Is Organic Food Worth The Extra Cost Over Regular Food?
When you go to the grocery store and hit the produce section, you’ll notice how there’s a special section for organic fruits and vegetables for twice the amount that conventional options are sold. For a moment, you wonder if you should buy organic, but can’t seem to pull the trigger based on the extra money. They just can’t justify the extra costs associated with organic fruits and vegetables and organic foods in general.
Those who do purchase organic foods justify their purchase due to the association with organic food being more nutritious and healthier. They believe that organic food is a better way of ensuring they don’t get pesticide-filled foods and that they’re grown in a more sustainable manner. But in the end, is organic food worth the extra cost?
What Makes Food Organic?
In order to be labeled organic, food must be grown using organic methods, which includes omitting chemical pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers or other harmful fertilizers. Farmers must be USDA certified to be labeled organic and that’s a three-year process. During that process, farmers and growers need to meet certain standards. For poultry, meat, dairy and cheese products, animals must be fed organic feed and given outside access. The animals must also be given no growth hormones or antibiotics.
There are also strict rules on how organic food should be labeled. Even the packaging must be made using 95% organic ingredients. If a product is made using all organic materials, it can be labeled as being 100% organic. However, if there are only 70% of organic ingredients, then the label “made with organic ingredients” can be used. If there are less than 70%, then the word “organic” it can only be used to characterize certain ingredients.
Is Organic Food Healthier?
Despite being labeled as organic, many wonder if organic foods are really healthier. Although there’s a lot of debate on this issue, many feel that it is because the foods that are organic tend to have more nutrients and antioxidants than their regular counterparts and a lot fewer pesticides.
A huge reason why organic foods would have more nutrient levels than regular foods could be the fact that organic foods are usually produced locally and fresher than foods that need to travel long distances to get to them. Plus, there’s a lower risk of contamination or damage happening to organic foods during shipping.
Organic foods grow under better conditions of stress since farmers can’t use conventional methods of getting rid of insects and disease. Due to higher levels of stress, plants produce more chemicals needed to defend them from things like herbivores, wounds, and stress because of photosynthesis. As for meat, organic meat comes from animals less stressed and happier. They get to be outside and are not injected with all sorts of things to make them grow faster or bigger. All these factors contribute to making organic foods healthier for consumers, which also justify its hike in price.
But the reason why many prefer organic over traditional foods is the fact that organic foods limit pesticides and environmental impact due to all the requirements, rules and regulations they must pass to be labeled organic. People like to know that they are eating fresh foods without all sort of junk being injected into them and find that organic foods give them that peace of mind. When you buy organic, you’re paying extra for all the things growers and farmers need to do to become labeled as organic.
So Is The Higher Price Of Organic Food Worth It?
In the end, it’s a personal matter, really. If you prefer to know exactly how your food is grown, then organic is worth it. However, there have been many studies done that show there’s not that much of a difference between organic foods and regular. And, it’s good to note that organic foods can be just as harmful due to microbes and bacteria that can still affect these foods.
If you can afford to buy organic, then that’s great. If not, but you still want to buy organic, choose what organic foods matter most – meat, eggs, veggies or fruits.