Product Choices: Conventional vs. Organic

Everyone who shops for groceries is faced with the same dilemma when choosing fresh fruits and vegetables from the produce department. Should I purchase the conventional or organic versions? The answer in a shortened form is that not all conventionally grown produce is bad and organic does not necessarily make it better. Let’s investigate together as we break it down.

Conventionally grown produce means that they farmers have used materials and insect repellents that have been approved by the FDA as clean to eat. On the other hand, an organic certification means that they are not allowed to use anything to change the chemical makeup of the seeds. Organic crops do not use pesticides or fertilizers. For organic gardening, farmers have to use natural alternative solutions for insect control.

Organic is not always the healthier choice. Due to pesticide spraying, only a handful of fruits and veggies should be purchased with the organic label. Some from this list include: apples, peaches, strawberries, and grapes. This is not a complete list, but just some examples of which fruits you should splurge on. Not all fruits and vegetables absorb the same levels of chemicals. Some fruits and veggies you peel before eating so anything sprayed on the surface is removed before consumption.  

Price is another big difference between the two. Organic is more expensive because their farms are generally smaller. They don’t tend to produce as much, as many conventional farms have genetically altered the seed to produce faster and bigger.  The organic farms generally need more care from the farmers too in order to keep pests from destroying their crops.

Check the labels of the items you are purchasing and do some research before reaching straight for the organic labels. Many fruits and vegetables are imported from other countries. Many countries have banned the use of chemical pesticides and genetically modified farming. Under those countries, the produce that they ship here is very similar to the organic labels here, but without the organic label since they don’t have that in the country of origin. Sometimes you are able to purchase organic quality produce without having to pay for the actual organic label. Many produce companies have a link on their site that you can trace produce back to the farm it was collected at. It’s a neat way to learn about where your food came from and a little background on the farming techniques used at that location.

Organic food is great, but conventional foods have meaningful purpose in our food supply to. Do your research and find out what is best for you and your individual needs. A health coach or nutritionist can help you with details from a dietary perspective.

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