Is Organic Really Better?

Category : Farming / Food production, food industry, organic farming, Sale of food
Is Organic Really Better?by Andrew Routledgeon.Is Organic Really Better?People who grow organic food claim that they are staying true to nature by using no artificial fertilizers, pesticides of fungicides. Their claim is that modern technology has reduced the quality and taste of food making it detrimental to health.




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The term organic has become deeply engrained upon the way we think of food.  Now, whenever I go to the supermarket and see organic this and that on the shelves I really have to think if I can afford the luxury. Organic food, by enlarge, is not cheap. Whenever I decide to pass by the organic product stand by and opt for the non organic alternative I get a little guilt trip for not buying the “better” option and I ask myself if am I giving my family second rate food?

Until the beginning of the last century there was simply no such thing as organic or non organic food. There was just produce. Granted, the “organic” people of today would rightly claim that everything back then was organic. Strictly speaking this was true but does that mean that everything you might have bought back then was of a consistantly superior quality?

People who grow organic food claim that they are staying true to nature by using no artificial fertilizers, pesticides of fungicides. Their claim is that modern technology has reduced the quality and taste of food making it detrimental to public health.

Vast corporate empires have sprung up around the organic food industry. Many of these industries have a very sincere mission statement and have a genuine intent to bring better quality food to their customers.

To say that the big corporations have the monopoly on the organic food market is very far from the truth. Wherever you will find a plot of land be it in the countryside, by a river,  canal bank, an allotment or a back garden, you will find people trying their hand at producing organic food.

Many non organic farmers will grow crops with absolutely intent on using any chemicals to insure a successful harvest unless they absolutely have to. After all, chemicals cost money and a lot of farmers are spendthrifts. Instead they will keep a trained an watchful eye on the developments  of the crop and only if they see that there is a danger of  ruininf  their crop will they intervene with the use of chemical or biological solutions to the problem.

Other farmers will maintain a regime in which they will adopt the policy of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and will spray crops with whatever they feel is necessary to within legal levels to ensure a successful harvest. When we think about crop spraying we should remember that farmers will not spray in such quantities that would render the process contrary to cost effective calculations. There is a definite limit to how much you can spray in financial terms.

Chemical technologies are developing all the time. Since the old days huge advances have been made in the area of chemicals. Such advances include chemicals which are designed to break down into harmless components after their active stage is finished. Other advances include time release mechanisms which lower the lethal dose (LD) rating of the chemical thus lessening it’s environmental effect. More and more essential oils from natural sources are being used as solutions to problems which were treated with dangerous chemicals not so many years ago.

Biological solutions are being discovered and implemented to solve age old issues all the time. The bad days of chemical agriculture are coming to and end by leaps and bounds.

Organic farming can be described as unprotected farming. If all goes well you will get a superb quality crop and both you and your customers are happy. However, what if one morning you were to wake up only to discover that your whole crop has been infected by some sort of microscopic invader. How do you save your crop? Do you stay true to your mission statement and take no intervention to save the crop through technological means or do you spray your crop and sell it through alternative channels?

This is a huge dilemma that many organic food producers find themselves in. I’m not going to give you the answer. I think that it is enough to leave you with the question. Many small organic food growers are complete amateurs and will readily spread manure of one kind or another around their crop. The effect of this is that many types of bacteria may be drawn up into the vegetable that you might eat. Many such mistakes are made out of enthusiasm and not through ill intent but from your perspective the plant is not fit for human consumption despite all the efforts to grow food organically.

Other small organic food producers may find that it is expensive and not cost effective to water their plants with fresh water. Instead they may set up a device to pump water from a river of a canal. This practice may also be undertaken by larger growers. Most river and canal water in the modern world contains chemicals and raw sewage. It is not fit for use on any type of food crop. In addition, growers may buy or rent land that is not suitable for the production of food for any number of reasons.

In fact, you have little or no knowledge on how your organic food was produced. If you see that the suppliers you get your produce from are ISO 9002 regulated, you can be sure that you are safe. Other suppliers may not be so trustworthy. The organic food market provides a tremendous marketing canopy for a vast number of food growers. I strongly suggest avoiding blind loyalty to anything bearing an organic food product label. Investigate your supplier before you commit yourself.    

