The scientific basis for choosing organic foods is limited. There is certainly no harm associated, accept the dent it causes on the family budget.
The difference in cultivating food makes it organic or conventional food. For generations we have only been doing organic farming, i.e. no use of chemicals to raise the crop.
It was much later that pesticides and chemical manures began being used to increase the yield. Hormones and antibiotics were introduced in husbandry. These principles gained importance during the green revolution in mid twentieth century.
The rise in yield of all types of foods was welcomed; during the post war days it saved the entire world population from starvation.
Gradually the ill effects of the chemicals used in cultivation and of environmental pollution that seeped into many foods became evident.
Consequently in 1990, the concept of traditional cultivation was revived as organic process of food production.
Organic cultivation yield is much lower as compared to conventional cultivation's yield, which accounts for its high cost.
Moreover in products of organic cultivation no preservatives are used, so its shelf life is also significantly lower.
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Pesticide contamination of foods produced by conventional farming are believed to be at very low levels. They are successfully detoxified by the body and excreted out without any ill effect on child health.
However, studies have shown that the urine of children who consume foods produced of organic cultivation have lower or no detectable levels metabolites attributable to pesticide when compared to those consuming products of conventional farming.
This concludes that though undesirable chemicals from children’s diet can not be completely eliminated, they can certainly be reduced to some extent by opting for products of organic farming.
Food allergies are more common with consumption of conventional foods: Toxins from fungi are found one and a half times more often in conventional cultivation produce than that of organic farming.
The species specific nutritive values of the foods produced by the two types of cultivation remain the same. Nevertheless, organic fruits and vegetables usually contain higher levels of polyphenols and fatty acids in forms that are known to prevent certain diseases in humans.
Many studies have compared the basic nutrient levels, especially antioxidant, vitamins and minerals, in the two types of farming. Two-thirds of them claim higher nutritive value of products of organic cultivation. Where as one-third of the studies show higher nutritive values of foods from conventional farming.
In 85 percent of the studies protein content of conventionally produced food was found to be higher than the food from organic farming.
No difference is scientifically documented in taste and smell of organic and conventional foods. However both these factors are very subjective and depend on individual preference.
If a family prefers organic foods and can afford the added cost, there is no reason not to eat them.
At the same time, in event of financial constrain, there is no reason to fret for child health if some parents are unable to meet the cost of organic foods for their children.
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