Is Organic Always Better? Are organics a scam, or is the extra cost really worth it?


Is food raised organically a scam, or is the extra cost really worth it? 

When I am grocery shopping, I have a choice to spend more on organic food, or save money by going non-organic. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires all food labeled organic, to follow certain strict government standards. These standards regulate how it's grown, handled and processed. There is limited information available to show that eating organic foods makes a person healthier, but a growing body of evidence does show there are some likely health benefits to eating organic vs conventional foods. 

Potential benefits of eating organic include:

A small to moderate increase in nutrients found in the food - a higher number of healthy omega-3 fatty acids are found in organic meat, eggs and milk, less toxic metals are found in the soil at organic farms

Meats produced non-organically may have a higher occurrence of bacteria resistant to antibiotic treatment (though the risk of getting sick from contamination is equal to organic meats).   

Follow these tips offered by The Mayo Clinic, to increase the safety of eating organic and/or non-organic food. 

  • Select a variety of foods from a variety of sources. This will give you a better mix of nutrients and reduce your likelihood of exposure to a single pesticide.

  • Buy fruits and vegetables in season, when possible. To get the freshest produce, ask your grocer what is in season, or buy food from your local farmers market.

  • Read food labels carefully. Just because a product says it's organic or contains organic ingredients, doesn't necessarily mean it's a healthier alternative. Some organic products may still be high in sugar, salt, fat or calories.

  • Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Washing helps remove dirt, bacteria and traces of chemicals from the surface of fruits and vegetables, but not all pesticide residues can be removed by washing. Discarding outer leaves of leafy vegetables can reduce contaminants. Peeling fruits and vegetables can remove contaminants, but may also reduce nutrients.

The bottom line when it comes to choosing organic or non-organic foods, is to do your homework. You can make healthy nutritious choices with just a little planning and effort ahead of time!

Organic Foods: Are they Safer? Mayo Clinic

Organic production and handling standards. U.S. Department of Agriculture.