If you go to the supermarket now days, it common to see a large variety of organic food products being sold. It is also becoming common for people to buy these products. According to a market research firm, about 25 percent of Americans buy organic foods every week. About 70 percent of Americans buy organic foods occasionally. The reasoning behind this is simple. Instead of processed and chemically treated foods, people are now opting for more natural and healthful foods.
However, if you want these organic foods you are going to have to pay. Organic foods can cost about 50 percent more than conventionally grown foods. Want to know if it’s worth it? Read on.
What is Organic Food?
Organic crops such as fruits and vegetables are usually grown without synthetic pesticides, biotechnology, irradiation and artificial fertilizers. Animals that are raised on organic farms are only fed naturally grown food, free range and without growth hormones or antibodies. Although some synthetic ingredients may be used, organic foods must come from farms and plants that certified as organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Inspectors from the USDA ensure that the methods used on these farms adhere to standards and that the environment is free of synthetic chemicals and compounds.
The Difference Between Organic Foods and Conventionally Grown Foods
To help promote plant growth, conventional farms use synthetic fertilizers. Organic farms use natural fertilizers such as manure or compost to promote growth. To reduce pests and disease, conventional farms spray pesticides directly on or around the plants. Organic farms on the other hand use birds and insects that are natural predators to pests. Organic farms also use traps and mating disruption to protect their crops from harmful insects. Conventional farms use herbicides to kill weeds while organic farms rotate crops and pull or mulch the weeds.
When it comes to animals, conventional farms give the animals growth hormones, antibiotics and other medications to help promote growth and ward of disease. Many conventional farms keep the animals confined for a long period of time. Organic farms on the other hand allow the animals to roam freely 70 percent of the time. No growth hormones are used and rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean stalls are used to prevent disease.
Is Organic Food Healthier?
Organically grown foods may have higher nutritional values than conventionally grown foods. This may be due to increase of phytochemicals plants produce in the absence of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. In addition, the chemicals used on conventionally grown foods and the antibiotics used in animals may be harmful to our health.
So is organic food worth the price? Many consumers are saying yes, while others still remain skeptical.
What do you think? Have you ever had organic food? Do you find it worth the price? Sound off.