Just as I prefer to use non-toxic kitchen utensils, I try to stick with organic foods whenever possible. But many wonder if the extra cost of organic food is really worth it. Here’s what I learned about it when it’s (and when it’s not) worth it.
What is organic food?
We’ve all been to a grocery store or a farmer’s market with organic labeled food. What this means can be confusing.
Organic labeling requires production without the use of synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms. Animals raised for meat should be fed 100% organic feed as well as rearing with access to outdoors all year round. Shiny people (such as cows) should be fed at least 30% of their pasture.
In addition, foods prepared with at least 95% organic ingredients are allowed to use organic labels. People with at least 70% organic ingredients will use the label “made from organic ingredients” and foods containing 100% organic ingredients will display this percentage on their labels.
How are organic labels organized?
Before a product can boast of an “organic” label, the manufacturer must first go through a process to ensure farm land, growing practices and practices that meet the standards set by regulators. ۔ The organization that regulates organic labels in the United States is the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP).
Organic food manufacturers need to update the NOP on their practices every year. NOP works with third party certifiers who inspect the operations of food producers each year.
Beginning in 2013, certifiers will now have to check for residues in at least 5% of food products certified by each agency. This test can help identify any food manufacturers that are not following strict organic guidelines.
The USDA keeps track of certified organic activities in its organic integrity database.
When foods are imported, in order to be labeled as organic, they must be certified by a NOP-approved certification agent or equivalent in that country if the regulations are the same. In countries that do not have an organic certificate or whose regulations differ from those of the United States, food will be produced under a recognized agreement. This means that NOP regulations must be met in the growing procedures and procedures before importing.
Unfortunately, not all of these precautions are taken as intended. In 2019, when NOP revoked the organic certification from a Turkish supplier, they did not investigate the recent shipment, although there is a high risk of fraud.
How to know if organic food is really organic
An obvious concern is that organic food is definitely not worth it, even if it is not organic.
Although we may not be able to tell if what we are eating is really organic because there is no way to tell by looking at it, there are some things we can do to reduce the chances of getting fake organic food. Can:
- Grow a garden – If grown organically, you know your own vegetables will be safe. I always try to keep something in my summer garden!
- Avoid imported foods (especially grains) – The main concern with fraudulent organic foods is imported grains, so it may be helpful to avoid imported foods whenever possible.
- Absolutely avoid grains Since grains are one of the biggest risks to eating granular organic foods, avoiding grains whenever possible gives you a better chance of avoiding counterfeit foods.
- Shop local – The other side of the coin is buying local organic produce. It’s easy to regularize foods made in the United States.
It is also important to put pressure on regulators to hire and prevent fraudulent organic food from entering the market.
What are the benefits of organic food?
Assuming the organic foods we are talking about are really organic, there are some benefits that can make them worth the extra cost:
Many families believe that organic foods are more nutritious than traditional foods. According to a 2012 meta-analysis, there is no significant difference in the nutritional value of traditionally grown and organically prepared foods. However, more recent research challenges this finding.
A study published two years later found that organic production had significantly reduced heavy metals compared to conventional production. Organic foods are also high in antioxidants (between 19% and 69% from traditional foods). This increase in antioxidants is equivalent to eating an extra serving or two of vegetables every day.
Additionally, a 2016 review found that organic milk and meat contained higher levels of iron and about 50% more omega-3s than traditional alternatives. Omega 3s are important for balancing fatty acids in the body and reducing inflammation. They lower your blood fat levels and reduce the build up of plaque in your blood vessels, balancing “good” and “bad” cholesterol and reducing heart disease.
The study also found that organic dairy has low levels of selenium and iodine, so more research is needed.
Aside from health, this is often my main reason for shopping locally for seasonal foods. It just tastes better!
Nutrition and taste often go hand in hand. Foods with more nutrients often taste better than foods with less nutrients (think of fresh, red strawberries in June than the white ones you get in January). Although there is not much data on which foods taste better, every family can see for themselves whether organic flavors are better or not.
Pesticides are usually at the top of the list when it comes to organic food versus traditional foods, if you consult the parent room. According to the 2012 analysis (four times more than the 2014 meta-analysis), the residue of pesticides in conventional production is five times higher.
Despite this difference, these levels are still under the permissible amount through EPAs (ie “safe” levels). But concerned consumers are of the opinion that the upper levels of pesticides are individually formulated and do not account for the combined damage. In other words, lower levels of individual pesticides may be fine, but when levels of 10 or more pesticides are lower, the overall exposure to pesticides is much higher. Others say that any amount of these chemicals is harmful.
