Organic Farming and Organic Food: What Are the Benefits?

Organic labelThe organic market has been the fastest growing segment of the food industry for several years now, according to food scientist Dr. Karin Allen. It is a multi-billion dollar market. The American Dietetic Association says that most Americans purchase some organic foods at least occasionally. In the U.S., only about 3% of the nation’s total food sales are organic, but that’s still a lot of sales. Three-quarters of the nation’s grocery stores now carry some organic food.


Organic food usually costs more—sometimes a lot more—than conventionally grown or raised food. Purchasers of  organic food spend the extra money because they believe they are doing something good for their family, community, and/or planet. They are convinced of some or all of the following statements:


1). Organic food is safer.


2)  The quality is better: organic food is more nutritious and tastier.


3)  Buying organic is the ethical thing to do: animals raised on organic farms are treated more humanely, and produce grown organically is better for the community and the planet.


Is there good evidence for believing these statements?


Our site’s research into these questions showed that there’s uncertainty on all 3 points. According to Dr. Allen, “There are so many contradicting studies that, even in the scientific realm, we’re still left with a lot of opinions and few answers.” Organic versus conventional is a complex issue involving a vast number of products and food production methods. The research in this area is just getting off the ground. Furthermore, an organic product could be safer in some ways, less safe in others. With trepidation, we delve into some very contentious issues  in the hope that the information and opinions provided in the following Q/As will help you make more insightful decisions about food purchases. Shelf Life Advice is simply summarizing facts and expert opinions on both sides, not taking sides. 



Karin E. Allen, Ph.D., Utah State University, Dept. of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences


The New York Times  “Eating That’s Better for You Organic or Not”  American Dietetic Association “Advising Consumers About Organic Foods and Healthful Eating”


Click on the questions below to reach the answers:


What Is Organic Food? 


What Do the Various Organic Labels Mean? 


What Important Contributions Has the Organic Movement Made?


Which Are Safer: Organic or Conventional Food Products?

Is Organic Food More Nutritious Than Conventional Food?


Does Organic Food Taste Better than Conventional Food?


Is Food Organically Grown Food Better for the Environment?


Are Organic Methods More Humane to Animals?


Does Conventional Food Have a Longer Shelf Life Than Organic?



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