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CropLife America reports:

One of the unique privileges of living in the U.S. is an almost unlimited number of choices when it comes to food. Not only is there an abundance of flavors and options, but food is grown through different methods, giving families the freedom to be selective in their food purchases.

Similarly, farmers in this country can make the decision as to whether or not they want to grow crops using synthetic pesticides, organic pesticides, a combination of both or none of the above. CropLife America supports the decisions of farmers and consumers, whether they prefer organically or conventionally grown food. When making decisions about food, it can be helpful to keep the following myths in mind:

Myth 1: Organic products are better for you than others.

The evidence surrounding this myth is growing thin. Studies have proven that consuming more produce, regardless of how it was grown, is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Following a comprehensive literature review in 2012, researchers from Stanford University found no significant health differences between organic and conventionally-grown products.

Another related myth surrounds what is known as the "health halo" effect. A newsletter article from the University of California, Berkeley, examines this behavior. Participants in a study were asked to rate the nutritive value of certain foods and consistently ranked the foods with organic labels as higher in fiber and lower in calories. What the participants didn't know was that all the products were actually made the same way!

Myth 2: There are no similarities between conventional and organic farming.

Organic and conventional or traditional farming are not as different as one might believe. For one thing, all farmers are concerned with the impact they have on the environment and implement sustainable practices such as integrated pest management and crop rotation. Both organic and conventional crop production techniques also contribute to improved soil quality and biodiversity. Most importantly, farmers rely on both methods in order to provide food for their communities.

Myth 3: Organic crops are grown without the use of pesticides.

Perhaps the biggest myth is that any product bearing an organic label was grown without the use of pesticides. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that "Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides," but that definition leaves room for biological pesticides such as certain strains of bacteria or plant pesticides that are derived from a plant's own genetic material.

This month's featured CropLife Foundation benefits study offers an example of organic potato production that required the use of a copper-based fungicide. Whether choosing biological or synthetic products, farmers often rely on pesticides in order to effectively control pests and disease.

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