An Expert Space for the organic food industry
moderated by Peter Hubshman/Venturepreneur
Organic food is currently the fastest growing consumer food segment, expected to surpass 10% of consumer purchases by the early 2020's, the segment was estimated at 4% in 2012 by the USDA weighing in at $28bil.
Fresh fruits and vegetables have been the top selling category of organically grown food since the organic food industry started retailing products over 3 decades ago, and they are still outselling other food categories, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Produce accounted for 43 percent of U.S. organic food sales in 2012, followed by dairy (15 percent), packaged/prepared foods (11 percent), beverages (11 percent), bread/grains (9 percent), snack foods (5 percent), meat/fish/poultry (3 percent), and condiments (3 percent).
The USDA certification for organic growers (United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Organic label) is awarded to companies that follow specific practices regarding livestock handling, pest control, crop production, soil and water quality, and food additives(USDA Organic Standards).
But are we better off eating these things? My mother thinks so. I think so. My intuition tells me that it must be so. It just has to be better to stay away from highly toxic substances. It just has to be better to be careful what we put into stuff we grow and to treat our livestock well.
The Michigan State University Extension recently published an article following a review of current studies and literature on the safety of Organic labeled food. They found that the evidence to date is inconclusive regarding safety claims of organic growers. What does this mean? MSU researchers are suggesting that a lot more research will need to be conducted before we find out scientifically if organic foods are better for us.
MSU researchers also point to the Mayo clinic's recent review of research into Organic food safety. The Mayo Clinic finds that:
(A greenmarket customer picks his own lettuce from an outdoor aquaponic grow bed.)
So what should we do? Sometimes we need to put our intuition out in front of ourselves. We can and will realize increasingly that everything we do, what we eat, what we drive, how we live, affects us and the environment we live in profoundly. Scientific conclusions often take that regrettful form: "We were right! Why didn't we do something about it back then?"