With the term “organic” on a rise, becoming a major selling point for consumers and businesses alike, many people are wondering what makes organic produce and other products so much healthier than traditional produce. When venturing to a Santa Monica supermarket, many people will see a wide selection of organic produce, which tends to look quite different than non-organic produce.
There are certain key differences in the appearance of organic and non-organic produce. Organic fruits and vegetables are not as “pretty” as non-organic produce. Organic vegetables vary in size and shape and tend to have physical imperfections. This is due to the fact that these foods aren’t treated with growth-enhancing chemicals and much like organic beef and poultry, this is often quite noticeable. In the past, it has been important for most produce distributors to display the most perfectly appealing fruits and vegetables in grocery stores. Tomatoes, for example, tend to catch the eye of grocery shoppers because of their vibrant red color and alluring, juicy aesthetic. Non-organic tomatoes that have physical imperfections or are too small rarely make it to the produce stands and are discarded. Organic tomatoes tend to have many imperfections, are all different sizes, and are generally much smaller than their non-organic competitors.
Why choose organic when the non-organic vegetables and fruits look so much healthier? Today, most individuals are aware of the use of potentially dangerous pesticides in non-organic farming, but the argument for why we should all choose organic foods over non-organic is bigger than possibly ingesting pesticides through food. Supporters of organic farming argue that the “carbon footprint”, or environmental impact, is much lower without the use of such pesticides. In traditional farming, insects that pose a threat to crops are killed to protect fruits and vegetables; however, these insects may play key roles in our ecosystem. In organic farming, this is taken into consideration and other, less invasive methods of deterring pests are used, thus leading to a less significant environmental impact. When it comes to livestock, organic farming allows the animals to live the way they were intended to live. It is required by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 that livestock that is to be sold as organic be pasture-fed and not given growth hormones or routine antibiotics. All organic products are regulated by the USDA and are required to follow the standards set by the National Organic Program. When it comes to processed food, organic products must be made with 95% organic ingredients and free of artificial additives. Synthetic pesticides are not allowed unless other approved pesticides have failed at deterring pests and disease. If this happens, there are certain synthetic pesticides approved for use by the National Organic Program. This has become a subject of controversy and many activists are working hard to ban the use of synthetic pesticides in organic farming completely.
Today, there are many organic options found in most grocery stores. For many years, it was difficult for individuals to buy organic produce at their nearest supermarket; however, with traditional farming methods causing an uproar that has been greatly publicized, many grocery stores have decided to add an array of organic choices. Other companies such as Whole Foods are dedicated to only selling all natural and organic foods. It is likely that a person will find a great deal of organic options at their nearest Santa Monica supermarket.