The Organic Debate

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The term "organic" appears on a growing number of food and food products these days. Some consumers have gravitated towards these products; others have decided not to jump on the bandwagon.

Organic FarmingWhy the debate? Why the higher prices for organics? Are there really health benefits in organics? Is there really a risk of illness with non-organic (conventional) foods?

Food safety is about knowledge. Understanding about organics and conventionally grown food processes and standards can help you make wise food choices for yourself and your family.

Organic LettuceTo put it simply, when you see that a food is "organically grown," you know it is grown or produced without the use of pesticides, injected hormones, synthetic fertilizers, or genetically altered foods or additives. In short, nothing "unnatural" is in an organic food. Check out some of the differences in organic and conventional growing .

On the other hand, conventional (CV) foods utilize any and all available science and technology to grow crops and produce meats. CV foods may utilize chemical fertilizers, pesticides and even genetically modified organisms (GMOs), all of which can help produce sustainable and consistently resilient crops. CV foods are also usually cheaper when compared with their organic counterparts.

What does that mean for you?

For a food to be organic, the farmer or producer must follow very strict organic standards set by the USDA . To have the term “organic” on the product or packaging, the food must have been produced without using anything unnatural or modified. It may cost more to produce food this way, as compared with conventional foods (foods currently being grown with the addition of scientific advances). Those costs, of course, are usually passed down to the customer.

But what do you get in return? Studies have shown that organic foods are healthier, giving you about 25% more vitamins and minerals (learn more advantages, click here .) Some studies suggest that the risk of contracting diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease can be lowered by eating organically grown food.

It’s important to note, however, that not all experts believe these claims. Indeed, CV food production isn’t all bad; genetically modified organisms have led to consistent, plentiful crops that can feed nations. And there are serious food safety concerns about some organic growing practices.

Organic PotatoSo why discuss organics in a food safety web site? When you understand food safety, you understand what you need to look for. When you have the option to choose between organic and conventional foods, you need to make educated choices which do involve food safety. wants to help you not only in making good choices about organics, but also in shopping safely for your food in your grocery store or supermarket, knowing what to look for in the restaurants you frequent , and making food safe at home.

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