Today there are products in the market that are labeled as organic. This is today extremely ‘’popular’’ because the health, food security and sustainability of the environment are at crisis point. Since 1997 the space that is dedicated to organic crops is doubled until today. In 2005, in South Africa, the organic produce turnover was estimated at R200 to R400 million.
But numerous people all around the world are asking themselves, is the organic food really healthier option and safer than the not organic foods?
What is organic food?
In order to find the answer to that question we should know exactly what is organic food. By organic farming it means that the process of growth is without using synthetic pesticides or any chemicals and genetic engineering and without using antibiotics and growth hormones for raising livestock.
Two of three people in USA consumed organic products and more than one in four people at bought some kind of organic food once in a week. The people that are buying and consuming organic food believe that they are buying and consuming healthier and safer alternatives for them.
In South Africa it is being produced organic cereals, spices, herbs, avocados, rooibos tea, nuts, vegetables (especially potatoes and asparagus), fruits (especially mangos, bananas and pears) as well as olive oil and even wine. In the entire country, the organic dairy farming is really increased. But despite the fact that the organic products are getting really popular today, there is no official certification system for organic farming and. Only less than half of the people that are using organic products in South Africa really believe that it is organic.
Is it more nutritious?
People are buying organic products because they believe that that way they are going to intake higher levels of the nutrients in the food than the foods that are not organic. It is being argued that organic products are indeed healthier and safer alternative because fewer pesticides are being used and that it has less impact on the environment but that is still not the actual and needed evidence that these foods are more nutritional than the non-organic foods.
There is no disease-promoting benefits deriving from having organic diet and there are no detrimental or negative health effects from organic diet. The most commonly purchased organic foods are vegetables and fruits. The difference in nutrient levels is small is what has been found out on studies and the nutrient content of the fresh produce is really affected by many factors like geographic location of the farm, climatic conditions that change each season, how the produce is stored, local soil characteristics and more.