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Are Organic Food Products Healthier and Expensive too?

Many studies suggest that organic foods  products are safer and healthier than other conventionally grown food items, in addition to being better for the environment. Organic fruits and vegetables and other products have less chemical exposure and some products are more nutritious than the conventional food products.

Benefits of Organic Food Products

Organic foods are SAFER

Organic foods contain fewer chemicals. Pesticides and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and their residue remains in the food we eat. Organically raised animals are not given antibiotics and growth hormones. This makes them safer than other food products.

Organic meat and milk are MORE NUTRITIOUS

Studies suggest that both organic meat and milk are relatively healthier than the regular milk and meat. Both are known to have a higher amount of omega-J fatty acids, which are known to be healthier fats. Omega-J fatty acids are said to boost the immune system of an individual.

Organically grown crops have MORE ANTIOXIDANTS and VITAMINS

Organically grown plant products have higher levels of antioxidants and certain micronutrients, such as vitamin C, zinc and iron. In some studies, antioxidant levels were found to be up to 69 per cent higher than plant products that are grown conventionally.

Organic foods have LOWER NITRATE LEVELS

Organically grown crops have also been shown to have lower levels of nitrate. Some studies have shown nitrate levels to be 30 per cent lower in these crops. High nitrate levels are interlinked with increased risk of certain types of cancer and methemoglobinemia, a disease in infants that affects the body's ability to carry oxygen. That said, another set of studies suggest that the harmful effects of nitrates have been overstated.

Processed Foods with the 'Organic' Claim

Some processed foods claim to be of organic origin. It's important to note that although these food products could be organic, they might be high in calories, sugar and salt, and have added fats. One such example is organic biscuits - they could be organic in origin but also be rich in trans fats and sugar. It is advisable that one checks the nutrition information on the food packet before making a buying decision.

Why Are Organic Foods More Expensive?

There are quite a few reasons for that.

  1. Organic food supply is limited as compared to demand.
  2. Production costs for organic foods are typically higher because of greater labour inputs per unit of output. Post-harvest   handling   of   relatively   small quantities of organic foods results in higher costs.
  3. In respect of marketing and the distribution chain for organic products, costs are higher because of  relatively  small  volumes.  Conventional  farms have the farmland and the supply to keep costs down since manufacturers are able to reduce costs when producing a product in larger quantities.
  4.  Rearing animals for organic meat is a high-cost process that requires a lot of investment. The animals must have organic feeds; they must not be exposed to any kind of chemicals.
  5. Obtaining  an  organic  certification  is  an expensive affair. In addition to the usual farming operations, farm facilities and production methods must comply with certain standards, which may require the modification of facilities.
Divya Patwal

VOICE

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