by Yang Lu
Every time I shop in the produce section, I always face a difficult decision. Which banana should I buy? A banana is $0.33 but directly beside it is an organic banana for $0.47. What’s the difference? And does this difference justify shelling out the extra $0.14?
What’s the Difference?
To be labelled as organic, a food must have been made without the use of any man-made additives. These additives can include fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified organisms. A farmer uses additives in conventional farming methods because they help prevent weeds and pests from harming their crops. Since farmers cannot use artificial additives, they must find naturally sourced alternatives instead. Farmers may utilize predatory insects and insect traps to deter pests instead of using pesticides. However, some natural and synthetic pesticides are still used, often as a last resort.
The Ultimate Question: is it Healthier?
An organic banana may be made from natural processes, but does this truly benefit you? No. Science has shown that organic food has no benefit over conventional food. The amount and number of nutritional elements, such as vitamin C, are the same. Furthermore, organic foods tend to contain more trans-fats, which is worse for the body.
The next time you have to choose between organic food and regular food, science says that you should go with the regular one most of the time. The benefits just aren’t there, and you are better off saving the $0.14. The difference in taste is not there either; blind taste tests have shown that people are not able to identify the taste of organic from regular food. Finally, organic farming isn’t as beneficial to the environment as we may assume. It is not efficient, producing as little as 50% of the yield of conventional farming in the same amount of space. This deficiency leads to more land becoming farming land.
But this isn’t to say that organic foods are worse than the foods produced from conventional farming methods. Both have their own upsides and downsides. Though organic food may not be worth the extra $0.14, purchasing it still supports healthy farming practices and promotes the importance of sustainability. In summary, you do not need to go out of your way to buy organic, but it is great to eat a mix of both types of foods.