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If you paid more ofr organic food, you where had..

So says a NYP quoting a peer reviewed academic study.

Researchers at Stanford University’s Center for Health Policy analyzed 237 studies in the scientific literature for evidence that organic foods are safer or healthier. They found that fruits and vegetables that met the criteria for “organic” are on average neither more nutritious than their far cheaper conventional counterparts nor less likely to be contaminated by pathogenic bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella.

Many folks buy organic to avoid exposure to harmful levels of pesticides. Bad idea: Yes, nonorganic fruits and vegetables had more pesticide residue, but more than 99 percent of the time the levels are below the permissible, very conservative safety limits set by regulators.

Ironically, the designation “organic” is itself a synthetic bureaucratic construct that makes little sense. It prohibits the use of synthetic chemical pesticides — except for a long list of exceptions detailed in the Organic Foods Production Act.

I have always known that paying twice as much for organic food was stupid, but h, it’s your choice if you feel it is a good deal. If you still want to keep at it, be my guest. Unlike the vultures that want to ban the food I don’t mind eating for whatever reason, I am not going to stop anyone that is willing to pay twice as much for the illusion of something better. Enjoy it. Don’t mind my chuckling though.

33 comments

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  1. TxAg94 says:

    They’re not paying for “safer” or “more nutritious” foods. These people are paying for the right (in their mind) to be obnoxious assholes. They’re paying to act like snobs and feel like they are better than the poor schlubs who buy “poor people” foods.

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  2. salinger says:

    Sometimes I buy organic sometimes I don’t. Depends on the item. Organic meat just tastes a hell of a lot better than the factory stuff – I didn’t see any mention of growth hormones or livestock for that matter.. Same for tomatoes, spinach, eggplant – really most foods organically grown or raised taste way better. The article also mistakenly implies that genetically modified plants cannot be designated organic. This is not true. Side note: the guy who started the whole brouhaha over GM plants has recanted.

    The idea that organic is some sort of moonbeam hippie farming is a misnomer. In fact a lot of food designated as organic is grown hydroponically since the fertilizer and other environmental controls are easier to control when one doesn’t have to contend with soil. This makes it possible to reclaim blighted urban areas where condemned buildings have been razed and begin growing food on the sites almost immediately. Most of these crops will be “organic” by default and free from the contaminants in the soil beneath the growing tables (one major contaminant being lead – see Hal’s link in an earlier post).

    As more and more of our food is grown hydroponically – the price of organic will come down simply because there will be more of it around. I’m up on this stuff because my son is a research botanist and designs systems for growing cattle fodder hydroponically.

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  3. pekka says:

    > These people are paying for the right (in their mind) to be obnoxious assholes

    Many people do, no doubt. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re being “had” when buying organic food. I don’t know about the US, but here in Europe, you can’t use monosodium glutamate in organic food products, for example. Animals used for meat will be treated at least a bit more humanely than in conventional mass production. You can’t use artificial flavourings. There’s a couple of other things.

    Of course organic food isn’t healthier per se, and organic chocolate will make you as fat as any other. Of course the certification is a bureaucratic construct. And the bigger the industry gets, the more crooks it attracts, and the more BS comes into play – law of nature. Still, there’s some measurable upsides to organic food production. I’m not much of an organic shopper myself – my budget is just too tight. But I have family in the industry, and from the insight I get from them, I know it’s not a completely dishonest business.

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  4. Hal_10000 says:

    Penn and Teller did a show on this, even showing people often preferred the taste of non-organic.

    I do like less factorized meat myself. And our local dairy, where we get all our eggs milk and ice cream, is awesome. But I’m under no illusion this is necessary healthy; it’s a preference.

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  5. TxAg94 says:

    They lost me when Al Gore said it was the way to go. Anything her touches, so far as I’ve ever seen, is bullshit and a scam. Simple way to look at life but so far it hasn’t hurt me.

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  6. Seattle Outcast says:

    Buying “organic” foods merely means that you failed basic chemistry, yet think the reason for doing so is because you were just “too smart” for the teachers to understand, so you decided to devote yourself to something important, like 8th century French poetry or playing bass (poorly) in a band that nobody listens to. Usually it means you also have a bloated sense of self-worth based on accomplishing nothing at all other than having a couple of self-absorbed children.

