What is Conventional Food?
Conventional foods are produced with a diverse mix of artificial chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and any other man-made additives or organisms.
Conventionally produced meat, dairy and poultry products may derive from animals fed with antibiotics, hormones or other medications that may prevent disease and stimulate growth.
What is Organic Food?
Organic foods are produced without the use of artificial chemicals, fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, or any other man-made additives or organisms that may be used to encourage plant growth and manage weeds.
Organic meats, dairy and poultry items are produced without the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and other medications that may stimulate their growth and prevent the breakout of disease.
What are the Recognisable Differences Between the Two?
As stated above, the differences between Organic and Conventional foods lies between their modes of production. However, despite most organic foods being declared ‘pesticide free’, there is no guarantee they are, as the term is not yet regulated in Australia. This means that some foods labeled ‘organic’ in Australia may in fact carry small traces off chemical residues, despite the levels being considerably lower than those of conventional foods.
Differences in the Way Animals are Managed
The way in which animals (that produce products such as meat, dairy and eggs) are managed is also a key difference between organic and conventional foods. Organic animal products are fed a chemical-free, balanced diet and managed with rotational grazing to prevent the risk of disease, whereas conventionally produced animal products use medicinal products to prevent an outbreak of disease.
Differences in Production Standards
Whilst there is no regulating body in Australia to ensure it, organic foods are generally produced, handled and processed with more stringent standards when compared to the standards followed in the production of conventional foods.
Differences in Health Benefits
Organic food is considered a safer, healthier way to eat as they carry lower levels or the complete absence of chemicals that may damage ones health. The extensive processing of conventional foods also reduces their nutritional value and consequent number of benefits to ones health.
Differences in Availability
Organic fruits and vegetables are only available when your fruit or vegetable of choice is in season, thus limiting your choices in terms of variety throughout the year. All conventionally produced fruit and vegetables are generally available all year round.
Differences in Price
There is no arguing that Organic foods tend to me more expensive than conventionally produced foods. This is because Organic foods come from smaller farms, are more labour-intensive in production and are in less of a demand than conventional foods, which forces retailers to put up their prices.
Differences in Shelf Life
Organic foods have a shorter shelf life when compared to conventional foods, as they contain no chemical food preservatives as conventional foods do.
Differences in Taste
Taste differences between conventional and organic foods are a hard one to judge with taste being such a personal, subjective measurement. However, many people claim that organic foods taste better as they are free of any chemicals that may affect the taste buds.
Differences in Where You Can Buy Both Foods
Whilst conventional foods may be purchased at any supermarket or corner shop, Organic foods are harder to source. Whilst mainstreams retailers are increasingly opening organic food sections, most to date have not. Organic foods may be found and purchased from your local health food shop, organic fruit and vege store or farmers markets.