1. ORGANIC FOODS
What does “organic’’ mean?
The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. While the
regulations vary from country to country, in the U.S., organic crops must be grown without the
use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and
sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must
have access to the outdoors and be given feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth
hormones, or any animal by-products.
Organic food is food produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming.
Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming in general features practices that strive to cycle
resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organizations regulating
organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in farming. In general,
organic foods are also usually not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents or synthetic
There is not sufficient evidence in medical literature to support claims that organic food is safer
or healthier than conventionally grown food. While there may be some differences in the nutrient
and anti-nutrient contents of organically- and conventionally-produced food, the variable nature
of food production and handling makes it difficult to generalize results. Claims that organic food
tastes better are generally not supported by evidence.
There is no good evidence that organic food tastes better than its non-organic counterparts. Here
is evidence that some organic fruit is drier than conventionally grown fruit; a slightly drier fruit
may also have a more intense flavor due to the higher concentration of flavoring substances.
Some foods, such as bananas, are picked when unripe, are cooled to prevent ripening while they
are shipped to market, and then are induced to ripen quickly by exposing them to propylene or
ethylene, chemicals produced by plants to induce their own ripening; as flavor and texture
changes during ripening, this process may affect those qualities of the treated fruit.
2. On an overall basis, organic food is food prepared and processed without using any chemical
fertilizers, pesticides, or chemical preservatives.
The USDA categorizes food products into the following sections:
100% organic: Must contain 100% organically produced ingredients.
Organic: Must contain at least 95% organic ingredients.
Made of organic ingredients: Must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.
Have some organic ingredients: May contain less than 70% organic ingredients.
Many people believe that organic foods have higher content of nutrients and thus are healthier
than conventionally produced foods. A 2009 systematic review found that organically produced
foodstuffs are not richer in vitamins and minerals than conventionally produced foodstuffs. The
results of the systematic review only showed a lower nitrogen and higher phosphorus content in
organic produced compared to conventionally grown foodstuffs. Content of vitamin C, calcium,
potassium, total soluble solids, copper, iron, nitrates, manganese, and sodium did not differ
between the two categories.
A 2012 survey of the scientific literature did not find significant differences in the vitamin
content of organic and conventional plant or animal products, and found that results varied from
study to study. Present studies reported on ascorbic acid (vitamin C) (31 studies), beta-carotene
(a precursor for vitamin A) (12 studies), and alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E) (5 studies)
content; milk studies reported on beta-carotene (4 studies) and alpha-tocopherol levels (4
studies). Few studies examined vitamin content in meats, but these found no difference in beta-
carotene in beef, alpha-tocopherol in pork or beef, or vitamin A (retinol) in beef. The authors
analyzed 11 other nutrients reported in studies of produce. A 2011 literature review found that
organic foods had a higher micronutrient content overall than conventionally produced foods.
Similarly, organic chicken contained higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than conventional
chicken. The authors found no difference in the protein or fat content of organic and
conventional raw milk.
A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis found that organic meat had comparable or slightly
lower levels of saturated fat and monounsaturated fat as conventional meat, but higher levels of
both overall and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Another meta-analysis published the same year
found no significant differences in levels of saturated and monounsaturated fat between organic
and conventional milk, and significantly higher levels of overall and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty
acids in organic milk than in conventional milk.
The amount of nitrogen content in certain vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables and
tubers, has been found to be lower when grown organically as compared to conventionally.
When evaluating environmental toxins such as heavy metals, the USDA has noted that
organically raised chicken may have lower arsenic levels. Early literature reviews found no
significant evidence that levels of arsenic, cadmium or other heavy metals differed significantly
between organic and conventional food products. However, a 2014 review found lower
concentrations of cadmium, particularly in organically grown grains.
Organic food is extremely popular and everyone wants to know about its benefits. The sweeping
public opinion that organic food is healthier than conventional food is quite strong and is the
main reason for the increase in its demand over the past 5-6 years. Organic Facts is a strong
proponent of organic food.
