It’s no secret that if you want to eat fresh and organic food there is a higher price to pay. But cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients is seen by many as the healthiest choice – and a must for anyone who wants to avoid ingesting the various pesticide and growth chemicals which are thought to be present in many cheaper foods.
Choosing to eat more expensive, local, organic produce is an ethical and bodily choice which some of us are happy to make if it means that we can be sure to avoid toxins and keep things natural, but does only buying organic really mean we can avoid ingesting chemicals?
Approximately 400 pesticides are used in conventional farming, but organic farmers are approved to use 26 pesticides, so organic farming isn’t entirely without pesticides. However, the EU and the UK government do a comprehensive risk assessment on these pesticides and then go on to test food samples for pesticide residue every year. Of the foods tested, only 56% of non-organic foods were below the set maximum residue level for pesticides, while 97% of organic foods were below the maximum residue level.
Organic foods may have fewer residues from pesticides then, but does that make the best choice for us?
Pro-organic campaigners argued that there are significant nutritional differences between organic and conventional crops, and there have been reviews which support this. However, other reviews have been found which support the argument that there is, in fact, no nutritional difference between the two, so it’s not conclusive either way. Although one study did find that organic food may taste better than non-organic to people who care about the organic cause though, so that’s interesting.
In summary, eating organic does reduce chemical ingestion to an extent, but not completely, and you can’t be sure if they’re totally chemical-free unless you’ve grown your own. Cooking from scratch and including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables is important no matter what though. If you can only afford non-organic, it’s still nutritionally more balanced to cook with non-organic vitamin-rich foods than go for a meal of frozen chips and chicken nuggets!