    It helps if you also decide that you know more about agriculture than people who have studied it their entire lives, and engage in it for a living, and that your decision “save the planet”, just like riding a bike, owning a Prius, not using plastic grocery bags or effective laundry detergent, and buying overpriced (but shitty tasting) food at Trader Joe’s.

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  7. InsipiD says:

    I love the taste of the organic heirloom tomatoes from a local farm every summer. That said, it’s about the taste, not germs or vitamins.

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  8. hist_ed says:

    Insipid I would guess that the tomatoes taste great because they are locally produced and thus spend less time in a truck and aren’t bred to post harvest hardiness, not because they were fertilized with goat shit instead of nitrogen fertilizer.

    Salinger, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Zqe4ZV9LDs
    I bet everyone of the people in it agrees with this:

    Sometimes I buy organic sometimes I don’t. Depends on the item. Organic meat just tastes a hell of a lot better than the factory stuff – I didn’t see any mention of growth hormones or livestock for that matter.. Same for tomatoes, spinach, eggplant – really most foods organically grown or raised taste way better.

    Factory produced food in general is not going to taste as good as stuff raised on small farms. But here’s a little tip for you-a lot of organic meat is produced in factory style slaughterhouses, organic raised cows are fattened at crowded feedlots, and they almost all wind up hanging upside down and getting their throats cut to bleed out.

    There have been numerous taste tests out there. Consumer Reports did its own and said the only product in which organic food had a better flavor was milk. There were some tests done of chicken produced in the UK a few years back. Tastes tests showed that the overwhelming majority of eater preferred non-organic chicken. Other tests showed that organic chickens had far higher rates (several times) of pathogens.

    Nope, don’t have links. Don’t want to spend the time digging them up.

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  9. Seattle Outcast says:

    I had no idea that meat was produced in a factory – all this time I thought it came from animals that were killed just to provide us with steaks and bacon.

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  10. TxAg94 says:

    To many people, paying way more than something should cost just MAKES it tatse better. Don’t believe me? Explain Starbucks. Most real coffee drinkers throw it out when it tastes burned. Organic is the same. High cost often equals percieved status equals better. Otherwise we’d just have various brands that we knew tasted better but we weren’t sure why. Organic added the marketing to push up the profits.

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  11. salinger says:

    Hey Hist_ed,

    Yeah we buy our meat from local farmers and from herds my kid is feeding. And as for the veggies it is the type of tomato, spinach whatever more than how they are grown; heirlooms are the best and do well hydroponically mainly because they were bred for taste as opposed for traveling on a truck.

    And SO- if you think meat isn’t produced in factories you ought go on a field trip.

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  12. InsipiD says:

    Insipid I would guess that the tomatoes taste great because they are locally produced and thus spend less time in a truck and aren’t bred to post harvest hardiness, not because they were fertilized with goat shit instead of nitrogen fertilizer.

    Exactly my point. I don’t care that they’re organic. I care that they taste good. When organic competes effectively I’ll buy it. I don’t buy it just to buy organic, though I will buy local just to buy local when I can.

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  13. salinger says:

    Buying “organic” foods merely means that you failed basic chemistry…

    I ran you little screed past my son – (a crop scientist graduated from Ohio State) and he said that you were about 85% right (He gave you a strong B) but couldn’t understand why you were such a dick about it. (his words)

    He did say that while organically grown food itself may not necessarily be all that different to factory style production of vegetables on a molecular level – the impact to the soil and disease resistance of the crops is affected. (Then he stated talking about carbon bonding for ten minutes.)

    Like everything, it all depends on the grower and that in his experience organic growers are more concerned about the taste and nutritional value of their produce than the big one gmo fits all outfits. Bottom line – buy local and shop for taste.

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  14. Seattle Outcast says:

    Organic added the marketing to push up the profits.

    There was a lot of snob appeal involved, along with a big helping of flat out ignorance and scare tactics. And you can’t forget the leftist hippie appeal of paying more for inferior products that “save the planet” or some such crap. This is the same line of thinking that drives people to pass idiotic laws concerning plastic grocery bags, low flow toilets, max temp settings on hot water heaters, phosphate free laundry soap, light bulbs, and other things government has zero business being involved in.

