Which is Better, Organic or Conventional Foods?

by zesty on December 20, 2010 · 9 comments

Today, I am featuring a very controversial topic for discussion today and the article has been written by Katrina Robinson who writes for Oxy-Powder.   She provides some insight into the differences of both organic and conventional foods.  Ultimately the decision is yours but in order to make the right decision – I feel you need the facts.

We’ve all heard about organic foods. Chain grocery stores have organic sections, and health food stores typically only stock organics. But what really makes an organic food organic? In December of 2000, the National Organic Standards Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created the term “organic”. For a food to be classified as organic, it needed to be produced without the use of most sewer-sludge fertilizers, synthetic fertilizers, irradiation, genetic engineering, growth hormones, and pesticides.

Organic foods are grown in soil that is only supplemented with natural fertilizers. Pesticides aren’t used to control and diminish the pest population; instead, organic farmers utilize insect predators, mating disruption, traps, and barriers to thwart off pests. Finally, organic farmers use cover crops, mulches, hand-weeding, crop rotation, flame weeding and more to control weeds.

Organic livestock is only fed organic feed, and its living conditions take the animals’ natural behavior into consideration. For example, cows, by their nature, must have access to a pasture, so organic farmers also keep cows in pasture. While animals raised by organic farmers may be vaccinated to protect them from disease, they may never be given hormones, medications, or antibiotics unless an illness is present.  On the other hand, conventional foods are typically grown in soil that has been treated with chemical fertilizers. Conventional farmers use insecticides to ward off pests and use synthetic herbicides to control weeds.

Unlike organic livestock, conventional livestock may be given antibiotics and hormones. Furthermore, they’re not required to live in conditions accommodating their natural behaviors.  But the main question is this: Which is better for you: organic or conventional foods? They both must meet the same quality and safety standards. The major difference lies in the way they are produced.

Research shows that organic foods are less likely to have pesticide residues than their conventional counterparts. Furthermore, most people who try organic foods report that they enjoy the taste more than conventional foods.  The decision is up to you. I know that I’ll be sure to eat organic as much as I can!

Katrina Robinson is a guest writer who writes for Oxy-Powder.

In the comments below,  let me know your thoughts on the question of the decade ” Organic vs Conventional”? Have a super Monday and I will talk to you on Wednesday.  The year is coming to a close.  It is almost vacation time.

Take care

zesty

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julia Dawn Mason

Why does any food with the label “organic” priced 2-3 times higher than conventional food ? That is the way it is here in Lakeland FL. I would like to use organic foods to be more healthy but can not afford them on a very restricted food budget. I only get paid once every two weeks and some weeks I only get a half paycheck due to being out of work for one week for school holidays ( I am a school crossing guard.) My husband is on SSI and it makes the house payment with very little left over for food. Having a daughter and grandson living with us, she pays some towards rent but it is not enough to pay all the bills and buy food.

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2 Angela

Hi there! Long time follower that has never commented here! I just wrote about this very topic on my blog last week: http://wp.me/p1cBYi-3W. For us, we have found a happy medium where we prioritize which items we will only buy organic, and which items we will compromise and buy on price point. It’s a personal decision for everyone, and I think it takes some research and soul searching to get to what works at an individual level.

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3 Kerry

We support a local organic farmer here in PEI, so most of our vegetables and eggs come from there. I try to buy organic for the dirty dozen otherwise. However, there are just the two of us now and can’t imagine being able to afford to feed a whole family an organic only diet.

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4 Megan

I prefer organic and think it is healthier for everyone. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive!

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5 Dynamics

I buy organic as much as possible. Better than organic is growing my own. I wish I was more knowledgeable and could plant more. A lot of farmers at the local farmers market grow organic but are not certified. That is an awesome option for me as the price is in-between.

Zesty, what do you do? Organic?

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6 ZestyCook

I do organic sometimes…. anything that you have to peel to eat ( ie. banana) I do not buy organic. I am definitely not fully organic but I do choose organic and local when I can.

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7 sara

Up till three weeks ago I had never bought an organic item. Then I watched Food Matters and The Future of Food. Those two documentaries really have been life changing for me. I’m now starting the switch to organics, which is a challenge on a $70 a week grocery budget for five people. But my goal is to have our diets be 75% organic/natural by the end of 2011.

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8 OrganicTrade

Contrary to what is stated in this article, organic and conventional products are not held to the same standards. Organic standards require that products bearing the organic label are made without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering or other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation. Additionally, U.S. organic standards require rigorous announced and unannounced third-party inspections of organic operations. These standards also require that organic producers and processors develop and follow an organic systems plan, which enables inspectors and consumers alike to trace organic products from the farm to their families. In addition, organic standards require that organic inspectors themselves be accredited and audited to ensure that the facilities they certify indeed meet the rigorous organic standards that consumers have come to know and trust.

Guided by these and other standards, organic is the most heavily regulated and closely monitored production system in the U.S., enabling consumers to choose organic products with confidence.

Organic. It’s worth it.

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