Organic food has become increasingly popular in recent years. Currently it is the fastest growing sector in food production in the United States. It has also become sought after in Canada, Australia and several European countries.
Food that is certified organic in the United States has to undergo strict production regulations. Some food can be certified 100% organic, while other food only contains some organic ingredients.
Some of the purported advantages of organic food include its lack of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and lack of artificial hormones. Organic food is said to be better for the consumer and the environment.
Synthetic pesticides such as DDVP often wash out of fields and into rivers or ground water. Eventually these chemicals end up in the ocean, and kill fish and other marine life. Organic food, grown with natural predators to kill pests, does not contribute to this problem. Also, there may be some small risk that food grown with synthetic pesticides may harm the human body when the food is consumed.
Artificial fertilizers may also wind up somewhere besides the field for which they were intended. Excessive fertilizers in rivers can stimulate the growth of large amounts of algae, and dynamically change parts of those ecosystems.
One of the most cited advantages of organic food is its low impact on the environment. Organic food takes less energy to grow, and serves as a haven for many kinds of animals and birds. Instead of driving these creatures away, organic farming encourages them to stay. A potential drawback to organic farming is its lower level of efficiency — organic farming simply doesn’t yield as much food per acre as conventional farming.
A final advantage of organic farming over conventional methods is its lack of hormones or genetic manipulation. Although all milk contains hormones, organic milk does not contain any added artificial hormones, and is as close to fresh as most people will ever get.