Keeping Your Food Safe
Ohio farmers and their families are consumers as well, which means you can rest assured that they are dedicated to growing healthy, safe food for consumers to enjoy. Farmers are very careful to work with plants’ natural growth cycles when applying fertilizer to offer further nutrients or when crop protection products are necessary to prevent disease and fight off invasive weeds and pests to keep crops healthy. The same goes for treating livestock, with prompt veterinary care and antibiotics being applied only when needed for the health and well-being of the animals – and always at prescribed and safe levels.
Once the crops and livestock are ready, they go to grain elevators and food processing plants where they are prepared for grocery stores, markets and restaurants. These facilities have strict quality control standards, testing processes and stringent food handling procedures that help make the United States’ food safety system the most sophisticated in the world.
While Ohio farmers, and farmers across the country, believe it’s important for you to be vigilant and stay informed about the food you eat, they also take pride in providing you with healthy, safe food options while always working to improve their products and practices.
What’s the Difference Between Organic and Non-Organic?
Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher the facts in the conversation surrounding organic vs. non-organic food production. While it is always an individual choice of purchase, there are a few unfounded claims on the topic that you deserve to be aware of before determining which option is best for your family.
The bottom line is that organic foods aren’t necessarily healthier, safer or more nutritious just because they wear that label. In fact, the nutritional content is not altered in any way based on the methods in which it’s grown. The same can be said of food safety. Whether organic or non-organic, all foods must meet stringent health and safety regulations before being sold to consumers, including those of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So no matter your decision to consume organic or non-organic foods, you can rest assured that it is healthy, safe and nutritious.
For more answers to your food questions, please visit the Common Ground website.
What is Agricultural Biotechnology?
Agricultural biotechnology allows selected individual, naturally occurring genes to be transferred from one organism to another.
Today 94 percent of U.S. soybeans come from biotech seeds. The genes introduced to these plants help in a variety of ways, including:
- Better protection from insects, weeds and diseases, which in turn reduces the use of pesticides and herbicides;
- Ability for the plants to thrive in adverse conditions, such as drought, which could enable farmers in arid, developing countries to grow more food to feed their hungry populations;
- Holding nutrients beneficial to the people and animals that eat them; and
- Increasing crop yields so farmers in the U.S. and around the world can produce more with less – fewer acres, fewer crop protection chemicals less impact on natural resources, such as water and soil.
Biotechnology has brought significant positive advancements to the production of soybeans and other crops while lessening impacts on the environment. And it will continue to play a key role in meeting our future food, fuel, feed and fiber needs.
Is Biotechnology Safe?
Yes. Biotechnology is a safe and efficient way to improve food nutrition, increase the amount of food that can be grown on the same amount of land and sustain natural resources. It’s understandable that people become wary when the words science and technology are used in relation to food. However, farmers have been creating plant hybrids for as long as they’ve been growing plants. Biotechnology simply serves as a more technologically advanced method. It is also important to note that the FDA and EPA examine every plant improved through the use of biotechnology for potential health risks. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that current foods containing biotech ingredients have never been shown to have a negative effect on human health.
Should You Be Concerned About Antibiotics in Meat?
The FDA does not allow meat to be sold with traces of antibiotics above strictly safe limits. The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) performs randomly scheduled testing of meat nationwide. According to FDA and FSIS regulations, livestock antibiotic use requires specific withdrawal times, or a set number of days that must pass between the last antibiotic treatment and the animal entering the food supply. This ensures the drugs have sufficiently cleared an animal’s system and the meat you purchase in stores is safe for you and your family to eat.