People are switching over to organic produce instead of conventional crops for several reasons, like environmental and health concerns, and increased nutritional value. Unfortunately, not everybody feels they can afford to make this switch – they wonder if it is really worth the extra cost. In the UK there has been a drastic drop in organic sales since the credit crunch in 2008. Whether this is because people can’t afford it, don’t believe in the benefits, or are growing their own produce is not known. What I like to do is look at it from a scientific and factual point of view – but I’m not a scientist, so I did some research.
What the scientists say
Significantly lower urinary pesticide levels were found in a study that involved testing children who eat organic food versus children eating conventional food. It was also found that there was a much higher risk of finding antibiotic resistant bacteria in conventional meat, than in organic meats. However, the same study included testing nutrient levels and found that the difference was not clinically meaningful. Besides higher levels of phosphorous in organic food, the nutritional impact was similar. Another study concluded that organic grains and fruit like strawberries, peaches and pears are indeed more nutritious.
What this means
In a nutshell, it is not just about what is in your food, it is also what is not in your food. While not all organic food is significantly more nutrient-rich than conventional food, it is still not dangerous – like conventional produce is. Chew over these facts first, before you decide to eat or continue eating conventional produce:
• The US’s CDC (Centers for Disease Contols and Prevention) found that organophosphates (pesticides) increase the risk of ADHD in children.
• By eating non-organic meat your risk of contracting antibiotic resistant bacteria is significantly increased. Not to mention that you are also consuming growth hormones, antibiotics and other dangerous chemicals.
• Organic practices are environmentally friendly – less energy and water is used, less pollution and no toxic chemicals that could harm the animals in the area.
• GMOs are toxic and organic produce is not genetically modified.
• Pesticides increase the risk of cancers like leukaemia, lymphoma and breast cancer.
My question is not whether we can afford to eat organic, it is whether we can afford not to eat organic…