‘No need to wash this apple. It’s organic, after all.’ When it comes to healthfulness, many of us give organic foods a wildly generous hall pass. Since we know they’re free of harmful pesticides and chemicals, we figure they’re safe to consume.
However, new data from the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture has shown safety recalls of organic food products have jumped sharply this year (we can't catch a break, can we?). Organic foods accounted for just two percent of recalls last year, with that number rising to seven percent this year.
Note that part of the growing consumption of organic foods partly accounts for this increase. “A key point to keep in mind is that an overall increase in organic recalls between 2012 and 2015 would not be surprising — not because organic food is less safe, but because of the dramatic increase in organic food sales and purchases that we’ve been seeing in this country,” said Gwendolyn Wyard, senior director of regulatory and technical affairs at the Organic Trade Association, to the New York Times.
Still, the rising number of organic food recalls serves as a striking reminder that 'natural' doesn’t necessarily mean it’s protected from bacterial contamination. In fact, it’s precisely the opposite. The pesticides and chemicals that organic foods cannot lawfully contain are what prevent many common food-borne illnesses.
To avoid getting sick, experts say it’s important to wash fruits and veggies no matter where they come from—even your own garden. What do you think of the growing popularity of organic foods? Do you have any tricks for keeping your family safe from pathogens?