The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth
God's Hand Behind the News

Monday, June 30, 2008

Is organic food really worth the extra cost?


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Courtesy of the USDA

Only growers that have been certified by an independent certifying body may carry the USDA organic seal, shown here.  Growers must refrain from using chemicals for at least three years and supply thorough documentation of their organic practices.

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Chart by Lisa Watson.  Data from “New evidence confirms the nutritional superiority of plant-based organic foods,” by Charles Benbrook, et. al. The Organic Center, March 2008. CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE!

Studies show that organic fruits and vegetables are more likely to have higher levels of nutrients than their conventionally grown counterparts. 

Sales of organic products have skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s easy to see why.  People associate organic food with better health, local growers, lower pesticide levels, humane treatment of animals and sounder environmental practices.

But the National Organic Program, which regulates the process of growing organic food, is actually a marketing program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The government stops short of making any scientific claims that organic food is safer or more nutritious than conventional foods.  So with the price of food continuing to increase in recent months, shoppers are wondering if organics are really worth the extra cost. 

Experts confirm that organic fruits and vegetables probably are better for the environment, and they’re often a good way of ensuring you get fresh fruit.  But although a recent meta-study on organic nutrition levels showed a higher level of some vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, experts are divided on whether that translates to better health.

 

What makes it organic?    MORE

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