Organic – Is It Worth the Price?

July 27, 2018

This blog post will point to two articles that address the question: “Is organic worth the additional costs”. We will take no position, but post some highlights from these two articles and point you to them to read for yourself and come to your own conclusion.

On July 12, Morning Ag Clips published an article by Candace Choi for Associated Press titled “Is the organic seal worth it, given disputes”. Survey after survey puts organic sales at about 5% of all retail sales of foods. That fits with the last Agriculture census indicating that about 5% of cultivated land is certified organic, at least in New England. The article reports that 35% of imported organic food coming from Turkey is mislabeled as organic, when it in fact was not. It examines the recent disputes between soiled-based and hydroponic organic status. Organics markets itself on: a) no synthetic pesticides or fertilizer, b) animals must meet certain standards of care, c) beneficial to human health, animal welfare and the environment. The AP article questions the claims of health benefits, citing studies that show there is no different than their conventional counterparts. The question is asked if it is worth paying double the price for organic milk and eggs? Read the article here

On the same day the above article was published, another article appeared in the Toronto Star. The Star did a lengthy article after a thorough investigation of organic versus conventional milk in Ontario. The Star’s reporter sent samples to labs, toured several farms – both organic and non-organic – processing facilities, and talked to industry experts. The investigator asked if organic milk is worth $3.99 a liter versus the much cheaper conventional milk. The results of the investigation found that there was no difference between Organic Milk versus Non-organic, based on all laboratory tests. Fats, sugars, protein, pesticide residue, antibiotics, hormone levels and even somatic cell counts were all the same. Organic producers market their products as better because their cows receive more humane treatment. However, the Star did not find a difference in care between the two. Organic certification requires 30% pasture grazing time, but the resulting quality of the milk showed no difference between organic and non-organic. Pasture time did not show up in the testing for Omega 3 and 6 content.

The Star noted that both organic and non-organic have friendly environmental practices. They even quoted a mission statement from a conventional dairy farm that hangs in the barn. It reads: “Meet the needs of every cow, every day and endeavor to protect and improve the environment for future generations.” The investigator also noted how committed organic consumers are to organic, because they believe it is a better product.  You can find the article here.

The two articles lay out a question for the readers: “Is organic worth the extra cost?” Read the two articles and ask yourself the question. Only you can decide what is best for you and your family.

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