Posted on 04 Sep 2017 Views 4722 Comments 26
Whilst in college, I enrolled onto an Extended Project Qualification (known by us students as an EPQ), which allowed us to study anything that tickled our fancy – providing that we haven’t studied it, or are not going to study it whilst at college.
The point of the EPQ was to learn something new as an individual instead of being taught by a teacher, providing myself with valuable transferable skills that will be very useful after college within a career or in further education. My choice of study was to focus on Organic produce (as well as Superfoods, but that is a different blog post) and I’d love to share my conclusions with you.
As you may know already by browsing the fruit and veg aisles in your local supermarket, the organic version almost always seems to be higher in price, but why is that? Well, it is because the produce has been grown without fertilisers/pesticides - simply without any ‘harmful’ artificial chemicals and more natural ways of growing them are used instead. This is more expensive to do compared to conventional farming with chemicals – as the yield will be higher due to the usage of pesticides to get rid of any unwanted nasties like aphids and caterpillars. The farmers also consider many other options in organic produce farming, such as:
But, little do we know – any produce labelled as ‘organic’ can still contain those artificial chemicals to a maximum of 5%, so only produce labelled as ‘100% organic’ or ‘fully organic’ are the produce that actually don’t have any artificial chemicals on them! It’s very deceiving indeed. If they do partially contain organic ingredients, these will be listed on the ingredients, but the overall product cannot be labelled as organic, rather that it contains ingredients of organic origin. 1
There isn’t any solid evidence to suggest that organic produce has any positive or negative health impacts, and I feel that this will stay this way for a long time – as years of research would be required to finalise a result (these tests are currently in progress).
In fact, there isn’t really much difference. If you are able to buy organic food – it means you are helping to preserve/maintain wildlife and the environment – but as for health benefits, it’s really just the same as conventional non-organic produce. So if you are on a budget and you want the maximum nutritional benefit from your vegetables or fruit (week 13 on plan only), conventional non-organic produce will do the same job to your health as an organic variety would.
I conducted a taste-test with friends and family to see if they could tell the difference between an organic pink lady apple and a non-organic apple of the same variety. The participants firstly ate a slice of apple A and then after washing their mouth out with water, they tried a slice of apple B and they had to say which they thought was the organic variety. The results shown by this experiment were concluded to ‘no significant difference in taste or texture’ – as only 30% correctly chose the organic variety out of the two, however, all the 30% that chose correctly said it was down to a coincidence and they had guessed their answer.
A similar test was made with the same apples before the taste-test, to see if the participants could correctly state which was organic between two pink lady apples in front of them based on sight alone. This experiment came to the same conclusion as the taste-test, which was there wasn’t any convincible difference between the two apples.
1 Food Standards Agency (FSA)
Is it money well spent for Organic Produce and do you even trust the supermarkets if you can't see or taste the difference? Please share your thoughts below and you might be the lucky winner of our exclusive Bluetooth Digital Scales! We will pick our favourite tip/comment on Friday 8th September 2017 at 4pm.
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