Is Organic Food Worth the Extra Cost?

organic food
It can be heard everywhere, from television advertisements to shoppers at the supermarket. Organic food is healthier, safer, environment-friendly, and all around better. For many people this means that these foods are worth the extra 30-50% cost than conventional foods. But are organic foods really all they are made out to be, especially at high prices? Organic, as defined by, is any fruit, vegetable, meat, and dairy product that has been grown under organic agricultural guidelines that prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, genetically engineered DNA, and is grown on safe soil. They also claim that the organic lifestyle is healthier and creates a more sustainable environment. These are among the most common claims of the organic movement.

According to Forbes, organic is healthier because studies have shown that when comparing both types of produce, conventional contains 29% more pesticides. In addition, they as well claim that the benefits to the environment are vast because organic food is local and thus no carbon footprint is left as a result of transport and because fewer chemicals are dumped into the ground as a result of synthetic pesticides.

However, the other side of these debate maintains the exact opposite. Organic food offers no additional nutritional value, is not safer for the environment, and cannot sustain the earth (source:webmd). First, the matter of nutrition is addressed. Genetically modified foods, or GMO's, sound dangerous and unnatural which automatically is taken to mean that they are unhealthy. However, GMO's are the most nutritious and efficient food on the market. With gene-altering technology, geneticist are able to isolate the strands of DNA in produce that will yield the largest fruits and vegetables and that contain the maximum amount of nutrients in addition to holding these for longer. Altering genes in conventional foods simply means that only the best produce is created and will offer the best nutrition to anyone eating it.

This also means that less land is needed in order to yield a large crop. The Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues reports that the efficient techniques of conventional agriculture has saved 15 million square miles of wildlife habitat and if the world switched to organic farming, more than half of that land would have to be turned into farmland (source:webmd).

Organic farming relies on techniques such as crop rotation wherein parts of the farmland are left fallow in order to switch crops and thus keep the soil healthy. That way no pesticides are needed. On the other hand, conventional farming makes use of every part of the land and uses synthetic pesticides to keep the ground fertile and produce safe from bugs and weeds ( It is a myth that synthetic pesticides are dangerous to human health and organic foods do not contain any. Conventional farmers use the most technologically advanced and clean synthetic pesticides on their farms. One single cup of coffee contains 1000x more traceable amount of pesticides than do conventional produce (source Penn & Teller youtube video). Organic food, on the other hand, cannot contain such pesticides and relies on natural ones that have not been cleaned or sterilized.

Additionally, it a misconception that all organic food is produced locally. In fact, most organic food is grown in California and China and leaves just as much a trace in terms of transport as does conventional food.

Finally, there is the issue of sustaining earth's population. The organic food movement has called for a total switch from conventional to organic food farming. What they do not realize is that if that were to be done, nearly half of the 7 billion people in the world would starve. The Worldwatch Institute writes that because organic food is not as reliable, requires much more farmland, and is inefficient in the way it is grown, could not keep up with the supply and demand of world hunger. The organic industry is rising and with it the demand. However, there is difficulty in filling this demand because the larger farms and lack of efficient pesticides keep labor prices high and with it a lack of manufacturing.

The organic lifestyle is more a frame of mind than a state of being. The evidence shows that organic food is not healthier than conventional food and is much more inefficient in production. For people who are committed to eating only organic, it is out of a sense of morality. They feel that they are informed consumers because they are choosing the natural route. However, misinformation has distorted the truth about organic foods and because of the overwhelming evidence stacked against it, organic is not worth the extra money or cost.

Written By: Kimeko Neil, United States

29 minute runtime video on Amazon : Penn & Teller examine the organic food industry to determine if it is, in fact, more nutritious, and better for the environment.

On the opposite side

Available on Amazon : A book on How Organic Food Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe.

Book on Amazon based on The Gabriel Method : A review from one of the 288 customers >> I am already following this book, and have found it is the only way I can healthfully and sanely lose weight.

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

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