    And then there are the economic morons that promote “fair trade” coffee…

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  15. Seattle Outcast says:

    but couldn’t understand why you were such a dick about it. (his words)

    I’ve been dealing with these morons for decades – I decided to stop pretending to give a shit about the feelings of people that have no issue with passing misguided laws based on what gives them a warm fuzzy feelling.

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  16. hist_ed says:

    Ummm, I’ve been absent these parts for a few weeks. Was there some sort of vast disturbance in the force that I missed? I think, just maybe, we all agreed on the substance of something. We really need to get CM to comment, but this may be a first.

    So to sum up: Organic doesn’t mean shit-small farm production stuff=yummy. Is that right?

    And, to wax nostalgic Salinger-growing up my English mom would buy a lamb every once in a while from some former neighbors-they were retired on 80 acres and they kept horses and a small herd of sheep (is its herd??). We’d get a pig from their neighbors occasionally too. I still remember the bacon from that guy’s smokehouse. He wouldn’t slice it, so you could cut it as thick as you wanted. (SO that was a couple of blocks from Pine Lake in Issaquah-all developed now)

    Now, alas, I have no great source. I do think that somehow, Costco lamb is far better than any grocery store’s around here.

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  17. Seattle Outcast says:

    When I lived in Colorado I once raised a couple hogs for slaughter and took them to a local butcher to get the hams and bacon done up right. It was ambrosia, particularly the hams. You just don’t find good ham any longer in supermarkets – most of them are bland tasting POS that have too much water injected into them.

    As for tomatoes, I’ll pay extra to get them from a hothouse where they don’t pick them ripe and deliver them to the stores within 24 hours. They aren’t “organic”, but they have 10X the taste of the stuff picked green in California and trucked in for sale.

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  18. CM says:

    My mother lives on a remote island and we spent some time there over the holidays. Her chickens and eggs both tasted noticably different to what we buy at the supermarket. No idea about nutritional value or ‘safety’.

    Ummm, I’ve been absent these parts for a few weeks. Was there some sort of vast disturbance in the force that I missed? I think, just maybe, we all agreed on the substance of something. We really need to get CM to comment, but this may be a first.

    More often than not I roll eyes at ‘organic’ claims. I’m definitely much more a supporter (although not active in any way) of producing food where the animals are treated as well as is practical. Even then, I’d want to know ‘both sides’ of the equation before forming an opinion on specifics.

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  19. salinger says:

    Now this is something to actually worry about. While GMO isn’t inherently dangerous – shoddy lab practices can have unintended consequences. All it takes is one douche not doing his job.

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  20. stogy says:

    I don’t care so much about the use of the term ‘organic’. But terms like “detoxification”, “Superfood”, “antioxidants” “blood-cleansing”, “anti-aging food”, “97% fat free” or “immune-boosting” really make my blood boil!

    Oh, and my all-time favourite? “Contains Omega 3 fatty acids”

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  21. Section8 says:

    Organic was cool among the left until guess what happened. Marketing and profit, and then little organic became big organic, now it’s not cool. Soon it will be hated. Ethanol is another darling that got shunned after it became big ethanol. Same will happen with solar, or whatever. Because the real priority is the war on profit, saving the world is a distant second.

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  22. Argive says:

    My wife and I get a farm share every two weeks. The vegetables are way better than what I could get in the store (except the potatoes, which taste like . . . well, potatoes). I have no idea if they are more nutritious, but really what I care about is that they taste amazing (the scallions, lettuce and herbs in particular).

    As for tomatoes, I’ll pay extra to get them from a hothouse where they don’t pick them ripe and deliver them to the stores within 24 hours. They aren’t “organic”, but they have 10X the taste of the stuff picked green in California and trucked in for sale.

    I have pretty much stopped buying tomatoes out of season. Where I live, it’s quite difficult to get fresh tomatoes that don’t taste like cardboard except during the summer months.

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  23. salinger says:

    Okay – so why are you anti-science Luddites down voting the GMO link?
    It is a real concern in these crops.
    It does not say GMO is inherently bad – in fact GMO is going a long way to improve the lives of many people around the world.
    It does highlight how shoddy lab practices may be a danger. Are the down voters pro- shoddy lab controls? Or did you not understand the article?