As a result, even the FDA and the USDA clearly mention that non-organic food is as healthy as
organic food. However, there are some scientific studies that have proved organic milk and
organic tomatoes to be better than the non-organic varieties. Studies are also ongoing about a
variety of other types of organic food that may have additional health benefits compared to the
4. Health Benefits of Organic Food
In general, organic food consumers, manufacturers, and farmers strongly believe that
organic food has the following benefits compared to conventional food.
A number of studies have been completed regarding the effects of antioxidants from
organic foods on overall health, and the predominant results have shown that
antioxidants tend to have more of an impact when they come from organic foods. This
may be due to the fact that foreign chemicals are not negatively interacting with the
different vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that are so essential for the
positive impact of fruits and vegetables in the prevention of cancer, heart diseases,
premature aging, vision problems, and cognitive
malfunction. Recent research suggests that choosing organic food can lead to
increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic
One of the major complaints that organic food consumers cite when choosing organic
over non-organic is the presence of pesticides. In order to keep crops from being
attacked by the natural world, including bugs, pesticides are required. Although they
do a good job at keeping certain pests away from the crops, they also are composed of
powerful chemicals like organophosphorus. This is an unnatural mineral compound
that is not required by humans, but more than 80% of this material in our bodies
comes from eating pesticide-coated foods. Organophosphorus has been connected to a
number of developmental problems, including autism and ADHD, so organic food
lovers do have a pretty strong argument in this case. To be fair, many people do
choose to go organic to make sure that their children grow up healthy and unaffected
by the toxins of the world during their developmental years.
An increased amount of time grazing on grass also increases the amounts of CLA
(conjugated linoleic acid) that can be found in animal products. CLA is a heart-
healthy fatty acid that can boost cardiovascular protection, and it is found in higher
quantities in breast milk and in the meat of animals that have been raised free-range or
5. Immune System Boost
In recent decades, one of the biggest projects for farmers and food growers has been
a genetic modification. Making tomatoes six times larger might sound like a possible
option for solving some world hunger issues, but there is another side to it. Genetic
modification is still in its early stages, so the long-term effects of it on human health
aren’t understood very well. In animal testing, genetically modified food showed a
major reduction in immune system strength, an increase in birth mortality, as well as
in certain sexual dysfunctions, cancers, and sensitivity to allergens. Although there are
some good things about genetically modified food, organic food advocates point to
the lack of concrete details about its long-term effects.
People are very sensitive to issues of their health, and they often take precautions to
make sure they remain healthy, like getting various vaccines and taking antibiotics as
soon as a new strain of bacteria makes them ill. However, non-organic food sources,
particularly livestock and feed houses, also use antibiotics to feed their animals. This
extra dose of antibiotics may actually be weakening our immune system by basically
overdosing on antibiotics, thereby reshaping it so many times that it will eventually be
unable to defend itself. Organic food growers and dairy farmers do not use antibiotics
in their processes.
Since organic food is not prepared using chemical fertilizers, it does not contain any
traces of these strong chemicals and does not affect the human body in negative ways.
Natural fertilizers, like manure, work perfectly fine, and organic farmers are happy to
use this smellier, yet safer form of fertilizer.
Some people strongly believe that organic food tastes better than conventional food.
The prominent reason for this belief is that it is produced using organic means of
production. Furthermore, organic food is often sold locally, resulting in the
availability of fresh produce in the market, which usually does taste better than
produce that has been frozen, shipped, and transported across long distances.
6. Environmental Safety
As harmful chemicals are not used in organic farming, there is minimal soil, air, and
water pollution; thus ensuring a safer and healthier world for future generations to live
Animal welfare is an important aspect of producing organic milk, organic meat,
organic poultry, and organic fish. People feel happy that the animals are not confined
to a miserable caged life when they eat organic animal products.
The below FAQs will help you understand organic food and its benefits in a better