The Truth Behind Organic

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It seems like eating organic food is the new craze.

Food that is considered “organic” was grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, weed killers or any other drugs. This means that organic food is guaranteed to be fresh and treated with only natural substances.

In the United States, there are rules in place by the Food and Drug Administration that mandate when a farmer or rancher can use the “organic” label.

These rules include what the farmers can use to fertilize their products, what pest killers they can use, what they can feed their animals as well as the stipulations on what drugs can be given to animals, with a particular emphasis on growth hormones.

However, the FDA can only limit what products are considered “organic.” Terms such as “natural,” “sustainable” and “free-range” are not always organic.

“I choose organic food because its now grown or treated with any chemicals, and I try to keep my body free of all harmful toxics” Freshman Health Education major Molly Larson said.

One of the biggest drawbacks of going organic is the price at the grocery store.

Organic food can cost anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 times more than regular food. Then again, there are many plausible reasons for this price increase.

Organic farms often are smaller than traditional food farms. It also takes more labor to grow plants and raise animals organically due to the inability to use chemical fertilizers, pesticides and drugs. It also costs organic cattle ranchers twice as much to feed their animals because they have to use organic feed.

The government also influences the price of organic food. Conventional farmers and ranchers often receive money from the government so that they can sell their food for lower prices; however, many organic farms are too small to qualify for this aid from the government.

“When it comes to the price of organic food versus inorganic food, I really do not worry about it, because it is my health, which is very important to me” Freshman Danielle Lynch said.

The real question that comes to mind when it comes to the true difference between organic and nonorganic food is whether eating organic is safer, more nutritious, tastes better and is better for the environment and the animals.

Sophomore Graphic Design major, Bekah Sonke said that she does not “worry about eating organic food is because it’s a little pricier than normal food, and it does not taste that different to me.”

The truth is that nonorganic foods are grown with pesticides and often there are still trace amounts of the pesticide on the food when it gets to the store. According to the Ruth Schnieder, a Diet and Nutrition expert with a Masters in Public Health, exposure to large amounts of pesticides can cause harm but the amounts left on nonorganic foods have not been proven to cause harm.

Sonke said that “eating food that might have been treated with some chemicals or other things doesn’t bother me.”

Currently, there is not enough evidence to say that organic food is more nutritious than nonorganic food and there is no evidence that organic food actually tastes better. Nonetheless, organic food is usually fresher, which normally tastes better.