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Organic Produce: Is it Better than Conventional Produce?

Updated on August 23, 2014

Organic Produce vs. Conventional Produce in the Marketplace

If you have spent any time in the produce section of your local grocery store, you have probably seen the division of organic produce from the "regular" or "conventional" produce. You have also noticed the difference in cost.

Organic produce are a bit more costlier in the marketplace but are they any better for you than the everyday produce you purchase at the grocery store?

Criteria for Organic Classification

So what's the big difference between organic produce and/or conventional produce?

In order to be classified as "organic", a product must abide by a specific set of rules and regulations.

In a nutshell, produce cannot have been genetically modified, nor can synthetic herbicides, insecticides, or pesticides have been used during the growth process.

Organic farmers must adhere to an additional set of requirements (USDA Organic) which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Cannot use anything that modifies the DNA structure of the plant or genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). They must ensure that preventative practices are used to protect organic products from GMOs.
  • Farmers cannot use organic seeds unless organic seeds were not commercially available.
  • They can only utilize seedlings and transplants that have been grown organically using approved organic potting mixes.
  • They can only apply fertilizer, pest, disease and weed management inputs that have either been approved by EPA, the Organic Materials Review Institute, or by a USDA accredited certification agency, and are allowed under the USDA organic regulations.

Organic Produce Research

Interestingly enough, there has been a fair amount of research completed in recent years to examine the benefits, differences and similarities of produce.

Identified Benefits, Differences and Similarities

Recent research has shown the following benefits of organic produce

  • More nutritious than conventional produce
  • Organic produce contains more vitamin C and is rich in iron and zinc
  • Produce grown in the conventional manner contains 38 per cent of measurable pesticide residue.
  • 50 per cent more antioxidants than nonorganic produce
  • Beneficial to the environment due to the non release of synthetic pesticides which have been shown to harm soil, water, and wildlife
  • Organic farming requires less energy and creates less waste

Differences between organic and conventional produce according to the research

  • Blind studies revealed that organic fruit "tastes" sweeter in some instances
  • Organic produce "spoils" faster because it lacks the preservatives of conventional produce
  • Organic produce can cost 10 to 40 percent more in the market place

It should be noted that the documented health benefits of organic produce remain controversial as there are those who would argue otherwise.

In Summary

In summary, some studies have revealed that there are benefits of eating organic produce in the place of conventional produce for various reasons to include increased vitamins, antioxidants and a perceived better taste.

Organic produce is more expensive to the consumer and generally has a shorter shelf-life than conventional produce.

In order to be classified as an organic fruit or vegetable, it has to have been grown under a strict set of criteria established by the USDA.

Opinions about the benefits of organic produce are controversial at best however, at the end of the day, it is ultimately up to consumer in deciding which type of produce he or she prefers.

© 2014 Mahogany Speaks


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