Buying and eating organic foods is an increasingly popular trend throughout America and while organic items used to only be found in health food stores, they are now readily available in almost all supermarkets. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in charge of establishing the qualifications that foods need to meet to be considered organic and has created strict production and labeling guidelines that production companies must abide by. To be labeled “organic”, foods must be minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation, which have all been shown to have detrimental effects on one’s health. Additionally, the farming of these foods must maintain and replenish soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides, nitrates, and fertilizers.
Organic products are constantly being marketed as the healthier, tastier, and more nutritious choice, yet they cost more than their non-organic counterparts, leaving many consumers wondering whether or not buying organic is worth it. As it turns out, according to the Organic Consumers Association, organic foods, especially raw or non-processed, are in fact 25% more nutritious in terms of vitamins and minerals than the foods derived from industrial agriculture. They contain higher levels of beta-carotene, vitamins C, D, and E, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and chromium that are all severely depleted in foods grown using fertilizer high in pesticides and nitrates.