Fitness and Nutrition — By Ben on 30 July 2008
Organic or not. 13 things to consider

Organic foods seem to be everywhere nowadays. Most grocery stores now have an organic section and specialty stores like Whole Foods sell only organic food. I have been debating if paying more for organic food is worth it. That’s why I made some research about it and this are some of the things I learned:

  1. The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products (fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat) Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.
  2. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. For example, instead of using chemical weedkillers, organic farmers conduct sophisticated crop rotations and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds at bay.
  3. Organic farmers give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. They use preventive measures, such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing, to help minimize disease.
  4. Not everything that claims to be organic is. The foods that are 100 percent organic carry the USDA Organic sticker (here in the U.S). However, other products can show the stickers if they are at least 95% organic (labeled as organic) or products which 70% of their ingredients are organic (labeled as made with organic ingredients).
  5. The quality and appearance of organic food meet the same quality and safety standards as conventional foods.
  6. Most organic food costs more than conventional food products. Higher prices are due to more expensive farming practices, tighter government regulations and lower crop yields.
  7. A lot of people buy organic to reduce their exposure to pesticides. A report by the Texas Department of Agriculture indicates that conventional produce was eight times more likely to have pesticide residue than organic. However, of the few samples in which a residue was found, the amount was negligible (between 1 and 5 percent of government standards)
  8. Every day, each of us eats a quarter of a teaspoonful of carcinogens. 99.99% of these are made naturally by all plants to inhibit disease organisms and deter consumption by animals and insects.
  9. No conclusive evidence shows that organic food is more nutritious than conventionally grown food. The USDA doesn’t claim that these products are safer or more nutritious.
  10. Because organic farmers rely on cow and pig manure for fertilizer, organic foods are vulnerable to bacterial contamination.
  11. Organic poultry have higher rates of bacterial contamination than conventional poultry due to their higher exposure to wild bird droppings.
  12. Some people claim that organic food tastes better than conventional food, but this is a very subjective claim so decide for yourself.
  13. Whether you buy organic or not you might want to consider: buying the freshest food that is in season, read the labels and wash all fruits and vegetables before consumption.

There you have it, 13 facts that might help you decide whether to buy organic or not. I think this is a personal decision that has to be taken after taking all the facts into cosideration. As always:

¡Buen provecho!

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grew up around food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City and he spent a big deal of his childhood helping and learning after school the art of creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients. He created this blog to share his kitchen adventures with the world.

(17) Readers Comments

  1. Back again, I forgot to mention that I exclude organic meat.

    Thanks for visiting me and just FYI, I linked to this article from my TT.

  2. I used to be real sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the multiple chemical sensitivities that came with that, and i had to stop making chicken soup from scratch because the SMELL of the chicken cooking made me soooooo sick! Then once i bought a mega expensive organic chicken and the smell from THAT soup was heavenly, and it tasted so good! So I know there’s a difference, but maybe only for more sensitive people.. happy TT!

  3. I’ve never really compared organic to non-organic.

    My dad raises his own chickens. I grew up eating fresh eggs and occasionally chicken or pork that was home raised. My husbands gramma has a garden and we LOVE the fresh greens and squash. My MIL grows her own peppers and tomatoes and cucumbers.

  4. good information! thanks : )

  5. Thanks for the research. Although I am aware of the pros for organic however they costs twice as much in Greece, so it’s practically impossible to feed 5 on organic products but as you said at least we try and buy the best from the farmers’ market.

  6. Great post, Ben. I don’t think we all fully realize what all organic food entails, so it’s nice that you put this together. While I don’t normally buy organic food, I do keep it in mind. It’s more a matter of doing what you can instead of breaking the bank because we think that it has to be organic or bust.

    I have an award for you at my blog!

  7. Interesting post. I have also been doing a bit of research on organic foods myself. I totally agree with number 10 and that it is a concern that many people don’t think about.

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