People nowadays are becoming more health conscious about the kinds of food they put into their bodies. Every year there is a steady rise in the amount of people who shift from purchasing and consuming conventional store-bought food to organically grown or raised fruits, vegetables and meat products. The organic vs. conventional debate has been going on for some time. This article will first examine what the term “organic” really means and then go over both the pros and cons of conventional food and the alternative organic counterpart in terms of health, expense and effect on the environment.
With regards to organic vs. conventional farming of fruits and vegetables, there are many differences in how that piece of fruit gets from the farm to the produce aisle. Chemical fertilizers are not used in organic farming; instead, farmers use natural methods such as adding compost and manure to enrich the soil. Another difference is that organic farmers remove weeds manually and avoid pests by selectively grouping crops or utilizing non-harmful insects to rid the farm of pests. On the other hand, conventional farmers spray insecticides and pesticides on their crops.
In animal farming, organic farmers do not inject hormones and medications into their poultry or other animals. For example, organic chickens are commonly labelled as “free range chicken” which means they are allowed to roam. However, the standards for organic farming are not concrete. They can be allowed outside for most of the day or they can have a limited amount of time to freely roam. Because the only requirement to receive a “free range” certification is to have access to the outside, large producers may not go beyond that limited time. Organically bred animals may not be allowed in open space for a large stretch of time as most people think.
The “USDA organic” label signifies that 95% of the products ingredients are organic. Products can also be marked as 100% organic when the USDA standards are met. If the label says, “made with organic ingredients”, this means that 70% of the ingredients were organically produced.
According to the experts in nutrition, there still is not enough evidence from research to back the claim that when choosing organic vs. conventional, all types of organic food will always have a higher nutritional value. One study by Newcastle University in England found that organic milk had more healthy omega-3s, antioxidants and vitamins than conventional non-organic milk.
One of the main concerns preventing many consumers deciding between organic vs. conventional is the high price of organic products. The more work that goes into the agriculture and animal farming as well as the high cost of composts and manure is what makes organic products more expensive. Sometimes it can be as much as 50 % higher in price.
The effect all the artificial herbicides and pesticides can be both negative on your health and the environment. These chemicals can damage local wildlife. Conventional farmers use all the land that eventually depletes the soil of nutrients over time. Organic farming conserves natural resources and is better for the environment overall.