One of the hot topics of the health-food industry and natural-living community is the topic of organic and inorganic food. What makes food organic? Is it truly necessary to buy only organic food to be healthy? Are organic weight loss products necessary to obtain a healthy lifestyle?
Technically speaking, all food that is acquired from the ground or from animals is organic, because it is derived from living matter; however, the USDA National Organic Program gives the following definition: “Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” Consider the following differences between organic and inorganic food and the production of each, so that you can determine the best choice for yourself.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ORGANIC AND INORGANIC FOOD
USE OF CHEMICALS
Synthetic chemicals and petroleum-based fertilizers, which might have harmful side effects to humans when they are ingested, may be used on inorganic fields to deter insects and to promote crop growth.
On the other hand, organic produce is grown in soil that has not been treated with synthetic chemicals or fertilizers in the past two to three years (at least). Only manure and natural compost are used to grow organic produce. Birds, organic insecticides, and traps are used most often to deter insects from organic crops.
TREATMENT OF CATTLE
Animals that are raised to produce inorganic meat and dairy products are given antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, and medications to increase milk production and to obtain larger portions of meats. These animals are typically kept confined in feedlots (so that they fatten quickly) rather than allowed to graze on their natural diet. They are usually fed a diet of corn, which is typically a GMO product.
In contrast, organic dairy and meat come from animals that are not given antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, or medications, because trace amounts can pass to the consumer. They are fed a grass diet. Since these animals are allowed to graze freely and to feed in their natural habitat, they are considered to be treated more humanely than cattle that are bred to produce conventional meat and dairy.
COST OF PRODUCTION
Another difference between organic and inorganic food is the price of each. Organic food is generally more expensive than its conventional counterpart is. Because natural and chemical-free fertilizers and pesticides are more expensive to use and to ship than chemical-laden and synthetic options are, organic farmers must charge a higher price for their organic crops than inorganic farmers would likely charge. Also, because organic farmers must pay a price to be certified by the government to sell their food with an organic label, that additional cost is transferred to the buyer as well. Finally, the humane living conditions, which farmers provide for their free-range animals, is also an additional expense to organic farmers. These are just a few of the many reasons that organic food tends to be more expensive than inorganic food.
The decision to purchase either organic or inorganic food can be quite a conundrum. Now that you know a few key differences between organic and inorganic food, it is time for you to decide for yourself. Is organic food worth the extra cost to you?