Currently in our country, there are endless amounts of issues surrounding the debate between organic and conventional foods. Organic and conventional foods differ in many ways; the substance, cost, appearance, health benefits and government interaction of these two types of foods differ from one another greatly, but also are considered extremely similar in the eyes of the average American consumer. Is organic food healthier for the human body? What is the actual difference between the two? Is organic food worth the cost? These are all questions American consumers are asking. In this essay, the similarities and differences of organic and non-organic food will be looked at in detail.
When it comes down to what organic food and genetically modified food contains, the two are worlds apart. Organic food must be grown for a minimum of 3 years without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or other chemical treatments. (Hardy) This being said, organic food does not contain any additives or fillers; making the food strictly come from components of nature. Genetically modified food on the other hand contains a laundry list of chemical treatments. Studies have shown that genetically modified foods contain chemicals ranging from ammonia to roundup. Genetically modified organisms are foods that contain DNA that has been altered in some way that does not occur in nature. (Taylor) The two do not only differ in the amounts of chemical levels are in the foods, they also differ in the amount of nutrients. In a review of multiple studies, it was proven that organic food contains high levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus than non-organic versions of the same foods. (Crinnion) With this being said, there is a price to pay for chemical free food.
Price differences between organic and non-organic foods can be substantial depending on your location and where you shop. On average, the price difference of organic and non-organic poultry is approximately 196% more expensive to buy organic. (Dharmananda) It can be more expensive to buy organic food but with enough effort, you can find stores near such as Trader Joe’s to be able to afford organic choices. Trader Joe’s started off as an independent grocery store in California and has now grown into one of the most popular all natural grocery stores across the country. Trader Joe’s offers a variety of organic options with a price you wont have to sacrifice for. The only way this country will be able to see organic food prices drop is if there is more of a demand for organic food. With more demand for organic agriculture production, there will be more areas producing organic foods, driving the price down due to the readily available supply.
Another difference between organic and genetically modified food is the appearance that the foods have. Genetically modified foods are pumped with steroids and hormones to make the food juicier, bigger, and toxic. genetically modified foods also take on a more vibrant and colorful appearance. This food was made this way to cut down on production, save food corporations money, and to appeal more to the consumers eye. For example, when consumers are grocery shopping they are given the option of a watermelon twice the size of their head for a certain price, or an organic watermelon nearly one-fourth the size of genetically altered one, but for double the price. It is understandable why consumers would choose the first option; it’s cheaper, and can feed four times the amount of people. But why does it have to be that way? Food corporations such as Monsanto and government organizations including the Food and Drug Administration support the use of genetically modified organisms in our countries crop production and introduced genetically modified organisms to simplify the management of weeds and certain insects. (Taylor) This brings me to the topic of government interaction in our food production.
The government agencies enforcing food labeling laws do not in fact state that foods containing genetically modified organisms need to be noted on the labeling of the package. The only regulation surrounding labeling genetically modified food organisms states that foods may not consider themselves organic if they contain any genetically altered substance in them. Monsanto, the countries leading producer of genetically engineered seeds and crops spend billions a year to prevent the end of genetically modified organisms in our food. (Hardy) Monsanto has entered endless amounts of law suits with other major food corporations, as well as the Food and Drug Administration itself due to their exploited use of genetically altered seeds. Monsanto won almost every court battle due to the extreme amount of funding the company provided and their partial involvement in our government. With a government having such a large involvement in the genetically engineered food industry, it is going to be extremely challenging to stop, and will not be successful if Monsanto has anything to do with it. Monsanto’s biggest battle; the health risks they ensue on people on a global level. Studies have shown that the genetically modified seeds from Monsanto are the reason for tumor growth, organ damage, and premature death. (Cook) These are only some of the risks that eating genetically modified foods contribute to the human health.
Harmful effects of genetically modified foods continue to rise as studies now show that foods containing these man made compounds can lead to health concerns such as asthma, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity, as well as other problems including resistance to antibiotics, serious diseases including cancer, and may have a fatal effect on the consumer. (Helke) On the other hand, organic food can lead to just the opposite. It has been reported that organic food leads to lowering cholesterol, preventing cancer; especially of the colon, breast, and prostate, reduction of hot flashes during menopause and prevention of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. (Cook) These are just some of the effects that organic and non-organic food has on the human’s body. Effects vary in each individual due to genetic make-up, other factors effecting health, and family history. Genetically modified foods contain hormones not meant for human consumption and can result in problems with growing children, especially young girls. Altering your body’s natural state of being is inhumane and results in serious effects to your health.
Genetically modified foods and organic foods are worlds apart but in many cultures, especially ours, are viewed as the same. This is because of the lack of knowledge given to the American consumer. If the government stepped out of involvement with monsanto and viewed this country’s health as a severe importance instead of viewing it as a company, our country would not be home to the most obese people on the planet, we wouldn’t have such high risks of health diseases due to foods, and we would have a longer average life span. What you put into your body is what you get out and if we continue to fill children's bodies as well as adults with chemical toxins the future results will be fatal. In a country with so many health issues as is, we need to start considering ways to live better and be healthier as a whole. Works Cited
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Crinnion, Walter J. "Organic Foods Contain Higher Levels of Certain Nutrients, Lower Levels of Pesticides, and May Provide Health Benefits for the Consumer." Alternative Medicine Review. EBSCO, Apr. 2010. Web.
Dharmananda, Subhuti, Dr. "Issues Surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms." Issues Surrounding Genetically Modified (GM) Products. Institute of Traditional Medicine, Dec. 2009. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. .
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Helke, Ferrie. "Evidence Grows of Harmful Effects of GMOs on Human Health." Academic Search Complete. EBSCO, Oct. 2011. Web.
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