Vast corporate empires have sprung up around the organic food industry. Many of these industries have a very sincere mission statement and have a genuine intent to bring better quality food to their customers.

To say that the big corporations have the monopoly on the organic food market is very far from the truth. Wherever you will find a plot of land be it in the countryside, by a river or canal bank, an allotment or a back garden, you will find people trying their hand at producing organic food.

Many non organic farmers will grow crops with no intent on using any chemicals to insure a successful harvest. Instead they will keep a trained an watchful eye on the developments  of the crop and only if they see that there is a danger of a specific element reducing or spoiling their crop will they intervene with the use of chemical or biological solutions to the problem.

Other farmers will maintain a regime in which they will adopt the policy of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and will spray crops with whatever they feel is necessary to within legal levels to ensure a successful harvest. When we think about crop spraying we should remember that farmers will not spray in quantities which would render the process contrary to cost effective calculations. There is a definite limit to how much you can spray in financial terms.

Chemical technologies are developing all the time. Since the old days huge advances have been made in the area of chemicals. Such advances include chemicals which are designed to break down into harmless residues after their active state is finished. Other advances include time release technologies which lower the lethal dose (LD) rating of the chemical. More and more essential oils from natural sources are being used as solutions to problems which were treated with dangerous chemicals not so many years ago.

Biological solutions are being discovered and implemented to solve age old issues all the time. The bad days of chemical agriculture are coming to and end by leaps and bounds.

Organic farming can be described as unprotected farming. If all goes well you will get a superb quality crop and both you and your customers are happy. However, what if one morning you were to wake up only to discover that your whole crop has been infected by some sort of microscopic invader? How do you save your crop? Do you stay true to your mission statement and take no intervention to save the crop through technological means or do you spray your crop and sell it through alternative channels?

This is a huge dilemma that many organic food producers find themselves in. I’m not going to give you the answer. I think that it is enough to leave you with the question.

Many small organic food growers are complete amateurs and will readily spread manure of one kind or another around their crop. The effect of this is that many types of bacteria may be drawn up into the vegetable that you might eat. Many such mistakes are made out of enthusiasm and not through ill intent but from your perspective the plant is not fit for human consumption despite all the efforts to grow food organically.

Other small organic food producers may find that it is expensive and not cost effective to water their plants with fresh water. Instead they may set up a device to pump water from a river of a canal. This practice may also be undertaken by larger growers. Most river and canal water in the modern world contains chemicals and raw sewage. It is not fit for use on any type of food crop. In addition, growers may buy or rent land that is not suitable for the production of food for any number of reasons.

In fact, you have little or no knowledge on how your organic food was produced. If you see that the suppliers you get your produce from are ISO 9002 regulated, you can be sure that you are safe. Other suppliers may not be so trustworthy. The organic food market provides a tremendous marketing canopy for a vast number of food growers. I strongly suggest avoiding blind loyalty to anything bearing an organic food product label. Investigate your supplier before you commit yourself.


Author: 

Andy has many years of experience in food preparation, Food Hygiene, Catering and staff Training

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  1. Author

    Andrew RoutledgeOctober 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    You’re right, on the whole I am in favor of treating crops in ways that are in complete harmony with the laws of nature. For me, this is a particularly high ideal because I am a Kabbalist and Integrity between natural systems is paramount to achieving the goal. In saying that, because so much around the environment is not in conformity with organic principles, for example the air, water, animal manure and slurry which furtilizes the fields, that any so called organic claim can only be true in part in as much as all the contributing factors are 100% pure of polutants. Also, farmers are allowed to use naturally produced pest inhibitors on organic produce. Never forget that too much of any one thing can cause any number of inbalances in nature. So not everything that glistens is 24 ct gold, for the time being at least.

  2. Author

    Andrew RoutledgeNovember 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Very true but a lot are very intollerant of heat. Care needs to be taken so that the natural qualities of heat sentitive oils are not lost. I would read up before using special oils in cooking, frying in particular. Also, there are many different qualities of oils out there. With regards to essential oils in particular you need to check purity levels or at least to know what other oils may be included in mixtures.

  3. Author

    Andrew RoutledgeMay 16, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Yes, you are right. Oils with a high quantity of omega 3 are usually heat sensitive.
    Andrew Routledge recently posted…Accidental Choking On FoodMy Profile

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