Organic Food: Healthier for You and the Planet
Scientific benefits of organic food and organic farming
Given the industrialization of organics and various attempts to water down organic standards, there are some widely agreed-upon benefits of organic farming, including things like: organic farms do not release synthetic pesticides into the environment, some of which have the potential to harm local wildlife; organic farms are better than conventional farms at sustaining diverse ecosystems, i.e., populations of plants and insects, as well as animals; and when calculated either per unit area or per unit of yield, organic farms use less energy and produce less waste, e.g., waste such as packaging materials for chemicals.
Further, a 2002 study found that "Organically grown foods consistently had about one-third as many residues as conventionally grown foods"; additionally, several studies corroborate this finding by having found that that while 77 percent of conventional food carries synthetic pesticide residues, only about 25 percent of organic food does. So, generally, organic food isn't going to have as much nasty residue on it, and that is a very good thing.
Does organic food taste better?
But what about taste? A 2001 study by researchers at Washington State University concluded that organic apples were sweeter. Along with taste and sweetness, the texture and firmness of the apples were also rated higher than those grown conventionally. These differences are attributed to the greater soil quality resulting from organic farming techniques compared to those of conventional farming. However, a different small study looking at processed organic foods found participants could not differentiate organic and conventional varieties of a rice cakes.
Still, organic food has its share of critics. Read on for some criticism of organic food.