Organic foods are produced according to certain governmental standards. For crops, that means that they have been grown without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers. For animals, it means they´ve been raised without antibiotics and growth hormones. Non-organic food can be injurious to our health. Supermarkets generally stock organic and non-organic products, but the price of organics is usually higher.
To be considered organic, 95% of the ingredients in a product have to be organic. The other 5% of non-organic ingredients in the product must meet the requirements nonetheless. They cannot be produced with artificial food additives, chemicals used to aid ripening, food irradiation, and genetically-modified ingredients.
Eating organic is much more beneficial for you than eating conventionally grown foods. By consuming non-organic foods you expose yourself to a lot of pesticides which can result in a myriad of health problems such as: Abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, skin and eye problems, respiratory problems, memory disorders, dermatologic conditions, cancer, depression, neurologic deficits, miscarriage, and birth defects. Studies have confirmed that organic foods have a higher nutrient level than conventionally grown foods. Further studies attest that organic foods are healthier because they lack hormones and harmful dyes.
Critics claim that organic foods are more expensive than conventionally-grown foods; consequently, people with little money would find it hard to eat so healthily. Organic foods do indeed cost at least 10 to 40% more than conventionally-grown foods. A study done in Australia showed that in supermarkets, organic foods appeared to be 65% more than the cost. Some were about the same. Costs are usually
higher because organic food is produced on a lower scale and more labor is needed to accomplish the work.
Organic foods are becoming increasingly popular around the world. Here are a few interesting facts:
The United States: In 2003, organic products were available in nearly 20,000 natural food stores and 73% of conventional grocery stores. Organic products accounted for 2.6% of total food sales in the year 2005. Two-thirds of organic milk and cream and half of organic cheese and yogurt are sold through conventional supermarkets.
Austria: 4.9% of all foods products sold in Austrian supermarkets in 2006 were organic.
Germany: Baby food is almost exclusively organic and over 30% of bread baked in Munich is organic.
Poland: Since May 2004. products of certified organic farms in Poland are allowed to carry the EU organic farming label, but it is not obligatory. This sign certifies that a given product was produced according to the EU 2092/91 organic farming regulation and therefore can be freely traded and marketed on the Whole Common Market. In 2005, already 168,000 acres of land were under organic management.
UK: By January 2005, 686,100 acres of land were managed to organic standards. Organic food sales increased from just over 100 million pounds in 1993/94 to 1.21 billion pounds in 2004.
Cuba: After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, the government converted the entire country to organic agriculture, and currently organic agriculture is the mainstream and many pesticides are not permitted by law. However, Cuba defines “organic” differently from many countries and encourages genetically engineered crops, particularly those with enhanced nutritional content and vaccines from GMO plants.
Eating and living organic can prevent health problems and improve the nutritional content of the foods you eat. In spite of the additional cost, the benefits far outweigh what you pay. Today, in the United States, organic foods are more widely available in conventional supermarkets or at health food stores such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe´s. The organic food trend is also spiraling around the world as more people are choosing to eat organic.