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organic food no healthier than non-organic food
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Author:  unethical_vegan [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:26 am ]
Post subject:  organic food no healthier than non-organic food

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/science/earth/study-questions-advantages-of-organic-meat-and-produce.html

i support sustainable agriculture but the pseudo-scientific restrictions of the organic movement strike me as cult-like. i think organic food will end up being one of those ideas that makes future generations scratch their heads and exclaim: "what were they thinking?"

apart from the lack of evidence that organic food is more nutritious there are additional objections to the organic food movement:

in general, organic food has lower yield and is more expensive than non-organic food.
in general, organic food production requires greater quantities of animal products than non-organic food.
there are a number of widely used "organic" pesticides that are potentially toxic to animals and/or human beings.
claims that organic food is better for the environment are very dubious (e.g. nitrogen contamination by industrial-scale organic fertilizer).

Author:  joshua [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

the label "organic" is being corrupted and perverted as time goes by. give it a few years and you'll be able to buy "Organic Coca-Cola" I'm sure.

I can very distinctively tell the difference between two strawberries though - one from a bullshiitake farm on the other end of the earth, and one made with love (without even playing into 'organic'). one has..you know..flavour.

these kinds of debates are kind of fruitless though.

Author:  joshua [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

erg.
Quote:
Conventional fruits and vegetables did have more pesticide residue, but the levels were almost always under the allowed safety limits

"safety limits". meanwhile, pizza counts as a vegetable.

get to know your farmer. organic or not, it's better to come from a loving home. you'll be so much better off.

Author:  lutin [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

joshua wrote:
get to know your farmer. organic or not, it's better to come from a loving home. you'll be so much better off.


word.

Author:  linanil [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

I thought this study already came out previously or I'm wrong. Either way, it is silly. Who thinks organics have more nutrients in the first place?

Author:  supercarrot [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

did they use industrial organic produce or small farm organic? I'm sure there'd be a difference in it then.

Author:  lobsteriffic [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

I'm not so worried about organic produce being more nutritious, I buy some things organic for what they DON'T have (i.e., pesticides, etc.).

Author:  GuiltyofBeingSprite [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

Yea, isn't this obvious. GM food can actually be a lot more nutritious, but that isn't the point of the organic food "movement".

Author:  Vantine [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

NPR covered this as well. I do think that there is a touch of magical thinking in many organic food proponents.

Author:  Tofulish [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

I think its so misleading to say that food is "no healthier" because it doesn't contain more nutrients. I don't think its unfair to say that food with fewer pesticides is healthier.

Quote:
Organic produce, as expected, was much less likely to retain traces of pesticides.“Those are the big motivators for the organic consumer,” said Christine Bushway, the executive director of the trade association.

Over all, the Stanford researchers concluded that 38 percent of conventional produce tested in the studies contained detectable residues, compared with 7 percent for the organic produce. (Even produce grown organically can be tainted by pesticides wafting over from a neighboring field or during processing and transport.) They also noted a couple of studies that showed that children who ate organic produce had fewer pesticide traces in their urine.

The argument that organic produce is more nutritious “has never been major driver” in why people choose to pay more, said Ms. Lunder, the Environmental Working Group analyst.

Rather, the motivation is to reduce exposure to pesticides, especially for pregnant women and their young children. Organic food advocates point to, for example, three studies published last year, by scientists at Columbia University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. The studies identified pregnant women exposed to higher amounts of pesticides known as organophosphates and then followed their children for years. In elementary school, those children had, on average, I.Q.’s several points lower than those of their peers.


We buy organic veg for the "Dirty Dozen" veg (kale, blueberries, strawberries, celery) but don't for the "Clean Fifteen" in part because Leela is so small and still growing, so we would rather limit her pesticide exposure (she gets enough toxins just living in NJ!).

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/?tag=2012Fo ... 4AodCT4AhQ

Author:  paprikapapaya [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

lutin wrote:
joshua wrote:
get to know your farmer. organic or not, it's better to come from a loving home. you'll be so much better off.


word.


double word.

Nothing like fresh tomaters from a farm that is in my community, handed to me across the table at the farmar from the folks who grew it.
I don't seek out organic because that's a label that a lot of farmer's have a hard time paying for, and I'd rather support them than not.

Author:  littlebear [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

I agree with tofulish on this one. I don't think conventionally grown food has less nutrients, but I am concerned about my and my family's pesticide exposure. I also worked very closely with farmers for many years and I am concerned about their exposure to pesticides. I support both conventional and organic farmers at my farmers markets but I definitely prefer the smaller farms to the larger scale ones. This is a personal preference.

Author:  unethical_vegan [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

Organic food is not pesticide free:

How Toxic Are Organics?
http://www.nasw.org/users/mslong/2010/2010_06/Pesticides.htm

Organic pesticides are not only toxic but they are under little regulatory or scientific scrutiny.

Author:  Tofulish [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

unethical_vegan wrote:
Organic food is not pesticide free:

How Toxic Are Organics?
http://www.nasw.org/users/mslong/2010/2010_06/Pesticides.htm

Organic pesticides are not only toxic but they are under little regulatory or scientific scrutiny.


No one said that organic food is pesticide free, just that you have lower levels of pesticides present (38% versus 7% if you see the quoted portion of the article I pasted above).

Author:  littlebear [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

unethical_vegan wrote:
Organic pesticides are not only toxic but they are under little regulatory or scientific scrutiny.

do you have references for this? I know that it is quite a process to get organic certification and then to maintain it so I find it hard to believe that organic pesticides could be that damaging if they meet organic standards.

