Why choose organic food? Is it really worth it? Here are the pros and cons
What is organic food? What are the disadvantages and advantages of organic food? Let’s find out together!
Organic food is increasingly popular among Italians, so much so that, while until a few years ago its sale was confined to small shops in the sector, now the demand has increased so much that even almost all large supermarkets have a well-stocked organic department.
This is certainly good news, proof of the great sensitivity of consumers, increasingly attentive to what they put on the plate and how it was produced.
The success has been confirmed by Eurostat statistics on organic farming, which have seen a substantial growth of organic across the continent, where, despite the crisis of traditional agriculture, organic gallops with a considerable increase in dedicated land and the multiplication of employees working in the sector.
What does organic food mean?
Organic food comes from organic farming, a system of cultivation that respects the environment and health.
Organic food is therefore produced without the use of chemical products harmful to health, but only with the help of substances of natural origin, the use of which is governed by strict rules, to fertilize the soil or protect plants from diseases or pests.
Organic production is a global system of farm management and agri-food production based on the interaction between best environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity, the protection of natural resources, the application of strict animal welfare standards and production suited to the preferences of some consumers for products obtained with natural substances and processes.
When can we be sure that a food is really organic?
A food, to be defined as organic, must have at least 95% of its component ingredients from organic farming and comply with strict European regulations. In every European country there are bodies in charge of organic control and certification, recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Pre-packaged organic foods must bear the EU organic logo on the packaging, i.e. the “green euro leaf”. The label must also bear the identification code of the certifying body and that of the producer who has been subject to control. The presence of this label is a guarantee for consumers to have an organic food in front of them.
Why buy organic food? What are the advantages?
Organic farming is efficient and sustainable
Organic detractors claim that in the future, due to global warming and a considerable increase in population, we will have difficulty producing enough food for all. According to them, organic farming will not be the solution to the food shortage because the yield of organic land is 50% to 70% lower than that of land cultivated with conventional crops or GMOs. According to research conducted by the Group of Lecturers for Freedom of Science, however, this is not true: organically farmed land is instead much more productive than what is claimed by the detractors. A study published in Nature states that the yield would be only 8-25% lower.
Organic food respects nature
The aim of organic farming is to respect the environment and nature because it does not use synthetic products that do not simply remain outside the fruit or plant, but penetrate it, sometimes profoundly changing its nutritional properties.
Organic farming preserves biodiversity
In recent decades, conventional, industrial and intensive agriculture has irreparably impoverished the biodiversity of our ecosystem. Monocultures, the use of heavy vehicles and synthetic chemicals have reduced the number of species of animals, plants and microorganisms present on our planet, so much so that the FAO, in a report published at the beginning of 2019, has launched an alarm: 24% of about 4000 species of wild food are disappearing in 91 countries; this is a real emergency that puts the future of our very existence at risk. But what can be the solution to such a catastrophe?
The best organic food: the flavours of yesteryear
“There’s no more tomatoes than there used to be.” We often complain about the bland taste of a lot of the fruit and vegetables we buy at the supermarket. This is certainly a result of a type of industrial cultivation that prefers large quantities and the indiscriminate exploitation of the land.
Organic is healthier
As mentioned earlier, it has been proven that organic foods are more nutritious and rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals than non-organic foods. The absence of pesticides, herbicides and other toxic substances, even if in small quantities, is certainly a fundamental element to safeguard our health.
Organic foods are fresher
One of the characteristics of organic products is the shelf life, as they last less on the shelf. If you’re used to buying organic fruit and vegetables, you’ll have noticed that potatoes, ginger, garlic and so on germinate much earlier and should therefore be consumed faster than non-organic equivalents. This may seem like a disadvantage, but it is actually just a sign of fresh, nutritious food, as it should be in nature.
Why does organic farming cost more?
One of the disadvantages of organic products is that they are often more expensive than conventional products, even though the price difference has been steadily decreasing in recent years thanks to increasing demand.
Is buying bio enough?
Buying organic food is definitely a responsible consumption choice that shows great sensitivity. However, as organic food has become very popular, even the large multinationals.
Which until now have shown little interest in our well-being and environmental protection, now seem to have become very attentive to environmental issues, offering an increasingly wide range of organic products.
However, in our opinion it is fundamental, when you put your hand to the wallet, not to limit yourself to choosing foods with the “green leaf”, but also to make, where possible, an ethical evaluation, favouring small producers, possibly Italian (there are many!) who work with passion, hard work, respect for nature and the human being.