How organic food benefits growing babies
Babies and toddlers go through dramatic growth and cognitive development in the ﬁrst two years of life, a process dependent on adequate nutrition and a healthy environment.
Organic food contains higher nutrient levels, including higher levels of antioxidants, with fewer harmful substances (1).
On the contrary, conventional farming methods produce foods with higher heavy metals, antibiotics, hormones, and genetically modiﬁed (GMO) ingredients. As the immune system is still developing, babies are more susceptible to chemicals and pesticides found in foods farmed conventionally. This, in turn, may have a negative impact on their health and development (2).
There are a number of studies linking pesticide exposure in children with an increase in learning disabilities and behavioural issues such as Attention Deﬁcit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (3).
Wherever possible, preference should be given to provide babies and children with organic food to ensure they are met with the best start in life.
How to eat well on a budget
While eating purely organic food is ideal, there are measures you can put into place to reduce chemical exposure and improve the quality of the food your family eats.
Shopping at a local farmers’ market is a good place to start and can be signiﬁcantly less expensive than big brand supermarkets or organic shops. While the produce may not be 100% organic, shopping locally means a shorter transit time from the farm to your fridge, meaning higher nutrient retention than produce purchased at the supermarket (which can be weeks old by the time you take it home, resulting in loss of vitamins and minerals).
Washing non-organic produce before consuming is important for reducing pesticide residue. Check out our resource on ‘how to reduce pesticides from non-organic fruit and veggies’ for more information on eﬀective washing methods.
Prioritize these foods to purchase organic if you can: Australian crops with the highest pesticide residue (5) – apples, wheat, strawberries, pears, grapes, lettuce, nectarine, peaches.
Always look for organic certification
ACO (Australian Certiﬁed Organic) is Australia’s largest certiﬁer of organic and biodynamic produce.
Being responsible for more than half of the world’s organic produce, Australia has some of the most stringent testing requirements in the world for acquiring organic certiﬁcation, and ACO holds international accreditation for standards of integrity, impartiality, and objectivity (4).
- Barański, M., et al., Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyze. British Journal of Nutrition, 2014. 112(5): p. 794-811.
- Roberts, J.R., et al., Pesticide Exposure in Children. Pediatrics, 2012. 130(6): p. e1765-1788. 3. Koletzko, B., et al., Pesticides in dietary foods for infants and young children. Report of the Working Group on Pesticides in Baby Foods of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN). Archives of Disease in Childhood, 1999. 80(1): p. 91-92.