While the general public may be becoming more educated about the difference between organic and congenitally grown foods, there are still a number of stubborn myths that persist. Some of this has to do with advertising and the spreading of misinformation by commercial food growers, but even organic food advocates can spread misinformation as well. Here are 3 common myths about organic foods that just aren’t true.
Organic Is the Same as All-natural
Unfortunately, there is very little government regulation over the labeling of food when it comes to many of the terms that are used. “All-natural” is more of a marketing term than an actual indication of how a food was produced. While organic foods need to adhere to certain strict regulations in order to be certified organic, natural foods must simply not be altered or synthesized in any way. If a product is advertised using buzzwords, that may not mean that it is unhealthy for you, but there is a big difference between that product and an organic counterpart.
Conventional Foods Are Just as Healthy as Organic
While it may be true that the nutritional content of an organic vegetable may be largely the same as that of a conventionally grown vegetable, that is not the key health difference between the two. Pesticides are essentially a poison, meant to kill things that eat crops before the food can be harvested but not the food itself. Conventional growers may use pesticides that contain various harmful chemicals that can be dangerous if consumed. Most produce is washed before sale, but if any of the pesticide remains, it can make you sick. Organic growers also use pesticides but are limited in their use of chemicals. Organic pesticides are less harmful to the produce, the environment, and anyone who eats the produce. The difference also lies in the soil. Grown foods absorb whatever is in the soil they are planted in. Organic fertilizers ensure that the plants don’t absorb anything harmful, while conventional fertilizers are allowed to contain potentially harmful chemicals, pesticides, and more.
Organic Food Is Significantly More Expensive
While it is true that in some cases organic food can be more expensive, in many cases organic food is competitively priced or even cheaper than conventional foods. Some of the difference in price comes in how organic foods are packaged or prepared. For instance, according to the USDA, up to 8% of the weight of boneless poultry (chicken) can come from a brine solution of some kind. Since regulations are not always strictly enforced, up to 15% of the weight of the chicken you are purchasing may actually be a brining solution and not chicken. Organic guidelines are much stricter, so when you buy organic chicken, you are generally getting all chicken and very little to no brine.
Both organic and commercial growers—as well as advocates of both types of food—can sometimes be responsible for spreading misinformation. This contributes significantly to the great number of myths floating around about the differences between organic and conventionally grown foods. No matter what type of food you eat, it is important to be educated on the facts and not buy into the myths.