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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- The quality and appearance of organic food meet the same quality and safety standards as conventional foods.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- Because organic farmers rely on cow and pig manure for fertilizer, organic foods are vulnerable to bacterial contamination.
- Organic poultry have higher rates of bacterial contamination than conventional poultry due to their higher exposure to wild bird droppings.
- Some people claim that organic food tastes better than conventional food, but this is a very subjective claim so decide for yourself.
- 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:
Sources for this post:
- National Center for Policy Analysis
- Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh
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