15 May 2015
Is Organic Food Really Healthier For You?
Maya W. Paul wrote an article for Helpguide.com about organic foods geared towards helping people understand how to read organic food labels and their benefits and claims. When she wrote her definition for the word “organic”, she defined it as: Organic crops must be grown in safe soil, have no modifications, and must remain separate from conventional products. Farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic livestock must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal-by-products. (Paul)
While this appears to be the correct definition as most people believe it is there is one major fallacy with this definition. The statement that “farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides” is not only completely false but misleads anyone who reads this article. The fact of the matter is that the United States government regulates and controls how organic food is grown. Under the National Organic Program and the Code of Regulations in section §205.601 titled Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production, (United States) it clearly states which synthetic chemicals are allowed to be used. This section clearly tells you how those chemicals are allowed to be used and under what conditions they are allowed to be used while preparing your land, the maintenance of your land, the preparation of your seeds, the production of your crops, and maintenance of your crops. This one section alone, which is federal law, completely refutes everyone’s claim that organic food is pesticide free whether it is synthetic or organic.
This is just one area where people believe that organic food is healthier for you but there really are several reasons why organic food is no healthier than conventional grown foods. In the past few years there have been several studies regarding organic foods and how they affect your health. Their results have some people, mainly farmers and retailers up in arms because what these studies show is that has people questioning if the organic food they buy is worth the extra money they spend for them.
I do not feel that organic food is any healthier than conventionally grown food. There have been a number of studies conducted by various agencies and but one stands out because of how they conducted their study and that was one by University of Stanford. The study concluded that there was no significant difference in the health benefits between the two. From vitamin content to the total nutrients, not one was any better than the other and this even included milk. So in my opinion there is absolutely no reason to pay the extra money that organic foods cost for no extra health benefits.
There are several articles written that contradict what my position is and what the study says. One article recently posted on the organicvalley.coop website that talked about how food safety is a concern of consumers and the use of synthetic chemicals. Organicvalley.coop states, “USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations strictly prohibit the use of synthetic chemical pesticides. Organic growers use biological and cultural practices to handle pests…” (Unknown)
One of the biggest and latest studies conducted regarding organic foods happens to be one that was done by the University of Stanford and was led by Dr. Crystal Smith-Spangler. In her study “Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?”. (Smith-Spangler) Their study was conducted by sifting through thousands of research papers to identify the most significant studies to analyze and of those articles; they selected 237 to work with more intensely. Of those studies that they selected, they compared the nutrient levels, the bacterial, fungal, or pesticide...
Cited: Campell, Hank. Like E. Coli? Enjoy Organic Food. Science 2.0. 1 June 2011. Web. 19 Feburary 2014.
United States. Government Printing Office. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Washington D.C. 9 Feburary 2014. Web. 20 Feburary 2014.
Kluger, Jeffrey. What 's So Great About Organic Food? 18 August 2010. Web. 20 Feburary 2014.
Paul, Maya W. Organic Foods - Understanding Food Labels, Benefits, and Claims. Helpguide.org. December 2013. Web. 21 Feburary 2014.
Smith-Spangler, Dr. Crystal. Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? Annals of Internal Medicine 157.5 (2012): 1-23.
Strom, Stephanie. F.D.A. Offers Broad New Rules to Fight Food Contamination. The New York Times. 4 Janurary 2013. Web. 1 March 2014.
Unknown. Why Organic? Organic Valley. 2014. Web. 12 March 2014.
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