Can you get sick from eating non-organic foods?

In this brief article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you get sick from eating non-organic foods?”. Additionally, we will discuss the potential threats of eating non-organic foods, health risks associated with consuming non-organic foods and benefits of eating organic foods.

Can you get sick from eating non-organic foods?

Yes, you can get sick from eating non-organic foods. Infact, consuming non-organic foods has a lot of health risks associated with it including accumulation of harmful chemicals and toxins in the human body which can ultimately lead to more complex health problems.

Although non-organic products are produced using mechanical techniques, that makes the production much faster and easier but it can have negative effects on the consumer. Moreover, some people can be allergic to the chemicals and preservatives present in non-organic foods.

Difference between non-organic and organic foods

Non-organic foodsOrganic foods 
Non-organic foods are produced using chemical fertilizersOrganic foods are produced using natural fertilizers 
Chemical herbicides are used to control weedsOrganic herbicides or other natural methods (mulching, crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching and tilling) are used to control weeds
Chemical pesticides are used to control pestsNaturally-driven pesticides and other natural methods (birds, traps, and insects) are used to control pests
To produce non-organic foods, livestock are given non-organic foods as well as growth hormones for faster growth   To produce organic foods, livestock are given organic food that is free of hormones 
For the prevention of diseases, livestock are given antibiotics and medicationsFor the prevention of diseases, natural methods such as clean housing, healthy diet, and rotational grazing are used 

Health risks associated with non-organic foods 

The food we eat has a lot of affect on our body and brain. The use of pesticides to control pests during the production of non-organic foods, has potential health risks associated with it. These include:

  • Compromised activity of the central nervous system: 

If we consume food that is contaminated with chemicals and pesticides it will adversely affect our central nervous system because they disrupt the normal functioning of the central nervous system. For this reason, most of our young generation suffers from depression and anxiety issues. 

  • Fatigue: 

We may lose our ability to do routine work despite eating fruits and vegetables. This happens because pesticides and chemicals can stay in our body for a longer time, causing our body to function slowly. This in turn, makes us feel sleepy and lethargic. 

  • Cancer: 

The continual accumulation of pesticides and various chemicals in our body due to many years of exposure has increased the chance of certain cancers such as lymphoma, breast cancer, leukemia, prostate cancer, and also brain tumor.These could also lead to birth defects.

Other risk factors include: obesity, hypertension, headaches, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease as well as fetal failure and reproductive disorders.

Negative effects of hormones and antibiotics used in farming

Antibiotics are given to livestock to keep it healthy and promote growth. If they are used in excess, it could lead to more resistant strains of bacteria. In addition, antibiotic residues can increase the penicillin-sensitivity for the people who are susceptible to allergic reactions. 

In addition, animals are given sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) to promote their growth. Consuming foods (meat, milk) that contain excessive amounts of hormones can lead to certain problems such as ovarian cysts and breast enlargement.

People who are vulnerable to pesticide exposure

People with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable to developing health problems due to pesticide exposure. Moreover, pregnant women are at risk as pesticides can be transferred from mother to the fetus and also through breast milk. 

Also, children whose immune systems are still undergoing development are susceptible to pesticides. 

Benefits of eating organic foods

  • Organic foods are fresh
  • They containing fewer pesticides
  • Farming methods used in the production of organic foods are generally better for the environment, as it reduces pollution, conserve water, increase soil fertility, decrease soil erosion and uses less energy
  • Organic milk and meat are often richer in nutrients than non-organic foods
  • Organic foods are free from GMOs.

Does washing help in removing the pesticides?

Even if we wash the fresh produce, it does not eliminate pesticides completely. However, peeling often helps, but it decreases the quantity of valuable nutrients present in the skin. The key is to consume a varied diet, scrub and wash food thoroughly and buy organic food whenever possible.


In this short article, we have answered the query, “Can you get sick from eating non-organic foods?. Moreover, we have discussed the harmful effects of eating non-organic foods, health risks associated with eating non-organic foods, and benefits of eating organic foods.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.