Organic Foods FAQs

Answers to Questions We Frequently Hear About Organic Food

You have questions about organic foods; we have the answers.
What is OrganicEating.com?
OrganicEating.com is an organic food and product portal dedicated to providing visitors quality information about organic food, other organic products, and the organic industry.
Is organic food REALLY better?

If you’re asking if organic food is more nutritious, the answer is yes! If you’re asking if organic food is better because it has a lot less pesticide residue than conventionally grown crops, the answer is yes! (Organically grown produce tends to have one-third less pesticide residue). If you’re wondering if organic food tastes better, it definitely does.

But if you’re wondering if organic food is better as in “more affordable,” the answer is no: organic food is more expensive, mostly because the cost of growing it (produce) or raising it (livestock) is higher because growing/raising organic food is harder (labor input versus labor output) and because most organic farms are small and therefore can’t achieve the economy of scale so many large farms can.

When is organic NOT better?

While organic foods aren’t grown with synthetic herbicides and pesticides, they often do produce natural toxins themselves to fight against pests. Organic crops aren’t farmed with pesticides, and therefore have to deal with more weeds and pests than conventionally grown crops, meaning they may produce even more natural toxins. Some natural toxins, such as solanine (a substance made by potatoes as they turn green), can make one ill if ingested.

Many organic farmers also use manure for fertilizer, raising some concerns about raising the risk of contamination of such microbes as E. coli.

However, agricultural standards for growing organic crops don’t allow farmers to use raw manure within a specific frame between harvesting their crops and when humans consume it. What’s more, most contamination takes place after the food has left an organic farm (during off-site handling or processing), just as when conventional food is likely to be contaminated. (No matter how the produce you eat is grown, it’s always best to rinse it before eating it.)

Why are organic fruits and vegetables “uglier” than non-organic produce?

Organic produce may have “odd” shapes compared to their conventionally grown counterparts. They may be smaller. Oranges may not be “as orange,” and bananas may not be as perfectly yellow (and banana-shaped) as you’re used to.

This is due to the fact that they haven’t been genetically modified to look better and they haven’t been treated with synthetic pesticides. They also aren’t covered with wax (to make them shine) or treated with preservatives.

In other words, organic fruits and vegetables tend to look much more as nature intended them to.

What does it mean to be "organic?"
In terms of food production, organic means the food was grown by a certain set of standards, which are followed by the grower and qualify the food as certified organic.
What is organic food?
Organic food is grown without fertilizers, human or animal waste, pesticides, and without ionization or food additives of any sort.
What are organic products?
There are many types of organic products ranging from clothing, food, skin products, jewelry, bedding materials, and much more. In each case there may be a set of standards which define the products as “organically grown” or manufactured.
Why are organic products so popular?

It is no secret the world population is growing exponentially. To this extent, the demand for food grows in tandem. Most of the food produced for consumers has been altered from a natural state through fertilization and genetics, in order to grow food faster and in larger amounts. These growing methods directly affect all of us as we consume these products.

Organic products are becoming popular because as people educate themselves they realize the value of quality, naturally grown foods and products.

How fast is the organic industry growing?
The organic foods sector is growing very quickly: it’s been forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 14 percent between 2014 and 2018.
Where can I find organic food?

We recommend doing a local search for “organic farms” or “organic food” in your favorite search engine. Because we are unable to pinpoint where you live it makes it difficult to direct you to a specific farm or store. Brick and mortar stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods carry organic products.

Organic food is becoming increasingly mainstream and many traditional grocery stores (even Walmart) now offer organically grown food.

Where can I find organic products?
We recommend going to the search engine of your choice to find and use the words “organic name of item” to determine if a specific product is organic and where it can be found. We know of organic mattresses, organic clothing, organic skin care, and even organic jewelry products.
How do I know if something is organic?
Organic foods must be certified organic and typically carry a seal (“USDA Certified Organic”) to indicate the product is organic. However, only larger farms (selling more than $5,000 in produce or meat/dairy a year) who meet the criteria for growing organic food must have the seal; smaller farms (selling less than $5,000 a year) don’t need USDA certification in order to call themselves organic producers: they can label their products as organic, but they can’t use the USDA Organic Seal.
What is certified organic?
In the United States the National Organic Program (NOP) is enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and maintains the standards, which dictate how organic products are certified. Other countries such as Sweden, Japan, Australia, Britain, and the European Union (EU) have their own certification programs for organic foods.
How can I get involved at OrganicEating.com?
If you are interested in helping the team at OrganicEating.com we are always seeking organic activists who can write articles about organic food and other organic products. We are also interested in building relationships with established online organic merchants. Just use our contact form to connect with us.