The higher price charged for organic foods verses conventionally grown foods prevents some people from purchasing only organic items. The benefit of consuming certain organic items significantly reduces exposure to pesticides, fungicides, and hormones.
Conventionally raised livestock is given hormones to speed up growth, antibiotics to resist disease, and feed that is grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. To be FDA certified organic, meat must come from livestock fed organic feed and not given hormones or antibiotics. In the article, “Nutritional Quality and Safety of Organic Food,” Denis Lairon reported that organic beef has more polyunsaturated fats than conventionally raised livestock. Consumed in moderation, polyunsaturated fats help reduce levels of blood cholesterol.
Certified organic dairy products must come from cows that meet the standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In October 2008, the department specified that organic livestock must be raised without hormones, antibiotics, and fed with pesticide-free grain. Livestock must be allowed to graze in a pasture for a minimum of 120 days. In 2007, researcher involved in a four year European-funded project found that organic milk had higher levels of vitamin E and more nutrients than milk from conventionally raised cows.
Organic eggs come from chickens raised on organic feed and have not been given hormones or antibiotics. Free-range chickens have access to yards not treated with chemicals. The color of the egg is insignificant to nutritional value. The color of an egg depends on the breed of the chicken.
Organic coffee beans are grown without chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides. During processing, no harsh chemicals are used. The growing approach to organic coffee is more environmentally friendly. Shade grown coffee respects the plant’s natural preference to shade. Coffee plants allowed to grow slowly under the shade of the rain forest canopy produce a better quality bean and save the rain forest.