Organic Foods - Food Essay Example
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Organic foods offer a better solution to the global food crisis since in addition to being environmentally friendly, their lack of artificial additives that may contain toxins harmful to the body, help in improving an individual’s overall quality of life. Organic foods, are however, costly a fact that makes it beyond the means of the average consumer. In addition, since organic farms are highly dependent on livestock manure which is often limited, its support cannot be relied on to sustain the world population
Organic foods refer to all food products produced in the absence of artificial additives (Fromartz 2007). They are often processed in the absence of artificial methods such as ionization radiation, simulated environmental conditions or synthetic materials and they adhere to certain specific standards of production. Livestock and all organic dairy products are, for instance, free of growth hormones or traces of antibiotics.
Studies done to find out the benefits of organic foods over genetically modified foods have in many cases revealed that: unlike genetically modified food stuffs, organic foods do not pose to the environment the risk of contamination that may be harmful to the soil, water or other living things. This stems primarily from the fact that they produce less waste and utilize little energy compared to genetically modified food, which utilize a lot of energy and do not release synthetic pesticides.
Moreover, studies undertaken to compare the level of nutrients in organic fruits with that found in conventionally produced fruits have often shown that organic fruits and vegetables contain higher amount of nutrients (Wellson 2007). In addition, organic fruits and vegetables were found to rate higher in terms of taste, texture and firmness than those produced conventionally.
However, organic foods also pose a number of challenges to consumers. They tend to be more expensive compared to conventionally produced foods. Conventionally produced dairy products are, for instance, less costly compared to organic dairy products. Organic foods do not usually have preservatives, a fact that makes them prone to bacterial attack and increases their vulnerability to other parasitic attacks (Baourakis 2004).
Studies undertaken to establish the Current market trends indicate that although the contribution of organic food in the global sales is a paltry 1-2 %, their market is rapidly growing, and the growth rate surpasses that of the other food industries. In light of such anticipated increase, many countries have apportioned financial resources and allocated more land to be utilized in producing organic food products. In Europe, for example, 3.9% of the land has been set aside for organic production. The trend is similar in other countries such as Australia, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Poland, and Ireland, which have 11%, 8.4%, 7.2% and 7.2, 0.1%, 0.6%, 0.8%, proportions of organic farm fields respectively (DIANE 2008).
The current market trends that indicate a rapidly growing market in favor of organic food products is unlikely to prevail. Even though organic farms are cost effective and their soil of a higher quality due to better water retention, their yield is however, of a lesser quantity compared to the yield in conventional farms. These findings are supported by the results of a study that was undertaken to compare the yields of the two farms. It was found that when 97% less fertilizer was used and 50% less pesticide was used in organic farms, there was 20% less yield compared to that in conventional farms (Fromartz 2007).
Another study undertaken by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency(DEPA) revealed that when area-for-area yield of produce such as sugar beet or potatoes was assed, it was found that the output was half that in conventional farms(Wellson 2007).
Moreover, the increased use of manure to improve the production of organic food is viewed by some critics as unsound and unlikely to sustain the global population. This stems from the fact that the manure used often comes from low –yield livestock, and is thus, not dependable.
Although organic food appears to be the fastest growing sector in most industrialized countries as well as in the developing countries, its gross dependence on manure, whose availability is also rapidly on the decline, makes it incapable of meeting global food demands. Furthermore, the low yield of organic foods, in terms of quantity, compared to conventional foods implies that they cannot be relied on as the solution to global food crisis.
1. Baourakis G. (2004). Marketing Trends for Organic Food In The 21st Century. New York. World scientific.
2. DIANE. (2008). Recent Growth Patterns In The U.S. Organic Food Patterns
3. Fromartz S. (2007). Organic Inc: Natural Foods and How They Grow. Ohio. Harcourt.
4. Wellson J.A. (2007). Organic Agriculture in the U.S. New York. Nova publishers
All the references must be within 1 -1 1/2 years.