Science Project:

Is Organic Better?

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Research Questions:

  • Can differences in appearance, smell and taste between organic and conventional foods be determined based on blind tests?

Organic food is supposed to be better for health and the environment, and it is more expensive. But does it look, smell, and/or taste better? The purpose of this study is to determine whether people can tell the difference between organic and conventional food just from looking at, smelling and tasting it.

Materials:

  • Conventional and Organic versions of about 10 types of food. Examples are: apples, bananas, carrots, chicken, eggs, milk, and cheese. Make sure each food is exactly the same type (for example, both conventional and organic chicken breast, or both conventional and organic 2% milk). If they need to be cooked, make sure they are cooked and seasoned exactly the same way.
  • At least 5 different people to do a blind taste test and visual evaluation of each food.

Experimental Procedure

  1. Prepare each food for consumption, ensuring that conventional and organic versions are prepared exactly the same way with the same spices and amount of salt used.
  2. Without telling them which food is organic or conventional, ask your taste testers to look at, smell and taste both samples, and tell you any differences they see, smell or taste. Ask them which one they like better.
  3. Record which sample is chosen: organic or conventional, for each different food, recording any observations or comments.
  4. Determine the percentages of “better” votes for each food in conventional or organic.
  5. According to the data, determine whether organic is better than conventional overall.

Terms/Concepts: organic, conventional, blind taste test, overall trend

Author: Leah Wood
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