Is Organic Food Worth Its Price?
Organic farming began in the late 1940’s in the United States, and in recent years it has seen a dramatic increase in popularity (Rubin 1). The sales of organic food have been increasing by about 20 percent a year over the past decade (Marcus 1). That is over ten times the rate of their conventional counterparts (Harris 1). There are 10 million consumers of organic food in the United States, yet organic food represents only one percent of the nation’s food supply. This year organic food sales are expected to rise to six billion dollars (Rubin 1). So what is organic food? Organic food is that which are grown without hormones, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers. Also, the soil in which organic food are grown must be “clean” for three years (Howe 4). Nearly 70 percent of the American public believes that the organic label on food products means they are safer to eat and better for the environment according to a survey by the National Center for Public Policy (Cummins 1). Organic farming does have its advantages: it conserves water and soil resources, recycles animal waste, releases fewer chemicals, improves soil fertility, promotes diversity of crops, and protects farm workers, livestock, and wildlife from potentially harmful pesticides (Rubin 4). But is organic food safer than conventional foods? Not only can organic food be contaminated with bacteria and pesticides, but also they are more expensive than conventional foods, yet do not offer a better nutritional value or significantly better taste. Sir John Krebs, a zoologist appointed to head the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom said that “people who bought organic food thinking it was safer or more nutritious were wasting their money” (Jones 1). Critics of organic farming claim that it is dangerous, environmentally damaging and, above all, incapable of feeding an overpopulated world because crop yields are lower than in conventional agriculture (Jones 2)....
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