A lot of people are confused as to which type of food is better between organic and our regular conventional foods. For a lot of people, they are of the belief that regular conventional food is healthier and more beneficial than organic food. For others, reverse is the case and there are also a handful of people who are indifferent as to which they prefer.
However, the importance of this article is to provide you with detailed information on both organic foods and conventional foods citing their benefits, shortcoming, and facts that will educate you on what to expect from both food groups.
What are organic and conventional foods?
Organic foods refer to agricultural products that are grown and processed without the use of fertilizers, growth regulators, livestock feeds, pesticides, additives, bio-engineered genes (GMOs). Organic farming is controlled by regulations which differ from country to country. The main concept of organic farming is to grow food without the use of synthetic materials or genetically modified crops.
In conventional farming, farmers utilize chemical fertilizers to enhance plant growth. Conventional foods are made using pesticides, chemical herbicides. In animal rearing, conventional farmers administer antibiotics and growth hormones to improve the growth and well being of the animals.
The difference between organic food and conventional food
Organic and conventional foods differ from one another, below are some of the major differences between organic and conventional foods.
- The main difference between organic foods and conventional foods is in the method used in growing the food on the farm. In conventional food farming, farmers utilize chemicals during production and processing of farm produce. These chemicals have a devastating effect on the environment and on human health. The fact is that foods are grown using pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and other kind of chemicals.They may be safe for consumption as there have not been any recorded case of anyone falling ill from consuming conventional foods. However, existing doubts surrounding conventional foods is due to the fact that the long-term effect of consuming conventional foods remains unknown.In organic farming, all the chemical which are utilized in conventional farming are avoided both in the food production and processing. The fact that there is no trace of chemicals in the production of organic foods makes it environmentally friendly and good for human consumption. Reasons that all the potential contaminants from the chemicals are not incorporated into the food and environment.
- In animal farming, conventional farmers administer growth hormones, antibiotics and another form of medication to the animals to improve their growth and for disease prevention.Organic farmers allow their animals to roam about freely and feed on strictly organic foods and ensure that the animals have a balanced diet and their house remains clean to avoid disease outbreak.
- In conventional farming, farmers use pesticides to eliminate the outbreak of pests, while organic farmersrely on birds and insects or traps to get rid of pest.
- Conventional farmers use chemical herbicides to control weeds, while organic farmers engage in crop rotation, mulches or hand weeds
|Use synthetic or chemicals during production and processing of farm produce||Chemicals are avoided in production and processing of farm produce, instead, farmers use manure or compost to nourish soil and promote growth|
|Use of pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, other chemicals||Environmentally friendly and free of anti-biotics|
|Growth hormones, antibiotics and other medications to improve growth and prevent disease outbreak||Animals roam freely and feed strictly on organic foods|
|Use of insecticides to eliminate pest outbreaks||Relies on birds and insects to get rid of pesticides or pesticides from natural sources|
|Use of chemical herbicides for weed controlling||Crop rotation, use of mulch or hands to control weed|
Which one is safe for consumption?
Organic foods and conventional foods are both safe for consumption. However, it is advisable that when selecting your fruits and vegetables, make sure that you stick to products from organic farms. This is essential to avoid consuming foods that contain chemical residues from farms that utilize conventional methods of food production and processing.
As earlier stated, conventional farmers incorporate chemicals in foods production and these chemicals can easily be transferred into fruits and vegetables. Since most fruits and vegetables are consumed fresh from the farm without boiling or cooking, which can help to reduce the chemical effect in the food, beware of what you put inside of you. A lot of debate is ongoing on the safety of consuming conventional foods in the long term but when it comes to eating fruits and vegetable, endeavor to select products from an organic market.
Even as conventional foods seems to possess chemical residues from pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals used in the cultivation of these plants, conventional foods are still considered safe for consumption. Fruits such as apple, banana, and citrus produced using conventional farming methods can be consumed without fear of side effects. Conventional foods are both safe for kids and adults. Animal products such as pork, beef, chicken, and others reared with the use of antibiotics and growth stimulants are also considered safe for consumption and do not pose any health risk as countless study and evaluation of people who ate conventional animal demonstrate no posed health risk.
Impact on the environment
A major concern of conventional farming is its effect on the environment. While conventional food producers believe that there is not enough science based evidence to prove that conventional foods production affect the environment negatively, there are a lot of facts which counters their claims. The points below are backed by scientific finding on the effect of organic and conventional farming on the environment:
- In organic production, the contamination of soil and water does not exist since there is no use of synthetic chemicals in organic farming whereas conventional farming relies heavily on the use of synthetic chemicals which poses as a threat to soil and underwater contamination.
- Organic farming helps protect the local wildlife through the avoidance of toxic chemicals which helps to provide a safe haven for local wide life to thrive such as insects and rodents rather than contaminating it like in the case of conventional farming.
- Organic farming has helped to preserve biodiversity as the avoidance of synthetic chemicals in food farming helps to promote a natural balance in the ecosystem which prevents an abundance of particular species over the others.
- Organic farming reduces the effect of erosion as there is no elimination of vegetation which allows for more soil to be covered with vegetation which prevents erosion.
Although critics of organic farming may be quick to note that conventional farming does not require land use like organic farming but that does not provide enough evidence to counter the benefits of organic farming. The fact that organic food production utilizes methods that protect and preserve the ecosystem which comprises of both wildlife and vegetation is enough reasons to say that it is of greater benefit to the environment than the conventional method.