Organic vs. Non-Organic: What’s the Real Difference?


What are the real differences between organic and non-organic foods?  The most obvious is that one is grown without pesticides or hormones.  These organic foods must be grown in such a way as to comply with national government standards.  The industry is heavily regulated.  But there are many other differences, some of which have more to do with looks than taste.

  • Aesthetics

Some people prefer the look of a perfect apple, pear or melon.  If you are one of those people, you may notice that the more aesthetically appealing piece of fruit is often conventional, which is another name for ‘non-organic’ foods.

Organic produce tends to come in a variety of sizes and shapes and often look physically ‘imperfect’.

The reason for this discrepancy is because that non-organic produce is usually treated with a number of different growth-enhancing substances.  Organic produce is not.

This goes for organic meats, too.  Organic cuts of meat are usually physically different from their non-organic counterparts. The organic meat tends to be similar in coloration to non-organic cuts of meat, but organic cuts are usually smaller in size because the animals used for organic meat products are not treated with any growth-enhancing substances.  Animals used for non-organic meat production are.

  • Quality

All organic food products must meet the same standards as do non-organic foods.  However, organic products are also required to be certified as meeting an extra set of standards.

While this does not necessarily mean that organic products are higher quality, it does mean that they have met additional standards and you may view this as better quality.


  • Food additives and pesticides

As mentioned before, the most obvious and most important difference between organic and non-organic foods is in the substances used to produce them.

Under current standards organic producers are limited in what they can add to, or use on, organic foods.

The animals used to produce organic products must be raised solely on organic feeds, which can contain no antibiotics or growth-enhancing substances.  No artificial substances or modification methods can be used.

This means that organic products should contain fewer artificial ingredients than conventional food products.

Those who grow organic produce are not allowed to use conventional practices to fertilize their crops, kill pests or control weeds.  Usually, organic farmers will use natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants, natural methods to kill pests, and crop rotation to control weeds.  Non-organic farmers can, and typically do, use conventional fertilizers and weed killers on their crops, as well as pesticides.

More from Alex Jordon:

How To Minimize Your GMO Foods Intake

2 Simple Tricks to Remove Pesticides From Fruits & Vegetables

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