Organic foods are becoming more common in our supermarkets and fruit stores. It is a growing industry in Australia with the consumer demand increasing by 20-30% each year. Organic foods refer to the way fruit, vegetables, animals, eggs, honey, grains and dairy foods are grown, processed and prepared. This means organic crops must be grown in a nutrient rich soil, with no synthetic fertilisers or pesticides or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Organic livestock (animals) must be allowed to roam free outdoors, be fed organic food, not given any antibiotics or growth hormones and treated humanely.
People are starting to consume these foods, but let’s look at the reasons why you should buy organic foods. Some of the main reasons to eat organic fruits, vegetables and meats, are that they have a higher level of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, they are grown with no harmful pesticides or fertilisers, they are free of artificial additives, they support the local farmers, have a lower impact on the environment , are healthier and taste better, of course.
One of the downfalls you may notice about organic foods is the cost. They can be expensive mainly due to being labour-intensive to produce, and not using any pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals and the yield is often smaller. Aside from this there are more positive reasons to consume foods which are more natural and better for the environment with farmers conserving soil and water.
For a food product to be termed and sold as ‘organic’ farmers need to follow strict principles for 3 years before they are awarded certification. In Australia however the industry is not regulated, so to ensure you are buying a truly organic product, make sure your foods are from a certified organic grower.
Overall, there is no conclusive research into the benefits of consuming organic foods but anything that is grown as naturally as possible without chemicals can’t be doing you any harm.