agriculture, Holly Spangler's 30 Day Blog Challenge

Is Organic Better Than Conventional

1_123125_2170587_2209173_2224341_090805_gr_foodtn.jpg.CROP.original-original

http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/archive/2009/08/1_123125_2170587_2209173_2224341_090805_gr_foodtn.jpg.CROP.original-original.jpg

Today’s consumers are faced with so many choices when it comes to grocery shopping. They can most obviously see the choice in brand and price; however the ultimate question that is affecting buyers lately is whether organic products are superior to competitive products that aren’t labeled as organic. Let’s ignore the argument of which production method is better for farming and livestock, because majority of consumers only care about the product itself. The real concern is whether or not organic grown products are better for humans than its counterparts.

The fact of the matter is that every product varies, consumers do not purchase dairy for the same reasons they purchase beef.   For instance, when compared to traditionally produced milk, organic milk contains higher levels of omega-3 fats, which protect against heart disease and may decrease the risk of depression, stroke, cancer and other diseases. However, studies show that the traces found in the milk are too minuscule to make any real differences; therefore, labeling them as organically grown is primarily because the farmer chose that form of production for other reasons. Also, consumers do not need to worry about antibiotics because the government has mandated that all products be tested for any antibiotics before being put into stores.

When comparing organic produce to conventional it has been proved that 73% of conventional products have been found to contain at least one pesticide while only 23% of organic products were found with any. While these factors are prominent, there are no scientific facts to prove that pesticides or the chemicals put in the ground harm humans in any way, in fact they have been consumed for years, and have had no affects on consumers so far.

As for beef, the only true difference between organic and conventional beef is whether they are grass-fed or not. Grass-fed beef tends to contain higher levels of Omega-3 (much like dairy) and is therefore considered slightly healthier. The USDA randomly tests carcasses for residues of pesticides, contaminants and veterinary drugs including antibiotics. In 2011, it screened for 128 chemicals, and 99 percent of the tested carcasses were free of all of them.

It is apparent to me, that whether consumers purchase organic or conventional products is completely a personal choice, and statistically cannot rely on health and food safety alone.

Resources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/is-organic-better-for-your-health-a-look-at-milk-meat-eggs-produce-and-fish/2014/04/07/036c654e-a313-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3/

http://www.adadc.com/OrganicFAQ.pdf

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/08/us/study-finds-far-less-pesticide-residue-on-organic-produce.html

Image Sources:

http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/archive/2009/08/1_123125_2170587_2209173_2224341_090805_gr_foodtn.jpg.CROP.original-original.jpg

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