Author:  crowderpea [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

I tend to buy organic and/or local whenever I can. I do think that fewer pesticides = healthier. I also think that the local stuff, whether organic or transitioning, tastes better than stuff shipped for thousands of miles.

I was not aware that the "organic = more nutrients" argument was the main one for most people. I always thought it was 1.) pesticide-related; 2.) perceived taste; and a distant 3.) potential nutrient content. This is just from what I've seen & heard for the years I have been aware of the organic food movement. The most I've heard the "organic has more nutrients" argument has been in mainstream media, usually involving a scientific study that has been dubiously extrapolated.

Author:  acr [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

i used to be surprised when studies like this came out and made a big splash (or that they were even being conducted), because it seemed so odd to me that anyone would ever have thought that in the first place. now i think that dr. oz and his ilk are steadily pushing the public toward killing what it loves. i choose organic over non-organic when i can, but i've never done it because i thought it was healthier for me in a direct vegetable-to-mouth way. i do it because i think it's good for the ground and the water and things that they come into contact with (i.e., pretty much everything). i don't kid myself about it being a true or sufficient solution to our food and pollution problems--it can never be that--but it's a small thing that i think can be a move in a good direction, and i'm lucky enough to have the option. but i do worry that since "organic" became a buzzword, the significance of the label has been watered down significantly. lots of smaller organic producers have been gobbled up by megacorps like general mills, monsanto, etc., which makes it hard to really support the thing i care about. i also think the industrialization of organic farming was the beginning of the end of its environmental friendliness. before "organic" was the new black, there was no wide-scale use of organic fertilizers. businesses cashed in on public interest, and misconceptions about what organic food was good for (like that it's packed with superfood megavitamins, i guess) made it easy for those businesses to get away with it. buying directly from farmers you know is the ideal, but not everyone has that kind of access.

Author:  supercarrot [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

seriously. it'd be really easy to pick and choose the participants in the study to get a result that you wanted.

on the organic side, you can get the industrialized organic growers that follow the rules and use just enough to stay under the limits, and on the conventional side, you could have chosen a grower that couldn't afford the certification, but still avoids pesticides. (or perhaps they chose a transitional farm. not organic, but way more ecologically friendly than conventional.)

p.s. organic food doesn't "require" any animal products. surely you've heard of veganics.

and even if you weren't growing veganically, the poo is there. what are we going to do with it if not enrich fields? that's kind-of the whole basis of the food cycle. plants love poop. handled and "processed" correctly, poop is no more dangerous than petroleum based fertilizers. at least poop improves the soil instead of damaging it. what is the other option? put it in 50 gallon drums and bury them? preposterous!

Author:  Vantine [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

Here's the information from the NYT article
Quote:
In the study — known as a meta-analysis, in which previous findings are aggregated but no new laboratory work is conducted — researchers combined data from 237 studies, examining a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and meats. For four years, they performed statistical analyses looking for signs of health benefits from adding organic foods to the diet.


BUT as NPR points out
Quote:
Of course, people may have other reasons for buying organic food. It's a different style of agriculture. Organic farmers often control pests by growing a greater variety of crops. They increase the fertility of their fields through nitrogen-fixing plants, or by adding compost instead of applying synthetic fertilizer.

That can bring environmental benefits, such as more diverse insect life in the field or less fertilizer runoff into neighboring streams. But such methods also cost money. That's part of what you are buying when you buy organic.

Author:  vegimator [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

Boingboing had a good take on this-
http://feeds.boingboing.net/~r/boingboi ... e-new.html

Author:  acr [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

vegimator wrote:


"homeopathic tincture of news." love.

Author:  LazySmurf [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

acr wrote:
. i do it because i think it's good for the ground and the water and things that they come into contact with (i.e., pretty much everything).


Yeah, I thought this was the main point of organic food, to not pollute the water and the soil.

I hate headlines like these, it really just confuses the whole point.

Author:  unethical_vegan [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

littlebear wrote:
do you have references for this?


please see the links i posted above.

a very sad example:

the pesticide and piscicide (toxic to fish) rotenone was widely used in organic farming and has been linked to human neurodengenerative disorders in farm workers.
http://www.nature.com/neuro/press_release/nn1200.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21269927

there are many similar stories emerging. for example, piperonyl butoxide is widely used in pyrethrin formulations and has been linked to mental retardation. (pyrethrins and permethrins are themselves questionable compounds.)

its a biased site but pan has a large summary of botanical pesticides here:

http://www.pesticideinfo.org/List_Chemi ... dEPA_Reg=y

Author:  chiveggie [ Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

I think the term "healthier" is misleading. Yes organics are no more nutritious. But to me, those words are not synonymous. I'd saw having that much less pesticides is indeed healthier for my body.

I seem to remember a study a year or two ago where market researchers found people thought foods labelled organic were more nutritious. I think they also found people found foods labelled as organic tasted better and were worth paying more for, even when the foods used in the tests weren't actually organic, just labelled as such. Will try to find a link. Glad that people aren't being misleaded about organics being wonder foods, but at the same time, the eye catching headlines seemed to miss the whole point of why people buy organic. Non gmo being the biggest factor for me personally.

Author:  Anek [ Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: organic food no healthier than non-organic food

LazySmurf wrote:
acr wrote:
. i do it because i think it's good for the ground and the water and things that they come into contact with (i.e., pretty much everything).


Yeah, I thought this was the main point of organic food, to not pollute the water and the soil.

I hate headlines like these, it really just confuses the whole point.


Exactly this. It's not perfect overall, but it's better than the alternative.

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