Thinking deeper into organic food

I’m sure we’ve all heard about organic foods being natural and good for you. Increasing amounts and variety of organic foods that have made their way into our supermarkets are a testament to the success of organic foods in persuading the more health conscious, wealthy and increasing obesity society to embrace them. But before you jump in at everything organic and scoff at genetically engineered food or it’s less glamourous name of frankenfood, we should analyse what organic food really mean. Afterall, it’s just a fanciful name for the product of an agricultural practice.

Direct from OrganicFoodInfo.net:
“Organic farming produces plant and animal foods without the excessive use of chemicals. It focuses on using fertile soil..Organic farming prohibits the growing of GM foods…”

Looking at the first part of the definition, we can think of it like home grown vegetables or kampung chickens. It’s a more humane way of rearing the animals for food and does much less damage to the environment when growing crops. As for the second part, prohibition of GM food means farmers are growing crops that are less resistant to pests. The next generation of crops are grown through natural selection of seeds from the previous generation. This means that yields are lower as compared to crops grown the commercial way and are less robust. Think of tomatos that start to soften while being transported to the supermarket and rotting while it’s sitting on the shelve with the label “organic”, waiting for you to pick them into your busket. In fact, organic farming is the extreme opposite of farming practices developed during the agricultural revolution that are used in most commercial farms today.

I am a supporter of being more humane to the animals that we eat so I’ll definitely support organic meat. As for vegetables, I’ll rather go for hydroponics or aeroponics that uses high tech ways to increase yield and does less damage to the environment by recycling the nutrients that are sprayed to plants and have proper drainage system for their waste disposal. (Not that I eat much veggies)

Anyway, if you’re still afraid of frankenfood, here’s something to think about.

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I was at Carrefour a few days ago and a very amazing collection of organic foods. We all know cheese comes from milk, somehow. In the past, cheese was made by allowing milk to ferment in the gut of baby calves. With GM food, ecoli replaced the role of the bacteria present in the gut of baby calves so milk can ferment in tanks. Organic cheese anyone?