When did food get so complicated?
Buzzwords like local, sustainable and responsibly raised are part of everyday conversations and greet us at the meat counter, the milk cooler, the cereal aisles and farmers markets.
But what do they really mean?
What's the difference between organic and conventional
- Nutritional Value/Safety
- Antibiotic Use
- Supplemental Hormones
- Animal Feed
More labor, organic certification, lower yields and the need for separate marketing and processing all affect cost.
Farming practices and economies of scale tend to produce higher yields and reduce costs.
To be sustainable, all farmers have to cover expenses for things like seed, feed, labor, fertilizer, taxes and energy.
Not allowed. But, when necessary, will treat a sick animal and then remove it from the farm. The meat and milk is marketed through the conventional food chain.
When necessary, will treat a sick animal. If used, FDA has strict laws about when meat or milk from that animal can enter the food supply.
Farmers do not want to use antibiotics unnecessarily. Treating a sick animal when needed is humane.
May choose to use. Some beef and dairy farmers use FDA-approved hormones to produce more milk and meat, using fewer animals and resources. Hormone level differences in meat and milk from treated animals range from negligible to unmeasurable.
Milk, meat and vegetables already contain naturally-occurring hormones.
Only natural fertilizer, such as manure.
Options include natural or processed fertilizer.
Fertilizers are made from natural elements whether natural or processed. (Nitrogen is nitrogen, no matter where it comes from.)
Moms have questions about organic and conventional food, and Illinois farmers have answers.