In this paper, Organic connotes all the processes involved in the growing and processing of agricultural products naturally. On the other hand, non-organic relates to crops and livestock grown and bred using conventional methods (Kuan et al., 2017). The question of which foods are safer between organic and non-organic foods is deeply researched. However, most studies and evidence-based reports support organic crops and livestock with the assertion that non-organic methods may cause various health conditions like cancer, respiratory disorders, developmental and psychological disorders.
The significant differences between organic and non-organic crops and livestock have been explained in various ways. However, most scientists agree that organic crops are those grown with natural fertilizers like compost or manure and the control of weed is done naturally through weeding, mulching, crop rotation, and tilling (Forman & Silverstein, 2012). Organic crops in most cases have pests controlled by the use of natural methods like birds, traps, insects, and pesticides that are derived using natural means. For livestock, similarly to crops are reared naturally, and their diseases are controlled by using natural approaches such cleaning their houses, healthy diet, and grazing that is rotational (Baranski, Rempelos, Iversen & Leifert, 2017). The livestock is allowed to move outdoors to acquire vitamin D and other nutrients naturally.
Non-organic foods are derived from crops and livestock that are grown and raised conventionally. The crops may be genetically modified, use synthetic fertilizers, have their weeds controlled by the use of herbicides, and pesticides (Smith-Spangler et al., 2012). Conventionally raised livestock for the production of eggs, dairy and meat, are fed using GMO feed and given growth hormones (Kuan et al., 2017). Antibiotics and medicines are used to control the diseases. Further, the livestock may have limited or no access to outdoors.
Organic foods are associated with various benefits. Most scientists and nutritionists agree that the manner in which food is grown and raised can significantly affect both the emotional and mental health of an individual and the environment (Baranski et al., 2017). It is widely believed that organic foods may be more nutritious compared to non-organic foods. Most scientists claim that organic foods are more likely to contain nutrients that are beneficial to the body. Examples of such nutrients that are believed to be contained in natural foods may include antioxidants, which are less likely contained in the conventionally grown crops or livestock. Organic foods are also associated with less severe symptoms to people who suffer allergies to certain chemicals, preservatives or foods (Baranski et al., 2017). A considerable number of nutritionists and dieticians argue that foods obtained from organic crops and livestock are less likely to contain residues of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that may end up being deposited in the body tissues.
It is also widely believed that organic foods may be fresher as they are not likely to be stored using preservatives (Forman & Silverstein, 2012). However, it is also essential that the organic food should be obtained close to where it is grown or raised to ascertain high levels of freshness. Environmentalists also argue that organic farming is comparatively better for the human population in the surrounding areas (Forman & Silverstein, 2012). This is because it is believed to play an instrumental role in the reduction of environmental pollution, water conservation, and soil erosion. It is also thought to augment soil fertility and reduction in energy consumption (Baranski et al., 2017). For instance, rotational grazing gives the crops adequate time to grow and cover the surface hence controlling soil erosion while mulching enhances soil fertility by leaving deposits of compost manure on the soil.
Animals that are raised organically are not fed with animal by-products, growth hormones, or administered with antibiotics. This by extension means that chances of diseases like mad cow disease (BSE) and creation of bacteria strains that are resistant to antibiotics are reduced (Forman & Silverstein, 2012). The movement of organically bred livestock to the outdoors is mostly associated with an increment of their health status hence are considered less likely to transfer diseases and infections to the consumers.
Nutritionists argue that organic milk and meat may be comparatively richer in some nutrients than non-organic meat and dairy. This is accentuated to the fact that most of the studies carried out show higher levels of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids in organic meat and dairy than those obtained from non-organic livestock (Baranski et al., 2014). Organic foods do not in most cases contain genetically modified material and as such is not likely to bring about diseases and infections that are brought about by altering of the DNA strand. One of the conditions that are arguably brought about by changes in the DNA strand is cancer.
On the other hand, non-organic foods that are obtained from conventionally grown and raised crops and animals respectively are associated with diseases and infections in some cases. There has been heated debate across the globe over the effects of GMOs on human health and the environment (Kuan et al., 2017). However, the current academic sources lack substantial evidence on the impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are in most cases made to augment the resistance of crops against herbicides and the production of insecticide (s). In the United States, most of the crops and animals are genetically modified. Food crops like soybeans, papaya, and squash in the U.S are in most cases genetically modified to enhance their resistance to diseases and overcome harsh climatic conditions (Baranski et al., 2017). The use of GMOs is associated with both positive and negative attributes. Some of the positive qualities that scientists use to justify GMOs in the society today include the fast growth of crops and livestock and mass production, which are critical elements in alleviating the current global food crisis.
