**This text has been translated automatically and is an English translation of a French translation from an English video... So you should just watch the original video instead of reading this article!**
Do you ever think about the impact of each food to see which option is best?
I looked into the biological aspect and found an extremely well-popularized resource that I want to share with you!
In the end, we will be able to make a more informed choice between non-organic carrots from Quebec or organic carrots from the United States.
I therefore invite you to watch this video (in English):
Editorial note: I love the videos of Kurzgesagt and their way of explaining things, always based on months of scientific research. For those who don't understand English, I will go through the video and give you a free translation into French:
People normally see organic food as a healthier, more natural and more ethical choice. But what does organic food actually mean?
In fact, there is no global consensus on what is organic, so each country has its own regulations.
Normally, organic products are grown without GMOs, synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Instead, farmers rotate crops or use organic fertilizers, such as compost or manure/fertilizer.
So is buying organic indeed noble or is it another expensive trend that we can avoid without feeling guilty?
IS ORGANIC FOOD HEALTHIER?
It’s supposed to be more nutritious and healthy.
Studies have found that organic foods contain more antioxidants. Plants produce them as a natural pesticide (as an anti-bugs). They have to work a little harder while conventional plants are helped by humans with pesticides.
Antioxidants seem to provide benefits, but scientists are still mixed: we don't really know how they help us and what kind of quantity humans need to absorb for them to be really good for us.
IS ORGANIC FOOD MORE NUTRITIOUS?
The studies are still shared there. Some found that organic contained more vitamin C and omega 3 and others found no differences. In the end, the difference is not significant.
So until now, science has not proven that organic food is healthier or more nutritious.
Whether organic or not, simply eating more fruits and vegetables is obviously a healthier and more nutritious choice. Basically, eating fruits and vegetables is more important for your health than how they are produced.
IS ORGANIC FOOD MORE NATURAL?
People don't necessarily buy organic products to get more vitamins, they do it mainly to avoid toxic products.
There are in fact fewer pesticide residues on organic foods.
But here's where it gets complicated: fewer pesticides doesn't mean no pesticides!
Pesticides are not prohibited in organic farming. Most organic pesticides are natural toxins (vegetable oil, ash soap, sulfur, etc.) but remain synthetic substances all the same. In short, organic pesticide does not mean safe; toxic = poisonous.
For example, copper sulfate, often used on organic apples, is actually a dangerous substance for humans. Obviously, dangerousness depends on the concentration and exposure to a substance, and not on whether it is natural or not.
There have been studies on the levels of pesticides to which we are exposed and their long-term effect on our health, eating more organic = less cancer. But it was criticized because people reported their daily diet, but no tests to measure the pesticides in their bodies were done. Another study found that the danger of pesticides to an adult was similar to drinking a glass of wine every three months.
Obviously, we do not cover the different sensitivities of people; probably some people react more to certain pesticides than others. In the same way that a glass of wine every three months seems trivial to some, but unthinkable to others.
In fact, the solution is really to continue to regulate food standards in general!
Fortunately, pesticides are tested strictly in Europe and North America. Every year, foods are tested and the majority have no residues or otherwise a fraction of the maximum tolerance level. At the moment, contamination by fungi or bacteria is much more dangerous and the risk is the same whether it is organic or not.
IS ORGANIC FOOD BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
In 2017, there was an analysis of organic and non-organic foods compared to 700 different production sources, considering their impact on greenhouse gas emissions, their energy use and their surface/land requirements. .
The result: no production method is clearly better for the environment.
Organic production uses less energy and fewer pesticides, but requires much more land to produce the same amount of food as conventional production.
And ultimately, both have similar greenhouse gas emissions.
In short, in terms of land use, conventional agriculture clearly wins. In eco-toxicity, organic farming has a clear advantage.
In the end, currently, organic products are not superior to regular products.
And we must also consider that organic farming is starting to have an impact on a larger scale. Demand continues to grow and supply becomes increasingly difficult, which can lead to much less responsible production methods.
For example: Spain grows organic tomatoes for export in very large greenhouses which require a lot of energy and have other impacts on the environment, notably in greenhouse gas emissions.
And because demand can no longer be entirely covered by local producers, the importation of organic products is growing more and more. Who says import says complexity of logistics and also difficult quality control.
We want to satisfy demand, so we could very well let certain products pass through with higher levels of pesticides (because the organic regulations of a certain country are less strict).
In addition, the very high demand leads to fraud to pass off regular foods into much more expensive organic products.
Despite all this, in the end, the difference between organic and conventional is not objective.
Organic is not just a production method, for many, it is an ideology!
Buying organic makes us have a good conscience. We want the best for the health of our children and for the planet. But our idea of thinking that organic is good and that regular products are not good can get in the way when the time comes to make an informed decision.
The solution might be to stop seeing organic and conventional agriculture as incompatible. They each have positives and negatives… and the best way to produce healthy food would be a combination of their best features.
And for your personal grocery store, it depends on what you want from your food:
- If you want to eat healthier, choose more fruits and vegetables of all kinds, not necessarily organic.
- If your concerns are more environmental, only buying organic products will not solve the problem.
The best option is to buy local and seasonal foods. In fact, seasonal foods are truly organic.
To conclude, an organic label is a manufacturing notice and not a safety certificate or an undeniable asset for your diet. What you eat is much more important than how it is produced.