Should We All Go Organic?
Since the early 1990’s growth in the organic food market has risen massively year on year. Buy why? Is organic food really better?
Organic food is food that is farmed without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and is instead farmed with natural fertilizers, like manure. It is also not processed with solvents, ionizing radiation or additives. Any pest repellant must be natural.
For food to be labeled by a producer as "organic" it must be certified by passing strict regulations set out by The U.S Department of Agriculture. The standards put in place by the USDA include strict limitations on antibiotic residue amounts, pesticides and hormones. Terms like "natural," "free-range," or "hormone free" are not organic, these terms are not regulated in the same way that foods labeled ‘organic' are.
So is an organic food better than a non-organic, or factory farmed, food?
At present there are no conclusive test results that show organically farmed food is healthier than factory farmed food. Some tests have shown that higher traces of vitamin C are found in organically grown tomatoes but this could be due to the fruit being smaller in size as a result of being drier and therefore more densely nourished.
What you can guarantee from organically grown food is that they will be lower in pesticides and therefore more natural. However, pesticide levels on factory farmed foods are so low that they are deemed to have no unhealthy effects.
You can take comfort in the knowledge that organically grown foods are safer for the environment as no chemically-based fertilizers and insecticides have been used during farming. The chemicals used damage the soil on run-off and affect the surrounding environment.
Factory farmed food does damage the environment by leaving dead-zones after run-off. On the plus side it requires less space. With the worldwide population continuing to grow and space for farming at a premium, factory farming is more economically efficient, if not as environmentally friendly.
Theoretically, if factory farmed foods aren't as well nourished as organically farmed foods then this could affect flavor but other factors, such as location of farming and season will have a greater impact on flavor.
It is often understood that organically grown foods are tastier but when put to the test this wasn't found to be correct. In fact, scientists at New York's Cornell University believe that consumers are influenced by the labels on organic foods leading the consumer to believe that the food tastes better and is healthier – they call this the ‘health halo effect'.
In their studies 115 volunteers were asked to evaluate three pairs of products; two yoghurts, two cookies and two bags of crisps, one labeled ‘organic' and the other labeled ‘regular'. The unsuspecting volunteers were actually sampling matching organic products.
The volunteers were asked to rate the taste and calorie content of each item and also the price they would be willing to pay for each. Even though they were exactly the same, the labels greatly influenced the volunteers' perceptions.
The ‘organic' cookies and yoghurt were estimated to have had significantly less calories and more nutrition and were said to taste lower in fat than that of their ‘regular' pairs. The volunteers were also willing to pay up to 23.4% more for the ‘organic' labeled product. Conversely, ‘regular' cookies were said to taste better than the ‘organic' cookies, most likely because many people perceive fat-reduced foods to be less flavorsome.
Organically farmed food costs more than factory farmed food because supply is limited in comparison to demand, labor input per unit of output is higher resulting in higher production costs and marketing and distribution costs are higher due to relatively small volumes.
So do you make the switch?
It depends on the individual and their budget. Colin Matthews of bakeware retailer and food blogger, BrightSpring, added, "Whilst no scientific studies have found that organic food is healthier or tastes better one may consider farming practices in their decision on whether to go organic or not. Factory farming is less environmentally friendly but it does yield more of a crop. Ethically sourced food and ingredients may be more of a consideration".
BrightSpring are a supplier of silicone kitchenware and bakeware, bringing professional quality products to the home. The BrightSpring silicone baking mat will become the kitchen accessory that you cannot live without.
See BrightSpring's website for more details on the company and their products.
Tel: (503) 664 4144
This is a press release. Press release distribution and press release services by EmailWire.Com: http://www.emailwire.com/us-press-release-distribution.php.