Organic foods gained lots of attention and consumer appreciation lately. These foods are believed by many to be healthier and safer to consume. With organic foods being front and centre, it is only natural to wonder what the real difference between organic products and regular ones is?
What makes food organic?
The simple definition of organic food would look like these: all non genetically modified foods that are grown without the use of artificial pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. While exact legal definitions may vary from country to country, this generalized version gives the idea.
The livestock can be considered organic when raised without using any animal-derived supplements, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The conditions in which the livestock is raised are also important: animals should be raised and kept in an environment as close to natural as possible.
The short checklist of organic vs regular
Let us have a look at major points that distinguish organically grown foods from their conventional counterparts.
Organic produce and meat
- Grown and raised only using natural fertilizers and foods.
- Weeds and parasites are controlled using naturally occurring methods.
- Livestock must have access to the outdoors.
- Only natural ways cures are given to livestock.
Conventional produce and meat
- It is often grown with chemical or synthetic fertilizers.
- Chemical herbicides are used to control weeds.
- Synthetic pesticides used to control parasites.
- Antibiotics and growth hormones are used to accelerate livestock growth.
- Genetic modifications may be present in livestock and produce.
- Access to outdoors for livestock is rare.
As you can see from the comparison above, conventionally grown produce and meats often rely on questionable methods to accelerate growth and enhance quantity.
What are the benefits of organic foods?
There is an ongoing debate that organic foods are better for your physical and emotional health. Even more so, organic food is definitely better for the environment. According to numerous claims, the way food crops of livestock are grown can have an impact on individuals and the nature around them. Because organically grown crops contain less synthetic compounds, they are less risky when it comes to health complications. Organically grown livestock contains no antibiotics, no growth hormones, and no genetic modifications which we will address later. Let us explore some of the most advocated benefits of organic foods.
- Organic food crops contain fewer if no pesticides. Organically grown produce rarely contains any pesticides since their use directly contradicts the main idea of growing organically. Only natural pesticides are used to safeguard crops from parasites. And when it comes to diseases, farmers rely on selection over chemicals to come up with resilient varieties of fruits and vegetables.
- Organic food can be fresher. Since organic food contains no preservatives aside from natural potencies and qualities, it is farmed and served to shelves quickly. Because of it, farmers and retailers go the extra mile to sell fresh food as fast as possible.
- Organic farming is less harmful to the environment, in most cases. While some exceptions to this claim may exist due to varieties in practices across the globe, organic farming is less stressful for the environment. Letting go of pesticides, chemical fertilisers, herbicides, and other artificial substances greatly reduces environmental pollution levels. Such substances as antibiotics, herbicides, and pesticides can cause long-lasting adverse effects on the environment. Organically grown foods are devoid of this disadvantage.
- Organic produce and meat are GMO-free. Produce and meat that is grown organically is normally GMO-free – they contain no altered or transplanted genes. Genetic engineering is also not applied to organic food. Thus, organic food is an alternative to people who would like to avoid consuming GMOs due to the possibility of adverse effects associated with them.
- Organic fish, meat and milk may contain more nutrients. Some authors and findings claim that organic meats contain more fatty acids. Organic fish is also believed to contain more nutrients beneficial for humans.
What are GMOs, and should you care about them?
Genetically modified organisms contain altered versions of their own genes or genes transplanted into their DNA from other organisms. Scientists and biotech companies rely on genetic modifications to make food crops and animals more resilient to disease and parasites.
Genetically modified crops such as most corn sold in the USA have artificial resilience to parasites and herbicides.
While there is no concrete evidence of the danger of consuming GMOs, many food safety advocates argue that such organisms’ consumption may be harmful to human health. Some say that consuming GMOs may raise the risks of allergies and even cancers in humans. More long-term research is needed to arrive at certain conclusions. Meanwhile, organic food remains a safe choice for people avoiding GMOs.
Organic food is a safe way to go forward
To sum everything up, organic food has several advantages over conventional food. It is more environmentally friendly, contains no harmful chemical compounds, and has more health benefits. People concerned with the quality of their food may choose to go organic over conventional food to reduce potential health risks.