The growing popularity of organic foods has resulted in several households switching to organic produce and meats for their families, in a bid to live healthier and more conscientious lives. Not only are organic foods free of synthetic plant additives, they also educate the consumer about the cleaner cultivation and food rearing practices.
While it is a wise choice to switch to organic foods, it is also wise to know about any allergies or counter-actions that foods can have, so that you are sure about what you or your family consumes. Globally, there are several myths about organic foods, their nutritional value and their allergic nature, if any. Here are some of the most common myths about organic foods debunked.
Myth 1: Organic foods may not be the safest
Fact – By definition, “Organic” refers to produce and ingredients cultivated minus the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge or radiation. In case of animals and livestock that produce meat, eggs or dairy, they are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic produce, meats and products are grown or produced in environmentally friendly ways – soil and plants are not treated with toxic chemicals or persistent pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or sewage sludge are not used to promote growth, GMOs are not allowed, animals are provided outdoor access and are fed organic feeds, synthetic growth hormones and antibiotics are not used in animal rearing. These strict cultivation and rearing practices make organic food safer than conventional foods, and chemical-free, thereby ensuring safety for you and your family.
Myth 2: Organic foods do not cause allergies
Fact – While they are safer for consumption due to their cultivation and processing practices, organic foods contain allergens just like conventional foods. However, these allergies are limited to being caused due to food-related or inherent allergens present, and not due to the chemicals and synthetic additives, since organic foods are devoid of the latter. Therefore, if you are allergic to say, peanuts, both organic and inorganic peanuts can still cause an allergic reaction upon consumption.
Myth 3: Organic food isn’t healthier than conventional foods
Fact – Simply put, the fact that organic food is produced without the use of synthetic additives and hormones makes them a much healthier and safer alternative than conventionally grown and produced foods. Ask yourself this – would you rather consume a fruit A that has been sprayed with chemical-laced pesticides and insecticides, made to reach ripening prematurely by feeding the tree synthetic fertilizers, and given an unnatural sheen by polishing it with a waxy substance? Or would you rather consume a fruit B that you know has been grown without any of the above additives? Which sounds healthier, fruit A or fruit B?
Myth 4: Organic food is a wallet-drainer
Fact – Due to its stringent cultivation norms, labour and time intensive production, post-harvest procedures and certification fee, organic food can be expensive; yet, there are organic foods that are affordable and sometimes may even cost less than conventional foods. Besides, there are hidden costs of conventional food such as health costs related to issues caused by pesticide consumption and of course, environmental costs due to the rampant use of synthetic additives to the soil.
Myth 5: Natural and free-range foods are the same as organic, and just as good
Natural foods and free-range foods are not the same as organic foods; neither can they boast of the advantages of organic foods. Natural foods or ingredients refer to those foods that have undergone minimal processing, with no guarantee to its cultivation procedures and synthetic additives. Free-range refers primarily to animal husbandry where the animals are allowed to roam freely outdoors, as opposed to being enclosed within constricted spaces for twenty-four hours each day.
Organic foods are a safer and healthier alternative to conventionally produced foods, for you and your entire family, including the little ones. Given the numerous myths, false facts and information overload regarding organic foods, it is best to get the facts straight so that you can make an informed and wise choice for the health and safety of your family.