Perspectives

Is organic food better for you than conventionally grown food?

Whether you choose to eat organic or conventionally grown food is a personal choice. But did you know there is no evidence to support the notion that organic food is more nutritious and safer to eat than non-organic food?

What is the difference between organic and conventional farming?

Organic fruits, vegetables and grains are grown without using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). To control pests such as weeds, insects and fungi, organic farmers rely on practices such as crop rotation, mulches, traps and the use of resistant varieties of plants. If these practices fail to control pests, specific non-synthetic pesticides may be used such as copper and hydrogen peroxide.  

Women at a Beach Picnic

Conventional farms also rely on practices such as crop rotation, mulches, traps and the use of resistant varieties of crops to combat weeds, insects, disease and fungi, however, synthetic pesticides can also be used. Pesticide use in Canada is tightly regulated under the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) and provincial regulations. All pesticides must be thoroughly investigated to ensure their safety for humans, animals and the environment. Health Canada also oversees the use of pesticides to ensure they’re applied properly and that growers are adhering to safe residue limits. Read Bayer’s perspective on the use of pesticides.

Is there a difference in the nutritional value?

There’s no evidence showing that organic produce is safer or more nutritious than non-organic produce.

Several studies have revealed that there is no difference in the nutritional value between organically and conventionally farmed food. Researchers at Stanford analyzed almost 250 studies and concluded that “there isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods”. Although there was slightly less pesticide residue found on the organic produce, both types of food had residue well within acceptable limits.

What are the benefits of conventional methods of farming?

The use of plant science, like pesticides and plant breeding innovations, has significant benefits to you, the farmer and our environment.

You benefit from the use of agricultural science every time you shop for groceries. The use of agricultural science methods ensures a variety of high-quality foods are available at affordable prices. Without these methods, Canadians would pay as much as 55 per cent, or an average of $4,400, more for food per family every year.

Did you know? In Canada, pesticides are permitted for use on organically grown crops.

Plant science innovations allow Canadian farmers to be more efficient in their use of land, save fuel by driving over their fields fewer times and cut water use by 28 per cent. Without the use of plant science, we would need to farm almost 50 per cent more land to grow the same amount of food – or almost 35 million acres of forest, native grass and wetlands.

At Bayer, we do our part to ensure the responsible and safe use of pesticides, and we promote sustainable, integrated pest management practices for farmers. We provide ongoing support for both farmers and retailers to ensure our products are used safely and efficiently.