Healthy lifestyle choices, however, are not limited to food. Tom’s
of Maine produces toothpaste, antiperspirant, deodorant, mouth-
wash and dental floss without artificial colors, flavors, fragrances
or preservatives. While only select products are organic, their
entire inventory is IFANCA halal-certified, with the exception of
their bar soap and new “Wicked Fresh!” Mouthwash.
Public Affairs Manager, Susan Dewhirst points to their Steward-
ship Model that calls for “natural, sustainable, and responsible.”
They require that ingredients be “high quality, sourced in na-
ture, simple and understandable, free of artificial additives and
animal ingredients, subject to limited processing.” Further, they
avoid animal-testing and use packaging that is biodegradable,
renewable, and recyclable. All the while, Tom’s of Maine strives
to make its products sustainable for both the environment and
consumer’s wallets. After all, it’s the cost and sustainability of
organic products that are the deal-breaker for consumers. Which
brings us to our next question — do organic products make eco-
nomic sense for consumers?
CAN WE AFFORD THE ORGANIC ROUTE?
Whole Foods is often satirized as ‘Whole PayCheck’. When shop-
ping, you may notice that the only difference between the organic
section and conventional produce is the price. However, accord-
ing to several Medical News Today reports, pesticides found in
conventional farming show a link between cancer, decreased male
fertility, Parkinson’s disease, fetal abnormalities, and chronic
fatigue syndrome in children. According to the National Academy
of Science, neurological and behavioral effects may result from
low-level exposure to pesticides. Other studies show a connection
between non-organic food and coronary heart disease, allergies,
and hypersensitivity in children. The USDA notes that 99.5% of
farm acres are at risk of exposure to lethal agricultural chemicals.
Can we afford not to go the organic route?
To help offset the higher cost of organic products, “I try to buy
generic household items like paper towels or kitty litter. I feel
like I’m still saving money but offering my family better, more
nutritional products when I buy organic,” says Thompson.
“Since stores like Whole Foods are miles away, I grow a few
staples such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers in my
backyard,” says Fatimah Manasrah from Milwaukee, WI. “The
taste and texture is superb and definitely worth the effort. Plus,
I don’t have to worry about what I’m feeding my kids because I
know exactly what is in the food I grow, from the seeds to the
harvest I pick.”
“O ye who believe! Forbid not the good things which God hath made
lawful for you, and transgress not, God loveth not transgressors.
Eat of that which God hath bestowed on you as food lawful and
good (halal and Tayyib), and keep your duty to God in Whom ye
are believers (Holy Quran 5: 87, 88)
Finally, a significant aspect of our Islamic identity is to worship
and please God. One way to fulfill this mission is by taking care
of the body we’ve been given (see related story:
Fit Muslim —
Come Rain or Shine
). Tayyib, or pure, when it comes to crops are
those grown without harmful additions. Durrani agrees, “We
strive to support tayyib farming practices and proper animal
welfare of livestock…the standard of care we require as our gold
standard in halal may be too high for almost any mainstream
organic farm to meet.”
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Asma Jarad has an MA in English from
National University. She is a freelance writer living in the Chicago
area with her husband and children.
Mariam Majeed, formerly a
food scientist at IFANCA, is currently a homemaker and mother.
These foods tend to have higher levels of pesticides/
chemicals in conventionally grown produce:
Source: Organic Valley