Are Organic Foods Worth The Cost?

A standard that defines what qualifies as organic was established by the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990, because there was a lot of confusion. It means food with no artificial fertilizers (the ones made with sewage sludge), genetic modification, irradiation (a process that reduces spoilage and kills bacteria and pests), or conventional pesticides. Livestock raised organically must be fed organic feed, can’t be given antibiotics or growth hormones, and have access to the outdoors, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
What does “organic” really mean? A standard that defines what qualifies as organic was established by the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990, because there was a lot of confusion. It means food with no artificial fertilizers (the ones made with sewage sludge), genetic modification, irradiation (a process that reduces spoilage and kills bacteria and pests), or conventional pesticides. Livestock raised organically must be fed organic feed, can’t be given antibiotics or growth hormones, and have access to the outdoors, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
(CBS)
What are the benefits for buying food labeled “organic”? (CBS)
Organic fruits and vegetables can cost up to about 30 percent more than regular produce. One reason is that organic farms are usually smaller than conventional farms, yielding less even as demand for their crops is high. Controlling pests and weeds without using artificial pesticides is more labor-intensive, harder, and more expensive than using most pesticides. Also, organic feed for livestock is more expensive.
So why exactly do “organic” foods so much more? Organic fruits and vegetables can cost up to about 30 percent more than regular produce. One reason is that organic farms are usually smaller than conventional farms, yielding less even as demand for their crops is high. Controlling pests and weeds without using artificial pesticides is more labor-intensive, harder, and more expensive than using most pesticides. Also, organic feed for livestock is more expensive.
Natural foods are different from organic foods. Only products inspected and certified by the USDA can have a label that says organic. Natural foods can’t contain any additives, such as preservatives or artificial coloring.
“Natural” vs. “Organic”: What’s the difference? Natural foods are different from organic foods. Only products inspected and certified by the USDA can have a label that says organic. Natural foods can’t contain any additives, such as preservatives or artificial coloring.
The USDA doesn’t officially offer any opinion about whether organic food is safer or more nutritious than non-organic food. It only says that organic standards have been met. This includes the companies that handle or process the foods before they get to the supermarket. That said, organic foods have lower levels of artificial pesticides, are not genetically modified, don’t have artificial hormones, and reduce your exposure to antibiotics. On the other hand, the EPA regulates pesticides in foods. Strict standards must be met. As for being healthier, some studies have found that organically grown oranges have more vitamin C and possibly iron and magnesium. Organic milk has been found to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. More research needs to be done on this. One thing to keep in mind is that organic potato chips are still junk food. Being organic doesn’t mean you can load up on them.
Does being “organic” mean the food is safer and healthier? The USDA doesn’t officially offer any opinion about whether organic food is safer or more nutritious than non-organic food. It only says that organic standards have been met. This includes the companies that handle or process the foods before they get to the supermarket. That said, organic foods have lower levels of artificial pesticides, are not genetically modified, don’t have artificial hormones, and reduce your exposure to antibiotics. On the other hand, the EPA regulates pesticides in foods. Strict standards must be met. As for being healthier, some studies have found that organically grown oranges have more vitamin C and possibly iron and magnesium. Organic milk has been found to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. More research needs to be done on this. One thing to keep in mind is that organic potato chips are still junk food. Being organic doesn’t mean you can load up on them.
It is better to buy it locally, because nutrients start getting depleted in food as soon as it’s harvested. The further organic food has to be transported, the more nutrients that are lost.
Is it really that important to buy foods closer to where they originate? It is better to buy it locally, because nutrients start getting depleted in food as soon as it’s harvested. The further organic food has to be transported, the more nutrients that are lost.
Categories: Consumer Health News

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One Comment

  1. Sarah Huntoon says:

    We know pesticides, herbicides, and radiation can cause cancer and other health problems in people. The environment and our bodies are worth the extra cost. We are a filter of the environment -its no wonder cancer is an epidemic. It would be great if organic produce was highly subsidize like other industries so that everyone could afford to eat healthy foods. What can be done to bring the cost down? Farmers markets are a good option for buying produce at lower costs and supporting local businesses.

  2. Betty Beekeeper says:

    Foods from sustainable farms carry a higher price for U.S. Consumers, but most of us can actually afford it. Americans spend about 9% of their incomes on food, according to the Agriculture Dept, one of the smallest percentages in the world. The real challenge now is making good food available to people at every income level. Access to clean, healthy, affordable food is a right. If we want to save on healthcare, we need to shift from reactive medicine to PREVENTION of disease. Sure, there’s more $ to be made in treating disease rather than preventing it, but that’s one step away from CAUSING disease to spur profits. Cheap food is not cheap when you factor in all the costs to our bodies, environment, water, crop diversity…

  3. tn says:

    The larger problem is authenticity. It’s easy to slap on an “organic” sticker on produce or drop whatever in a box marked “organic.” Unless you buy from known trusted sources, many cannot tell the difference unless tested under laboratory testing. Our government already has a hard time keeping track of many USDA meat gradings, disease-feasted poultry processing, seafood and fish claims of wild caught, net caught mystery fish, I can’t see how they can effectively monitor produce. It’s a wonderful, basic no-brainer in the quest to be or get healthy but given our capitalistic business way of operation, this is one area I agree on regulation. Just saying

  4. Peter Fanucchi says:

    This week CBS 5 is ringing the alarm bells that pesticide use is increasing in California ‘while Organic farming in also increasing” Implying that “non-organic” farmers are applying more dangerous stuff toeverything else!!!! They never mention the one critical fact, that Organic pesticides are more than 10 times as heavy, less effective, and in wet growing seasons are more often reapplied because they easily wash off from rain!!! For example the #one heaviest pesticide in California which happens to be a powdered mineral (also a micro nutrient for plants & humans) used in agriculture for thousands of years IS Organic! It is used to PREVENT fungus & applied at 20# / ac rates of easily washed off dust compared with 2# /ac rates of synthetic materials, which stick better and can kill those same fungus. The last two growing seasons started out very wet so that heavy organic pesticide was highly needed & washed off often!!!! So when you hear the media ___________ bash California Ag this week as your self why do you trust them!!!! OH and YES! Organically farmed produce dose use pesticides – they are called “organic pesticides”

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