You’re standing in front of the produce section of your local supermarket and reading the labels intently. In one hand you are holding a conventionally grown carrot. In the other, there’s one that is labeled ‘organically grown’. Both carrots look healthy, a deep orange and both provide fiber, vitamins and minerals. Now picture me at the supermarket. Which one do I pick? The conventionally grown carrot costs less and this is what I normally eat at home. But the organic carrot has a label that says “USDA Organic.” Does that mean it’s better? Safer? More nutritious? Several differences between organic and non-organic foods exist. I use to be unclear on this until I did some research.
Here are other differences between conventional farming and organic farming:
Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth.
Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease.
Use chemical herbicides to manage weeds.
Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth.
Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.
Wow! Just by looking at the facts it looks easy to decide right? But after researching further I found that many reliable medical sources, Mayo Clinic included, have shown that there is no REAL PROVEN benefit in eating organic.
Consider these factors:
* Nutrition. No conclusive evidence shows that organic food is more nutritious than is conventionally grown food. And the USDA — even though it certifies organic food — doesn’t claim that these products are safer or more nutritious.
* Quality and appearance. Organic foods meet the same quality and safety standards as conventional foods. The difference lies in how the food is produced, processed and handled.
* Pesticides. Conventional growers use pesticides to protect their crops from molds, insects and diseases. When farmers spray pesticides, this can leave residue on produce. Some people buy organic food to limit their exposure to these residues. Most experts agree, however, that the amount of pesticides found on fruits and vegetables poses a very small health risk. Washing your produce properly can eliminate this small threat almost completely.
* Taste. Some people say they can taste the difference between organic and nonorganic food. Others say they find no difference. Taste is a subjective and personal consideration, so decide for yourself. But whether you buy organic or not, finding the freshest foods available may have the biggest impact on taste.
Hah! So my dear readers. What is your take on eating Organic? Is it really all that much better or are you mostly satisfied with picking the freshest, conventionally grown produce?
organic pumpkin soup – RM5.90
green goddess salad – organic of course (!), with free range eggs RM17.90
country chicken goulash with free range chicken and brown organic rice – RM17.90
note the unusual color of the sushi imparted by the brown organic rice!
Books you might like:
Country Farm Organics,
LG7, Lower Ground Floor,
Bangsar Village 1,
Tel : 03 – 2284 2094 (Pork Free Restaurant)