What is organic food?
Some people brag about the fact that they buy and eat only organic foods, having the false belief that organic food means it’s necessarily healthy. But things aren’t always as they seem, especially when it comes to foods and drinks that you can find at any supermarket nowadays. Among the products and foods that are commonly bought from the supermarket is the meat, and here we talk about chicken meat. Chicken wings, chicken breasts and other forms of chicken meat are the most frequently bought foods from the supermarkets and I think that we all can easily agree with that.
But an important aspect that has raised a lot of questions and interest – and one that not all of us can agree or disagree with – is that these organic foods are nutritious and healthy or not. Lots of people want to believe that they actually eat healthy if they buy chickens from the supermarket, especially if they’re organic, but do they really have a point? Is organic chicken nutritious or not?
Health experts have debated on the subject and many researches and researchers have tried to answer whether the organic chickens are really healthy and nutritious, as we’d all like to think. The answer of some recent studies is no actually, it appears that organic chickens aren’t more nutritious. Yes, we can talk about certain environmental benefits, such as the fact that the pollution is minimized by the organic farming processes, but when it comes to the nutritional advantage, organic chickens don’t score as high as we’d think. However, a good news is the fact that researchers have found organic chicken to be more robust in its flavor.
A good explanation on this matter belongs to Nate Lewis, who is the senior crops and livestock specialist from the Organic Trade Association. He talks about the so-called “upstream effects” of the organic poultry. It is true that the organic chickens are fed with organic feed, which means that they get the organic bedding they need. It is also true that the organic feed doesn’t contain GMOs and they are grown after the standards that forbid fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. Farmers use only practices that are made to improve the soil heath, such as crop rotation or cover cropping.
There has always been a divergence in the organic vs. conventional crops, and if the main reason why you’re buying organic chicken is the fact that it is not raised with synthetics and fertilizers, then it is understandable. However, if you can’t explain yourself why does the organic chicken cost more than the conventional crops, you should know that the answer is the feed we were talking about earlier. The feed is brought from overseas and yes, prices vary, so this is why you should expect to pay more for the organic chicken than for the conventional one.
Facts about organic chicken
Even though the organic chicken’s label doesn’t share too much information about the chicken’s life, there is even less information about the upstream effects on it. It is supposed that the living conditions for the organic chickens are necessarily better than the one of the conventional chicken, but surprise – this isn’t always the case. Normally, any organic bird has the right to have access to the outdoors and live in an environment that allows it to act natural, but these standards aren’t always adapted by farmers. Kirk Klasing is a professor from the University of California and doesn’t agree with the fact that the organic rules are clear and specific. He says that these rules are often vague and written only in general terms.
However, Nate Lewis disagrees with the professor’s idea. But Klasing goes even further and says that it is precisely because of the fact that the rules of raising organic chickens are vague, their welfare standards are so different than the conventional farms’ ones. The conventional farms have rules that are even tightly controlled. Nate Lewis stated that this particular change is due to the offing. The organic communities have received pressures in order to tighten a little bit more the rules of raising organic chickens, and this is only the reaction behind the idea that the producers need to have or get some additional certifications if they really want to meet the customers’ expectations.
The difference between organic and conventional food
The main idea we should retain is the fact that there isn’t too much of a difference between the organic chicken and the conventional raised chicken, except for the organic feed. However, there are not any viable and particular studies that stated the fact that the organic chickens are more nutritious and healthy than the conventional ones, so, as far as we’re concerned, it’s only a matter of choice for everyone else to decide what they really want to eat – organic or not, healthier or not, more nutritious or not. But since the lack of evidence doesn’t prove something good, I’d say we should think again about the bragging about eating only healthier and nutritious organic chickens!