Organic vs. Non-Organic: What is the Difference?

Labels in supermarkets can be confusing in communicating organic and non-organic foods.

In general, for a food to be labelled organic, there can be no genetic engineering involved, no petroleum-based or sewage-based fertilisers can be used, and no synthetic pesticides either. Synthetic pesticides are man-made, chemical-based insecticides. Pesticides that are not synthetic are acceptable.

In order for meat and poultry products to receive an organic label, the animals that are the source of these products must be free range and organic fed. Also, meat and poultry products cannot be labeled as organic if the source animals were given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products while rearing.

The difference between organic and non-organic products –

Organic Meat, Dairy and Eggs

The source animals are given organic feed that has no hormones and is not genetically modified.

The animals are able to go outdoors.

Farmers use natural means to keep animals healthy, such as rotational grazing, ensuring surroundings are clean, and animals receive a healthy diet.

Non-Organic Meat, Dairy and Eggs

These animals are given growth hormones to enable them to grow larger more quickly. Their feed is also genetically modified and is not organic.

The animals may permanently be kept indoors.

Antibiotics and other drugs are used to keep health in check.

Organic Produce

Farmers control weeds in the crop areas through natural methods, manually pulling them out, mulching, tilling, and rotating crops.

Only natural fertilisers, such as compost and manure, are used.

Farmers ward off animal pests using only natural methods, such as using natural pesticides and deploying natural predators like insects, birds and traps.

Non-Organic Produce

Farmers eradicate weeds using chemical herbicides and pests using chemical pesticides.

Chemical (synthetic) fertilisers are used to accelerate growth.

If you are looking to buy organic produce, nutritionists recommend buying local fruits and vegetables that are in season because they are freshest and also the cheapest.