What differences between Organic and Non-Organic Food ?

There's an ongoing conflicting debate between organic and Non-organic produce. Questions like: "which one is healthier? what makes organic food different? does organic encourage healthy living?..." are few of the questions that linger in our minds and are worth finding answers to.

The difference between both can result mainly from 5 elements : the cost, the taste, the nutrition, the environment and the quality.

Let's get started first by simplifying the concepts : 

  • Organic means growing food naturally using natural fertilizers. It refers to producing food without using pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or any other kind of artificial fertilizer. Farmers who practice organic farming promote soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.
  • Non-organic is a conventional method of controlling pests and weeds. Farmers also use it to grow and produce agricultural products- using synthetic chemicals. Statistics [1] show that a Non-organic food has less than 70% organic ingredients.

How To Easily Identify Food Grown Organically

Generally, not all foods have a seal that tells you if it's organic. Even if you found one with a random tag, you may still be in doubt; as to how authentic it is.
To clear these doubts, The United States Department of Agriculture has introduced strict measures that farmers and food manufacturers must adhere to before they can label their products as organic.

After meeting these standards, only then; will they be awarded a certificate of compliance, from USDA which qualifies them to use the USDA organic seal on their products. However, farmers and food producers who do not sell up to $5,000 of organic food in a year do not qualify to obtain this certificate.

USDA Organic Measures

With the following measures in place, it's easier to identify a product that is Organically grown :

  • Made entirely from organic materials - 100% Organic [2]
  • At least 95% organic materials while the remaining 5% contain other ingredients approved by USDA - Organic [3]
  • Made with a minimum of 70% organic materials and can display 3 organic ingredients on its label but doesn't have the organic seal- Made With Organic Ingredients [4]
  • If the organic ingredients are not up to 70%, the product cannot use USDA Organic seal and must not be labeled; as organic- Non-organic  [4]

Does Organic Food Contain Less Pesticides ?

Maybe not! According to USDA data and Harvard Health Publishing [5], organic foods has lower detectable pesticide residues than inorganic grown produce. But a lot remains unclear as to whether the pesticide residues in organic food are safer than those in inorganic produce- Since they both contain a measure of residues that are safe to consume. If organic food is not readily available where you live, you'll have to depend on organic products brought in from another country.

However, between production up to when it's shipped; to where you reside, the organic food may have lost some essential nutrients, such as vitamin C. Hence, in this case, your organic food may not be more nutritious than your conventionally grown produce.

Other Factors To Consider

Cost: organic food costs more than conventional food due to its high demand and because the process of producing it is more expensive.

Taste: while some people say they can differentiate between the taste of organic food and their conventional counterpart, others say they cannot notice the difference. It means that the taste is subjective and differs from one person to another.

Environment: Some people prefer organic food and will buy it because of the environmental practices used in producing it. The benefits organic farming has on the environment are that it conserves water and soil quality and reduces pollution.


Now that you have a better understanding, you can easily decide whether organic food is best for you or not. 

As an alternative, you can patronize your local market/farm for fresh foods, as they are usually very nutrient-rich, and such a purchase can in turn, boost your local economy. Conclusively, the Nutrients you get off your food will always be a reflection of the factors that are more important to you.