The production of non-organic crops and livestock has considerably elicited controversies among scientists from various disciplines. Genetic engineers have continuously tried to come up with and defend more sophisticated crops and livestock that are easy to grow and rear using conventional methods (Smith-Spangler et al., 2012). However, nutritionists and dieticians have been questioning the authenticity and safety of genetically modified organisms with some of them associating GMOs with lifestyle diseases like cancer (Kuan et al., 2017). However, those who argue against the use of non-organic foods and GMOs do not bring sufficient evidence to support their claims. It is also worth noting that the pros of non-organic foods and GMOs are more likely to outdo the cons which make it difficult to stop their production and consumption altogether.
Some of the shortcomings that are associated with non-organic crop production and livestock rearing may include environmental degradation like soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, air pollution, and water pollution. This is accentuated by the fact that farming practices like the use of pesticides and herbicides are likely to cause transfer of toxicants to the air and water leading to pollution (Ritson & Brennan, 2008). Subsequently, water contaminated with herbicides, insecticides and synthetic fertilizers used in non-organic crop production is likely to cause waterborne diseases. This is due to the presence of toxicants like sulfates, phosphates, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the fertilizers and herbicides. Similarly, air polluted with pesticide and herbicide contents may cause respiratory diseases in some humans.
Raising livestock indoors, which is in most cases practiced in non-organic livestock raring, may result in diseases and infections in the animals as well lack some essential nutrients in their products (Smith-Spangler et al., 2012). This by extension translates to consumption of animal products devoid of these essential nutrients, which may lead to deficiency diseases among humans (Baranski et al., 2014). Similarly, genetically modified animals are more likely to be deficient in some nutrients that come with natural growth (Baranski et al., 2014). The lack of these nutrients in the animal products may further compromise the safety of human health in cases where the livestock products are meant for human consumption.
Most literature supports the use of organic methods in crop production and livestock rearing in preference to non-organic means (Forman & Silverstein, 2012). Some research studies indicate that there may be considered evidence showing that there is a correlation between increased use of pesticides and increment in the risk of given types of cancer (Baranski et al., 2014). Some of the diseases that are believed to come from pesticides may include brain tumors, leukemia, prostate cancer, and cancer of the breasts.
The most literature explains that exposure of children to pesticides cause developmental and behavioral disorders as well as motor and brain dysfunctions. These disorders in children may be accelerated by the fact that children's immune systems are hitherto fully developed (Ritson & Brennan, 2008). Expectant women are also extremely vulnerable to the pesticides because their organs are already occupied with other tasks, and there is a high possibility that some contents of the pesticides can be transferred from mother to child. While most literature might support the use of organic methods, it would not be easy to survive in the present world without non-organic ways that augment mass production (Ritson & Brennan, 2008). The correct use of non-organic methods can be instrumental in alleviating the harrowing food shortage in the globe.
In conclusion, organic foods may be safer, cheaper, and environmentally friendly than non-organic foods but are not likely to meet the global food demands compared to non-organic foods. The fact accentuates this organic production can only be done at small-scale level while conventional food production can be done on a large scale. However, the use of natural methods is supported by most literature in preference to non-organic means. This might be due to the assertion that organic means of food production are considerably safer, cheaper and environmental friendly compared to non-organic techniques and foods. This may also be because of the negative environmental impacts posed by nonorganic means of food production and the assertion that non-organic foods are likely to cause lifestyle diseases like cancer. The use of both ways can be recommended to strike a balance between food safety and mass production while at the same time conserving the environment.
Baranski, M., Rempelos, L., Iversen, P. O., & Leifert, C. (2017). Effects of organic food consumption on human health; the jury is still out! Food & Nutrition Research, 61(1), 1287333.
Baranski, M., Srednicka-Tober, D., Volakakis, N., Seal, C., Sanderson, R., Stewart, G. B., & Gromadzka-Ostrowska, J. (2014). Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(5), 794-811.
Forman, J., & Silverstein, J. (2012). Organic foods: health and environmental advantages and disadvantages. Pediatrics, 130(5), e1406-e1415.
Kuan, C. H., Rukayadi, Y., Ahmad, S. H., Radzi, W. M., Che, W. J., Thung, T. Y., ... & Ramzi, O. B. (2017). Comparison of the Microbiological Quality and Safety between Conventional and Or...
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