Is Organic Actually Better?

Even after various studies, no one can truly answer the question

Although the organic food craze has been booming over the last few years, more and more people are beginning to question whether eating organic is really worth it, due to the high price tag that comes with it. According to Redbook Magazine, organic food can cost as much as 50 percent more than conventional food, and the question continues to rise if the price is actually worth it.

This March, a Harris Poll found that more than half of Americans do not think organic foods are worth their high prices. The survey showed that 63 percent of men and 54 percent of women believe organic labels are a marketing ploy designed to defend high prices. The survey also suggested that only three out of 10 people are willing to pay more for green products and that 49 percent found it "difficult to be green."

While Americans are skeptical, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN asserts that there’s good reason for the higher price tags. On their website, they state that "prices of organic foods include not only the cost of food production itself, but also a range of other factors that are not captured in conventional food," such as environment enhancement and protection, higher standards of animal welfare, avoidance of health risks to farmers, and rural development by generating additional farm employment.

Although it is better for the environment, the question continues to rise if organic food is actually a healthier option. Unfortunately, the question is still left unanswered. Last September, Stanford researchers found in a review that organic food has generally the same bacterial contamination and nutritional value as non-organic products. They made their conclusion after reviewing 223 studies of nutrients and contamination levels and 17 studies of humans, but many people found flaws in their review.

Another theory is that organic food is given a "health halo," meaning that people automatically assume organic products are healthier. According to a Cornell study, people who ate unhealthy foods such as chips or cookies believed that the organic versions were lower in fat and tasted healthier just because they were labeled "organic."

At the end of the day, it appears as if the quality of the organic product is just about the same of the non-organic product. But the reason behind buying organic shouldn’t be just for better-tasting produce. It should be because it’s grown more ethically and naturally, and that simply costs more.

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Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer at the Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter at @skylerbouchard