By Robbie Hanlon, Contributing Writer
Food shopping can be a real hassle sometimes. What was once a simple run to the store to buy grapes has turned into a decision from an ever-expanding array of options.
Do I choose the red ones or the green ones? Seedless or with seeds? Do I prefer my grapes from Mexico or Chile? Why am I taking so long to choose a bag of grapes that I’m going to find delicious no matter what?
Like every other aspect of modern life, the food world is dominated by new trends, with a popular one today being the organic food craze. People love to buy organic, and it certainly sounds healthy, but before you head out the door to stock up on organic food in order to stay with the trends, there are some things you should know first
What is organic food?
Organic food, simply put, is food that grows without the help of most chemicals, such as pesticides, fertilizers, and other synthetic growing methods like genetic engineering. It is considered a cleaner and more natural way of farming.
Is it a healthy alternative to food sprayed by chemicals?
Maybe not. Science has actually found very little to no difference in the health benefits of organically grown produce compared to produce grown the conventional way.
Most crops grown with the assistance of chemicals are well within the acceptable limit of pesticide residue.
Consuming food containing traces of residue hasn’t appeared to cause any adverse effects in people, and seems to be just as healthy as eating organic food.
Too much residue, of course, can be dangerous, so while organic and non-organic food may be similar in terms of healthiness, there is a point where this becomes untrue, but most food never approaches that point.
What about organic meat?
Organic meat raises up another point, which is the treatment of the animals providing the meat. Organic meat requires that the animals be allowed some freedoms that other animals would not receive. Organic cows, for instance, are often given room to move and graze, while generally receiving a healthier diet that other cows (although this is not a requirement for an animal to be deemed organic).
Organic animals, like all organic food, are not fed any chemicals such as growth hormone and antibiotics.
Is organic food expensive?
Yes, organic food is generally far more expensive than common food, whether it be meat, fruits, or vegetables. Raising organic animals requires more space, more preparation and more expensive food for the animals to eat.
Fruits and vegetables not protected by pesticides are less likely to survive, and therefore, the supply is limited. The effort put into raising organic produce is not cheap.
So now you know. Organic food is a hot trend of expensive but top quality food, but how much of a difference does that difference in quality really make? It’s all preference, but in terms of overall health, organic food doesn’t seem to be worth the price.
There are other factors to consider, such as the treatment of the animals providing the meat and the traces of chemical residue on plants, so this topic isn’t entirely black and white, but in general, organic and non-organic foods seem to be more similar than we may think.