Like many of my fellow millennials, I want to take care of myself and our environment by eating healthily and responsibly.
But understanding what that actually means is difficult. Social media is awash with influencers and magazine articles promoting the latest trends, and it’s sometimes hard to know what to believe.
Below, I’ve set straight three misconceptions about modern farming and food production that can help you make up your own mind.
Myth #1 A diet without meat is always the healthier option
Vegetarianism and vegan diets are hot topics, fuelled in part by beliefs that eating plant-based diets are beneficial to our health.
But meat provides a wealth of vitamins and nutrients in every portion, which must be replaced in a different form to keep you in good condition. If you’re changing your meat consumption, you need to seriously consider how to replace those lost nutrients.
This is especially important for children and older adults who have specific dietary needs to make sure your body absorbs the necessary vitamins and protein.
Myth #2 Organic food production is pesticide-free
More than 80 per cent of people who buy organic fruit and vegetables say they do so because these products are free from pesticides.1
In fact, organic production still uses mineral salts and pesticides made from plant materials. They can also use synthetic or biological pesticides.
Even some of these natural pesticides can be tenacious in the environment and must be applied at higher rates to protect the crop.
The bottom line on pesticide use is that all farmers need to protect their precious crops from bacteria, insects and other pests.
Myth #3 Healthy food can be recognised by its label
A 2016 global Elanco Animal Health study revealed that one in five (80 per cent) consumers check food labels but two in three (66 per cent) did not understand what they meant or had a misperception about the truth behind ‘natural’ labels.2
A product labelled ‘natural’ on the packaging is often perceived as ‘healthy’ but in reality its use has not been regulated. In fact, it serves to promote the product as part of a marketing approach than anything else. It does not indicate its safety or nutritional value.
Before believing statements on social media, it’s important to check the truth with a reputable publication. You could even ‘follow’ or direct message a farmer, because who knows better than the people who actually produce the food?
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