By Savannah Elahian
Apples or organic apples? That is the question discussed in numerous studies and grocery stores around the world. Conventional food is often less expensive than organic good and also found in more stores. However organic food is, well, organic.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved word, organic refers to the way farmers grow and process the foods we eat. Organic farming includes natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants, and using crop rotation or mulch to manage weeds.
Conventional foods tend to use synthetic pesticides to protect their crops. The pesticide residue left from the spray made to prevent mold, diseases, and insects can sometimes stay on the food we eat. Because of this organic farmers use insect traps, careful crop selection (disease-resistant varieties), predator insects or beneficial microorganisms instead to control crop-damaging pests.
Though nonorganic food pesticide residue legally does not exceed the healthy threshold, a study released in 2014 by the Environmental Working Group stated that organic food is more nutritious because “conventional crops were three to four times more likely to have pesticide residue than organic crops. Pesticide exposure has been linked to birth defects, nerve damage and some cancers.”
Another common concern is the use of food additives including preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colorings, and flavorings. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) released a study stating as long as additives are not over-consumed, they are sage.
Tamar Haspel from the Washington Post wrote an article in 2014 with a closer look at conventional milk, meat, eggs, poultry, and fish. Testing the hormones, nutritional value, and contamination, Haspel’s overall results concluded that the organic foods were slightly better nutritionally, but not enough to make an actual difference in people’s bodies.
There’s an obvious concern about the state of inorganic food in our lives. Different studies have stated opposite positions on whether these foods are safe, and if the food can lead to problems in the future.
No matter what the results say, too much of anything isn’t good for people. So organic or conventional, both have their possible benefits and faults. No matter what you choose, wash your food well: organic produce needs to be thoroughly washed for insects and inorganic should be washed well due to possible pesticide residue. Eat what makes you happy, but try to know what is in the food you eat.