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  24. Fangbeer says:

    I’m in a csa as well.

    http://heinfarm.com/community-supported-agriculture-csa/

    On top of that I keep my own gardens and pressure can / dehydrate my harvest for winter months. My daughter loves pickles, and my wife is a eggplant parm freak so tomatoes and cucumbers are staples.

    I enjoy learning how to harvest and make foods most people go to the store for from scratch. Yogurt, cheese, pasta, bread, ketchup, relish, cider etc. Not because I think society is going to collapse tomorrow, or because I think that corporations are trying to poison us, but because I think it’s important to know how to do these things. It feels good to make something for your family that you put your own sweat into (so to speak) and I think it tastes better for it.

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  25. Fangbeer says:

    The only (legitimate) issue with GMO that I’ve heard are the extents that the labs go to protect their intellectual property. Farmers have been prosecuted for theft because propriety genetic code has been found in their fields, carried there by bees. And certain sterile versions have even ruined heirloom seed stocks.

    If the GMO strains could be contained without intrusion into the crops of farmers that don’t want it, then I have no problem with it.

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  26. salinger says:

    The only (legitimate) issue with GMO that I’ve heard are the extents that the labs go to protect their intellectual property.

    DuPont has hired cops to police fields.

    And – lab contamination is a legitimate concern.

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  27. Fangbeer says:

    And – lab contamination is a legitimate concern.

    Not one that’s specific to GMO. People have been worried about mad scientists since before Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein. People think the flu shot is going to bring on the zombie apocalypse.

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  28. salinger says:

    Not one that’s specific to GMO.

    How do you come to this conclusion?

    Inadvertently introducing a dangerous virus to a food crop in the lab due to shoddy workmanship while engineering a GMO is not specific to GMO?

    It’s not something that would happen through regular crossbreeding hybridization. I am not following your logic.

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  29. Fangbeer says:

    Because concerns about safe lab practices are not isolated to GMO production. It’s not a valid argument against GMO, it’s an argument against shitty lab procedures.

    The legal aspects of GMO, however, do directly impact GMO production. The question, “Is a live organism intellectual property” for example, can screw over different people depending on the answer.

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  30. salinger says:

    It’s not a valid argument against GMO, it’s an argument against shitty lab procedures.

    We’re talking past one another here. My point is: Shitty lab procedures are a legitimate concern to the production of GMOs.

    And then your reply is that it is not specific to GMO’s.

    Why would you even say that?
    Because shitty lab procedures are also dangerous to atom splitting – or shitty lab procedures are dangerous to drug production as well?

    How is this even relevant?

    My original post simply states inadvertent viral introduction is something to actually worry about re: GMOs and links to a documented occurrence of this

    You replied the only legitimate concern is patent stuff. I replied that a virus introduced into the food chain is at least equally as disconcerting as copy rite law and something to be legitimately concerned about.

    What have I missed here?

    You might want to read the link I posted.

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  31. Fangbeer says:

    We’re talking past one another here. My point is: Shitty lab procedures are a legitimate concern PERIOD.

    The production of GMO is ancillary. The effect is association fallacy. You said: “While GMO isn’t inherently dangerous…” GMOs aren’t dangerous, and the production of them aren’t dangerous. It’s shitty lab practices that are dangerous. They are dangerous in the case of GMOs, and medicines, and blood donation, and energy research, and etc…

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  32. Fangbeer says:

    By the way, I didn’t down vote the post. Just so you know.

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  33. salinger says:

    The production of GMO is ancillary. The effect is association fallacy.

    It’s not ancillary when the topic of conversation is GMOs.

    You know – I’m not gonna let it slide that easy. I made a perfectly sane and logical statement. GMOs are not inherently dangerous – but this link here I am providing does show something of concern.

    I made no effect association fallacy – nor did the article linked. It is a fact that shoddy lab practices are one of the real concerns one has to be aware of with GMOs. Certainly shoddy lab practices are a concern in other fields – but that has absolutely no bearing on the subject at hand. Nowhere do I argue against GMO – I am for GMO – I said they are a very good thing – just watch it when you cook ‘em up as evidenced by this news story.

    Sometimes I think you guys can’t stand not taking a dig.

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