Many of us think that we are eating well by having healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. But are we really having healthy food? Most of these foods come with significant risks due to use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers. Owing to this more and more people are choosing organic foods although they cost slightly more than the non-organic foods. But it makes one wonder if these foods are really worth it or if it is another money making tactic.
What is organic food?
Organic foods are grown or raised without using synthetic chemicals like chemical fertilizers, pest killers (pesticides), weed killers, or drugs.
That is when organic food is grown:
- Natural pest killers, such as plant oils, soap, fungus-eating bacteria, or bugs that eat other bugs are used and not chemical pest killers (pesticides) or weed killers.
- Natural fertilizers, like manure or compost is used instead of chemical fertilizers.
- Farm animals are fed only organic food.
- Animals are not given antibiotics or growth hormones.
- Irradiation, or X-rays or other types of rays are not used to kill pests, change the way plants grow, or keep produce from spoiling as fast.
Developed countries like the United States, have made rules to govern labeling of foods as organic. Before a food product is labeled organic inspection is done to ensure that the food is grown according to the regulations set for organic foods.
Why does organic food usually cost more?
Food grown organically may cost twice as much when it's grown non-organically. The reasons for the higher cost, of organic foods include:
- Most farms that grow organic foods are much smaller than nonorganic food farms.
- Labor and effort needed to grow plants and raise animals without using chemical fertilizers, pesticides (chemicals that kill pests) and drugs is higher.
- Cost of feeding animals organic food is almost twice as much as needed to feed animals non-organic foods.
- Most organic farmers do not get financial aid from the government.
Can I avoid pesticides in my food?
Yes if you eat organic foods you can avoid pesticides. But try to ensure that what you are buying is really organic and not only labeled as organic. But remember that organic foods are not easily available every where and it often costs more. If pesticides really worry you but money is a constraint buy organic versions foods you eat most often.
But, if can not get organic food, steps that can help to lower the amount of pesticides on your food are:
- Use detergent like the dishwashing soap to wash fresh fruits and vegetables. This can help to remove pesticides, and if needed use a scrub brush. Rinse the fruits and vegetables well to take out the soap.
- Peel fruits like apples, pears, and peaches, before eating. This should be specially done for children.
However eating nonorganic fruits and vegetables, which have pesticide is definitely better than not eating fruits and vegetables.
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