on fertilizer.
So, now that you are aware of the difference between the organic and chemically-grown strawberries, which ones would you buy? If you are still not convinced, here is why organic foods score more.