Organics: What consumers should to know

Frequently Asked Questions

Should consumers be concern with the safety of eating organically grown food?

Yes, to an extent. Consumers should be no more worried or concerned with organically grown food as they are with food that they buy at the grocery store. Certified organic growers follow strict guidelines for safe and hygienic food production. As with all food producers, they must comply with the regular state and federal health standards. Although organic production does have strict rules and regulations in regards to how they can grow and what they can use they are allowed to practice pasteurization, use of chlorine in select ways and other food safety practices.

Are organically grown items more susceptible to pathogenic microorganisms?

No, despite misleading statements from the press and other critical sources, there is no scientific evidence that organically grown items are more susceptible to pathogenic microorganisms than is conventionally grown items. Furthermore, due to the amount of bad publicity, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention has issued several statements backing up the fact that there is no conclusive evidence that quantitates the specific risk for infection of either conventionally or organic/natural foods. In order to reduce concerns regarding pathogenic microorganism, people should practice the same degree of safety measures as the handlers and producers do. Some of the basic practices are as follows:
    ·Always keep fruits and vegetables away from meat (even when placing things in your shopping cart).
    ·Always use clean drinking water when rinsing fruits and vegetables.
    ·Thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling raw meat.
    ·Use separate utensils and cutting board when preparing meats or vegetables.
    ·Wash counterparts and utensil thoroughly when handling food.
    ·Buy fresh-looking produce that is not bruised, molded, slimy or shriveled.

How are consumers sure that food that is marked as being organic is really organic?

Certified organic produce is inspected by third-party inspectors before they are given the legal right to mark their item as being organic. Whenever there is a question in regards to the legitimacy of a product, not only does the local certifying agents get in involved, but so does the state and federal government. There is a severe fine structure that is imposed on those that sell items under false pretenses.

Do organic foods cost more than conventional foods?

Prices for organic foods reflect many of the same costs as conventional foods in terms of growing, harvesting, transportation and storage. Organically produced foods must meet stricter regulations governing all these steps so the process is often more labor and management intensive, and farming tends to be on a smaller scale. There is also mounting evidence that if all the indirect costs of conventional food production (clean up of polluted water, replacement of eroded soils, costs of health care for farmers and their workers) were factored into the price of food, organic foods would cost the same or more likely be cheaper.

In addition to the intangible cost that is added to organic items, I must also note that the demand for organic food is high, thus cause the price to be high. At the moment there are few farmers that have certified their production process as organic. In the future, when more farmers get certified the supply will be higher and the price will decrease.

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