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Are Organic Foods Better For You Organic farming began in the late 1940s in the United States and in recent years it has seen a dramatic increase in popularity Rubin 1 The sales of organic foods have been increasing by about 20 percent a year over the past decade Marcus 1 That is over ten times the rate of their conventional counterparts Harris 1 There are 10 million consumers of organic food in the United States yet organic food represents only one percent of the nations food supply This year organic food sales are expected to rise to six billion dollars Rubin 1 So what are organic foods Organic foods are those which are grown without hormones pesticides or synthetic fertilizers Also the soil in which organic foods are grown must be clean for three years Howe 4 Nearly 70 percent of the American public believes that the organic label on food products means they are safer to eat and better for the environment according to a survey by the National Center for Public Policy Cummins 1 Organic farming does have its advantages It conserves water and soil resources recycles animal waste releases fewer chemicals improves soil fertility promotes diversity of crops and protects farm workers livestock and wildlife from potentially harmful pesticides Rubin 4 But are organic foods safer than conventional foods Not only can organic foods be contaminated with bacteria and pesticides but also they are more expensive than conventional foods yet do not offer a better nutritional value or significantly better taste Sir John Krebs a zoologist appointed to head the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom said that people who bought organic food thinking it was safer or more nutritious were wasting their money Jones 1 Critics of organic farming claim that it is dangerous environmentally damaging and above all incapable of feeding an overpopulated world because crop yields are lower than in conventional agriculture Jones 2 If
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