Many consumers have started to become curious of the differences between Organic Food and Conventional Food products, and for good reason. There seems to be a lot of talk going on these days about which are better and WHY… So, let’s explore, shall we?…
When comparing the food labels of similar products where one is labeled “organic” and the other is conventional, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference. This of course, raises the question of what allows companies to sell organic products as “better” and also sell them at a higher price.
First, it should be explained, what “organic” really stands for and what it means to the consumer…
The USDA National Organic Program Consumer Brochure reads:
“Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.
Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.
Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.
Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards.
Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.”
Even though the ingredient list of conventional products may appear to be the similar to organic products, the biggest difference shows in the way the ingredients are grown, harvested and processed.
In a 2002 Data Collection of Pesticide Residues in Conventional and Organic Food, the following statistics were concluded:
- Conventionally grown samples had multiple residues in 46%, 12% and 62% of USDA, DPR and CU samples, respectively.
- Organic samples had multiple residues in only 7%, 1.3% and 6% percent of the samples in those three data sets.
According to this research alone, there seems to be quite a difference in pesticide residue between conventional and organic products! This can be enough reason to favor organic over conventional, right?
What educated consumers can do, is to study the list of the “dirty dozen” and buy conventional foods with the least amount of pesticide residue. When deciding to buy Organic and locally grown products, consumers will automatically help promote sustainability and local farming. Urban Farming is powerful and productive choice this day and age! What is your family eating, Organic or Conventional Food?
Here is the most recent Master List that was published by Forbes Magazine:
2012 Dirty Dozen
- Sweet bell peppers
- Imported nectarines
- Domestic blueberries
2012 Clean Fifteen
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Domestic cantaloupe
- Sweet potatoes