Buying organic has become the trendy, hip way to shop and select fruits, vegetables and milk. But I have found many friends and family members have bought into the hype of organic without first understanding what they are purchasing and what the label really means.
Just the other day, my sister told me she purchased organic milk for her son “because it has more vitamins and nutrients” – at least that’s what the packaging said. She didn’t know how or why that was possible, but that’s what the label said and she was only trying to do what was best for her son.
The United States Department of Agriculture has set broad definitions for the organic label but many companies use the term to define a much larger production process. Most organic product is grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides. Those are chemicals used to keep weeds and insects out of the food and fields. But organic can mean chemicals are used – but they must be organic chemicals. I won’t get into organic chemicals because I, myself, am not familiar with the difference. Regardless, any chemical used in conventional farming has been proven safe for human consumption.
For dairies and feedlots, organic classifies the feed given to the animals. The milk produced at both organic and conventional dairies is exactly the same.
According to the American Dairy Council:
“There is no difference between organic and regular milk. Both contain the same unique package of nutrients that makes dairy products an important part of a healthy diet. An 8-ounce serving of organic or regular milk offers the same amount of nine essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium.”
The same premise holds true for apples, bananas, grapes or any fruit and veggies you pick up at your local supermarket. The nutritional value of both the conventional and organic produce you purchase is exactly the same.
Organic food doesn’t contain fewer calories and doesn’t make a personal healthier. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying organic, but if you chose to eat organic, know that you are doing it for what the food does not contain, not for the supposed added benefits the packaging my describe.