Another concern with traditional foods is that they may contain more effective bacteria than organic foods. Although organic animal products do not contain fewer bacteria overall, they do have fewer antibiotic-resistant germs. The CDC says antibiotic-resistant germs are a public health concern due to the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry.
A similar 2017 Canadian study found that reducing the use of antibiotics in animals reduced the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meat.
Environment and animal welfare
Beyond human health, consumers are also concerned about the environment and animal health. An article from Columbia University explains that organic farming generally improves the environment due to higher biodiversity, less chemical age and less soil erosion than conventional farms. All of this makes organic farming more sustainable. Although some critics believe that organic farming (which reduces environmental friendliness) reduces yields per acre, higher yielding organic farming is possible.
When the weather is not ideal (such as during a drought), organic farming traditionally exceeds 40%, according to an article by Rodalinstein ORO. Organic farming also prefers high-nutrient foods (such as vegetables) over low-nutrient foods such as cereals.
Additionally, if animals are labeled organic, based on their upbringing (with organic feed, one percent of food coming from their pastures, and access to the outside), compared to traditionally raised animals Physically reared animals live in better condition.
Organic regulation problem
Many argue that instead of asking organic farmers to prove that they grow properly (and pay a fee to do so), we should take the burden of proof from traditional farmers and producers. To be called
While organic labels help determine where you want to spend your food dollars, it’s not the only way to know what’s going on with your food.
Many small farms grow their food regularly (possibly with more care than required by regulations) but do not want to go through the process of being officially certified. In addition, some farmers may not fit the organic guideline but may be close to the preferences of many families.
Ideally, looking for a local farm that can be trusted, the best strategy for finding healthy food is to not rely exclusively on organic labels.
Is Organic Food Worth It?
To find out if organic foods are worth it, you need to consider a few things:
- Is your organic food really organic? – If it is not, it is not worth paying.
- Can you get comparable food without labels? – Do you have any sources of fresh produce or animal products that are manufactured in an acceptable way? Paying extra for the label may not be worth the price.
- Can you afford organic food? – This is probably the most important question to answer. While we can change our budget to allow for more groceries, sometimes it’s not easy to buy organic (or all organic).
If you decide that organic is worth the price, but you’re stuck in the budget section, read on;
What to do if organic is not in the budget?
As mentioned, even if you play with your budget to make room for organic food, sometimes you can’t afford all organic food. It is never beneficial to put yourself in a financial crisis just for organic foods. But fortunately, organic is not a choice or anything. If you can’t afford to use the tips in this post to choose the most important food and drink to buy organic and will rest about everything else!
The article was reviewed medically by Dr. Lauren Jeffers, a Certificate in Admissions Medical and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk to your doctor or work with a doctor at Study MD.
What did you get Is Organic Value Worth It for You?
- Smith Spengler, C., Brando, M.L., Hunter, G.E., Bowinger, J. C., Pearson, M., Schbach, P. J.,. . . Bravata, DM (2012). Are organic foods safer or healthier than traditional alternatives? Internal Medicine Analysis, 157 (5), 348. doi: 10.7326 / 0003-4819-157-5-201209040-00007
- Barsky, M., Predinka Tuber, D., Vlakakis, N., Cell, C., Sanderson, R., Stewart, GB. . . Lefert, C. (2014). Physically grown crops have high antioxidant and low cadmium concentrations and low incidence of pesticide residues: British Journal of Nutrition, 112 (5), 794-811. doi: 10.1017 / s0007114514001366
- Prednika Tober, D, Bara? Ski, M., Cell, C. J., Sanderson, R., Banbrook, C., Stanschamen, H.,. . . Lefert, C. (2016). High PUFA andn-3 PUFA, conjugate linoleic acid ,? – Tocopherol and iron, but organic milk is low in iodine and selenium. British Journal of Nutrition, 115 (6), 1043-1060. doi: 10.1017 / s0007114516000349
- CDC. (n.d.) Antibiotic resistance and NARMS monitoring. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/narms/faq.html
- Tang, K.L. , Kefri, N.P. , Nobrega, d. B, Cork, SC, Ronxley, P. E., Barkima, H.W.,. . . Abuse, w. (2017). Banning the use of antibiotics in food and drink and its association with antibiotic resistance in animals and humans. Lancet Planetary Health, 1 (8) doi: 10.1016 / s2542-5196 (17) 30141-9
- Varanasi, A., Rana, P., Maria, Marty Klein, K., June, Chef, R.,. . Ruttenberg, CA (October 21, 2019) Is organic food really good for the environment?
- Polycup, L., and Rodell Institute. (November 01, 2019) Can feed the organic world?