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It's beginning to bite

Organic food is costlier but not all that much better than the common-or-garden variety. So why spend more?

india Updated: Sep 05, 2012 21:36 IST
Hindustan Times

In these trying times, when buying ordinary foodstuff can burn a hole in our pockets, comes the news that can actually help us save some hard cash when we go out to shop the next time. According to a Stanford University study, a first of its kind in the world, there is little evidence to suggest that there are more nutritional benefits from expensive organic food than those grown by conventional methods. The researchers add that there is no difference in protein and fat content between organic and conventional milk and the vitamin count is similar in both types. The only benefit is that organic foods are not contaminated with pesticides but then, before you chew on that plate of organic okra with roti made from organic wheat, they are not 100% pesticide free either. In India, organic food has been growing at 20-22% and the export market is valued at Rs. 1,000 crore. Obviously, the study is not good news for that sector and for people who are big on organic food.

In India, eating organic food is more of a style statement than due to health worries because the stuff is expensive. But people who can do indulge in not only organic vegetables but even organic eggs laid by 'happy hens', who are allowed to roam around free whereas 'unhappy hens' are kept in coops. Then there are companies that have installed channel music in their cowsheds and the milk from those sheds are sold at a marked up price since it has more nutritional value because the animals are happy thanks to lilting 24x7 music. We don't know yet of any famer using music to improve his crop quality, but then you never know: plants are known to respond to music.

Why such pickiness about food? Okay, we do understand that food is not about just food, it also has cultural and religious con-notations. These days, the huge number of TV shows and articles that we see and read on food provides bread and butter for the specialists. But instead of decoding food, its sources and what has gone into growing it, isn't it much better to enjoy what's on the plate?

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