Is organic worth it?

Do you prefer to purchase and consume organic foods over conventional foods? If so, is it because of your own health concerns, the animals’ well being or both?

I would like to discuss many food items in detail and weigh the merits of organic vs. conventional but that would be too much for one article. Instead, I will focus on milk to illustrate a broader point. Organic milk can be purchased in many grocery stores along side conventional milk but is usually more expensive. Most people do not actually do their research as to what organic means in terms of the milk. They also usually do not research the organization that issued that organic certificate and see what requirements they demand for that label and how they enforce their rules.

Milk, for instance is a product that goes through a multitude of intense pasteurization and tests before it arrives on store shelves. This is equally the case for both conventional and organic milk. This is done for the safety and consistency of the product (the safety and quality tests for both are actually identical). Also, the way cows are treated on the vast majority of conventional farms (at least in advanced countries) is humane, respectful and essentially the same as on an organic farm. It’s not like when a cow on an organic farm becomes ill then a naturopathic doctor comes and provides holistic remedies. In fact, on both farms the same antibiotics are administered to the cows.

There is a small difference in that when a conventional cow becomes ill and is put on antibiotics, that cow is put aside until a specific time period after it is done with the medication before that milk can be brought back in to the mix. This method has gone through many scientific tests and this approach has been proven 100% safe and nutritional for everyone including babies. At this point it is no different in any way than the milk from the other cows on that farm. On an organic farm however, that cow’s milk will not re-enter the mix any longer. This is the main distinction that earns the organic stamp.

This is clearly a marketing gimmick. There is no scientific proof whatsoever that doing this makes the milk safer or more nutritional. In fact, the proof suggests that conventional and organic milk are equal in their nutritional and safety content. Since the cows eat good quality food and are treated well on both farms, then there is absolutely no good reason to pay more for organic milk.

Milk is a good example, but it is far from the only example of when it does not benefit someone to buy organic. Broccoli is also a good example. Pesticides naturally do not stick to broccoli and its shape makes it virtually impossible to clean beyond the conventional ways, therefore, you gain nothing buy purchasing organic broccoli.

Some foods are better for you if they are organic vs. conventional so I am not saying you should not buy anything organic. I am just saying that you should do your research on the specific food item and the certifying body otherwise you fall in to the marketing trap and even for all your effort (and money) you end up being fooled.