Organic Food Vs. Genetically Modified Food

The Differences Between Organic & Genetically Modified Foods

This report discusses the benefits and negatives of both organic and genetically modified foods, and compares the differences between the two for the food and beverage department of a major hotel chain who is seeking to add something new and exciting to their menu to attract more customers. While organic food is more expensive, the public does not as easily accept genetically modified food as easily as it accepts organic food, due to 'Frankenstein food' concerns over its modifications. The conclusion reached after researching and writing this paper is that organic food would be a more easily accepted menu addition by the guests at the hotel chain, and may even draw a larger customer base that is interested in sustainable agriculture and going green. It is recommended that the hotel chain should buy more organic food to use in their facilities.

Comparative Report of Organic Food vs. Genetically Modified Food

Introduction

Food is not only necessary for survival, but has become an interest in the minds of many Americans. There are entire television networks dedicated to the subject of food, and the public has been increasingly interested in what they are actually eating. While some food trends come and go quickly, the peoples' interest in where their food comes from has increased steadily over the past decade, fueled by health concerns, sustaining local agriculture and being ecologically considerate. Organic food is rapidly gaining popularity, while genetically modified food is drawing more questions than popularity. In an attempt to compare organic food and genetically modified food, this report will answer:

• What is organic food?

• What is genetically modified food?

• Is there any different in quality between the two?

• What are the costs of organic food compared to the costs of genetically modified food?

• What is the public opinion of organic food? Of genetically modified food?

• Which one would draw a larger customer base to the hotel?

The answers to these questions will undoubtedly point to organic foods being the best choice to add to the menu.

Organic Food

Organics is a broad term used to describe naturally grown and raised plant and animal products, which could be anything from spinach to a herd of cattle. Typically, organic products are those that are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides and genetically modified organisms.

Quality

Although there have been no current scientific findings that the quality of organic food is higher than that of regular food, many people feel that the taste is more potent, the colors of certain foods, mostly fruits and vegetables, are brighter, and they feel healthier after eating them. Whether or not this is actually the case has yet to be determined, but according to a poll in October 2007, 30 percent of Americans think that organic food is not only healthier, but also safer and better for the environment (Bittman, 2009, p. 1).

Cost

The cost of organic food has always been a weighing factor on consumers' minds. Organic food prices are higher because of various reasons, such as:

• Due to the limitations on pesticides, organic farmers run the risk of losing more of their crop to pest outbreaks or plant diseases.

• Organic farmers fertilize their land with composting and animal manure, which are more expensive than chemical fertilizers.

• Organic grain and animal feed for livestock, such as cattle, is more expensive to buy than commercial feed and grain.

These reasons, plus others, increase the overall cost it takes to produce various organic foods, and explains why organic food is more expensive to buy.

Health Concerns or Benefits

Typically, there are not any health concerns associated with organic food. However, with the recent outbreak of salmonella in peanut butter and peanut-based products, the organic world had a scare as plants in Georgia and Texas with the contaminated peanut butter had federal organic certification (Severson, 2009, p.1). On the other hand, there are numerous health benefits associated with organic food. While higher in omega 3 fatty acids than normal beef, grass fed organic beef is also rich in trace minerals. Also, organic food is generally considered to be healthier because it is not grown with the use of synthetic chemicals or pesticides.

Genetically Modified Food

Genetically Modified Foods are foods that have been altered in a biological and botanical way, usually by modifying them in the laboratory, while they are still in their seed or plant stages, by adding nutrients or increasing its resistance to certain pests.

Quality

Modified crops have led to many advantages, such as insect-resistant apples, coffee with lower caffeine content, and lower saturated fats in sunflower seeds. Genetically modified salmon grows faster than regular salmon, therefore increasing the amount that can be produced in a certain time period.

Cost

While the experiments for new products may cost large sums of money, most typically genetically modified foods are relatively cheap and affordable, as compared to organic foods. Like organic food, genetically modified food undergoes strict regulations, but is still cheaper in the long run.

Health Concerns or Benefits

While there are some health benefits associated with genetically modified foods, such as increased levels of vitamins and minerals, there are mostly health concerns associated with genetically modified foods. According to Smith (2009), "Of all the changes in our food, the most dangerous transformation was the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops." Most prevalent health concerns associated with genetically modified food are:

• Food allergies

• Cross-pollination between genetically modified plants and non-genetically modified plants

• Uncertainty over the long-term affects of genetically modified foods

Recommendation

It is my recommendation that the hotel choose organic foods as the newest addition to their menu. While organic food is more expensive, it is more widely accepted by the public and has proven to be a healthier option.

References

Bittman, M Eating food that's better for you, organic or not. (2008, March 22). The New York Times

Severson, K It's organic, but does that mean it's safer?. (2008, March 4). The New York Times

Smith, J Will Obama's food safety team finally regulate the biggest food safety hazard of our time?. (2008, March 27). The Huffington Post

Published by Kathleen Wilson

Kathleen Wilson is a native resident of a small town in the Delmarva Peninsula. Having already completed her degrees in both Culinary Arts and General Business, Kathleen moved to Southwest Virginia after mar...  View profile