Is Organic Food Hype or Hope?

The EU has spent a lot of time, effort and money to investigate whether or not organically grown meat and produce is brings hope to human health and environmental issues or if it is all hype. The EU is looking at different labeling and stricter standards to apply to organic foods

Here is a generally synopsis of what they looked at and what they found. You’ll find all of these particularly enlightening and you may be very surprised to find what scientists are starting to learn about what is within our organic food (see number 4).

1. Pesticides and Herbicides

Farmers trying to grow organic food have problems with drift of both pesticides and herbicides. They have discovered that both can drift for miles. Testing then determines that the produce has been exposed to pesticides and herbicides. This happens in the US as well, but organic farmers are in danger from being sued by pesticide and herbicide companies for “stealing” the products.

In addition, pesticides don’t decompose and stay in the soil, and eventually in water, for years.

2. More Nutrients

Interestingly, scientists within the EU reviewed studies conducted worldwide on organic foods. The finding indicated that produce produced organically contained far more antioxidants and far fewer pesticide residue in organic food. They also found that conventionally grown foods have a far higher contamination rate of heavy metals.

Swiss cheese makers have discovered that milk from cows fed forage instead of grass have a lower fatty acid content (the good fats). The milk from these cows can’t be used to make hard cheeses because they won’t cure properly.

3. Fertilizers

Organic and synthetic fertilizers have different chemical signatures. Nitrates from synthetic fertilizers are found in organic soils where they are deposited by rain and snow. These then get taken up into organic plants.

Gas tests in organics fields versus conventional fields have found that organic fields do not contribute to greenhouse warming as much. Organic fields have lower and fewer nitrous oxide peaks. Nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide are equally important greenhouse gasses, and both need to be decreased to avoid additional environmental harm.

4. Labeling

Since organic food costs more than conventionally grown foods, the EU would like to be able to guarantee that the foods label organic actually are. Scientists test different foods, including meat raised under free range conditions to see if there is a difference in the chemical signatures.

Indeed, early tests indicate that there is a noticeable difference in meat and animal byproducts (eggs, cheese, etc) not raised in conventional farms. They are also finding differences in the nutrients in produce. It may take more investigation to support the conclusion that organic is more nutritious than conventional, but that is what the early tests indicate.

Conclusion

Is organic hype or hope? Findings within the EU certainly seem to indicate that organic food is healthier for you, for the environment, for animals, and for our future.

Of course, findings in the EU aren’t considered in the US until the FDA and EPA agree. Since both agencies either work closely with manufacturers or are being gutted by the current government, we may not be able to get reliable information that contradicts federal desires.

Choosing organic has a lot of benefits, and findings from the EU appear to support hope over hype.