The pros and cons of organic foods

The organic food becomes more and more popular. Demand for it now is higher than ever. This part of food industry is booming.

Organic food is made without genetic engineering, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, radiation, sewage sludge and preservatives. The product or produce is certified “organic” by USDA, only if it contains at least 95% organic ingredients. And if it’s said that an item is made with organic ingredients, they must be at least 70% organic. Organic food has to be produced and processed according to strict USDA standards and be inspected to be certified.

The pros:

1. Organic foods are free of harmful pesticides, antibiotics, GMOs, and additives.

Pesticides are used to prevent damage from insects, rodents, weeds and fungus, and are designed to be toxic. Conventional crops are 4 times as likely to have pesticide residues on them than organic crops, according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition. Produce like avocados, sweet corn, and asparagus are the least likely to have pesticide residue, according to the Environmental Working Group. They also found that leafy greens and hot peppers are the most likely to be laced with especially toxic pesticides. There are no long-term studies about the potential impacts of pesticide residue on human health, but, according to a recent study, there is growing evidence that concentrated pesticide exposure is related to increased rates of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Pesticides are especially dangerous for children and pregnant women. One of the main reasons to buy organic food is to avoid possible exposure to pesticides.

2. They have less of an environmental impact than conventional farming.

It’s well known that pollutants from agriculture cause widespread environmental damage. The United Nations says that in many agriculture areas, the groundwater is polluted with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Organic farming significantly reduces the risk of water pollution and also prevents damaging soil erosion.

3. The nutritional value is typically higher in organic foods.

According to this study made in 2014, organic crops have higher concentrations of antioxidants and other nutrients. Many of these antioxidants protect cells and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers. Organic milk has more than twice as much omega-3 fatty acid as nonorganic milk, according to this recent study. This omega-3 fatty acid is also found in yogurt and cheese made with organic milk. The researchers believe the difference in nutrients is from the organic feed.

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4. Safer meat.

Organic meat is raised without antibiotics, hormones, or food treated with pesticides.

5. Avoid GMOs and food additives.

It is not required to label GMOs in foods in the United States. So when you buy organic food you make sure that you eat GMO-free. Organic certification rules also ban or severely limit the use of food additives like preservatives, colorings, flavorings, MSG, and artificial sweeteners. Many of these ingredients also don’t have to be labeled on nonorganic products.

The cons:

1. Organic foods are more expensive.

Yes, organic foods are obviously more expensive. Such high prices are caused by high demand for organic produce combined with lower yields than conventionally farmed crops. Organic foods are also typically more expensive to produce because they often require more labor.

2. All foods, including organic, are prone to food-born illnesses like E. coli and salmonella.

Organic food in not necessary safer and has the same risk for food-borne bacteria (E.Coli, salmonella, listeria, and others) contamination as nonorganic foods.

3. Organic fruits and vegetables have a shorter shelf life.

Organic fruits and vegetables spoil faster than their conventional analogues, because they are not treated with waxes and preservatives which are supposed to keep them on the shelves longer.

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And don’t forget – just because the package says “organic”, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Carefully read food labels and do not buy organic food that is high in salt, sugar, or calories.

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