When Organic Food is Worth the Expense and When it is Not


There’s a stigma and a misconception associated with organic food. Many believe, mistakenly, that the ‘organic’ label makes certain foods superior to other foods of the same variety. This is not always the case. Many believe that organic means healthier and better and while the theory is there, the truth is not. Organic does not always mean what people assume that it means. It doesn’t mean healthier. Organic is the way in which farmers grow their crops. It doesn’t mean “better for you,” so much as it means, “grown differently than traditional foods.” Organic food, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, is food that is grown by farmers who prefer to reduce pollution and encourage soil and water preservation. So while a beautiful red apple that’s labeled organic might look exactly the same as the beautiful red apple marketed as conventionally grown, they are both just as healthy and nutritious as the other. The only difference is that the organically grown apple uses alternative means to grow their crops. It does not mean healthier.

Additionally, all foods labeled organic are not organic. There are very simple rules as regulated by the FDA and the USDA that allows farmers and food manufacturers to use organic labels on food that is not organic. Our job is to tell you what is organic and what is not, and when it’s worth the expense to purchase organic food and when it’s not. Bear with us as we attempt to explain as simply as we can why spending money on organic food is not always worth the money.

When it is Worth It

If you purchase organic food because you believe in using all natural manners to grow food and because you want to ensure that you are doing your part for the environment, then you will want to spend the money on items labeled 100 percent organic. These foods are, in fact, 100% organic. However, if you see food labeled “organic,” it’s not 100%. In fact, it might be only 95% organic as allowed by the USDA. These items meet strict requirements in place by the US government that allows them to use the organic label for their food. What it does not mean, however, is that these foods are better for you. They are not more nutritious or less. They are not going to make you healthier. They’re simply more expensive and grown using alternative means.

When it is Not Worth It

The price of organic food is not worth it if you are looking to buy organic to reduce your economic footprint on the world. Foods that are as little as 70% organic can be labeled as organic or “Made with organic ingredients,” by makers. This means that you are not eating organic; you are eating things that have organic things in it. This is not to be confused with organic. If you’re looking for something specific, it’s not worth spending the additional money to buy partially organic crops or foods.

Additionally, any food marked as all natural or hormone-free does not mean that it is organic. Many people see these terms as interchangeable, but they are not. Organic means organic and it is the only term that means this. For many, the expense of eating food that is no healthier than conventionally grown food is simply not worth it.

The Pesticide Decision

One of the biggest factors associated with the popularity of organic food is the lack of pesticides in the food. Many families believe that organic food is superior because it is pesticide free. However, this is not always the case. According to Healthychildren.org, buying organic is more expensive, and it’s not always as organic as it might seem. For example, if organic crops are grown on a farm in which well water is used and there are other non-organic farms in the area, there might still be pesticides in the water thanks to the pesticides in the ground. For that matter, there could be pesticides in the water in which you drink and bathe.

If you’re going to buy conventionally grown crops, rinse them and peel them to significantly reduce the amount of pesticides located on the exterior of the food. It’s one way to reduce the amount of pesticide in the food that your children and your family are consuming. However, you should also know your kids are exposed to pesticides playing on the ground in parks where it’s used to keep the ground looking nice and in many other places.

The Dirty Dozen

It is worth the price of buying organic foods when it comes to the dirty dozen. This is a group of foods that are grown both organically and conventionally and are worth the extra price because of their particular susceptibility to pesticides and other chemicals. If you are going to buy anything organic, make it one of the following:





Bell Peppers








If you are going to save money and buy crops that are conventionally grown, WebMD recommends that the following 12 items are the lowest in pesticides and they are the best to eat naturally:





Sweet Corn







Sweet Peas

Something to Consider

Many people choose to eat organically because they want to reduce their carbon footprint. However, this is not always possible just because you eat something labeled organic. What many people fail to realize is that unless you buy very local, you will still make almost just as much of an impact on the environment as you would buying items that are not organic. The transport of these foods to your local stores makes them very bad for the environment, even if they are kept healthy by using more natural pesticides. Should you choose to make eating organically a choice for your family, be sure you understand what it means. It’s not healthier for your family; it’s just not grown with pesticides that aren’t all natural. And it’s still bad for the environment if it’s being transported long distances.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images


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