Organic food no better than regular food


Walter
#1
Organic food not healthier, study finds

Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:38pm EDT
LONDON (Reuters) - Organic food has no nutritional or health benefits over conventionally produced food, according to a major study published on Wednesday.
Its conclusions were challenged by organic food campaigners.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said consumers paid higher prices for organic food in part because of its perceived health benefits, creating a global organic market worth an estimated $48 billion in 2007.
A systematic review of 162 scientific papers published in the scientific literature over the last 50 years, however, found there was no significant difference.
"A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance," said Alan Dangour, one of the report's authors.
"Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority."
The results of research, which was commissioned by the British government's Food Standards Agency, were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Peter Melchett, policy director of Britain's Soil Association, which promotes organic farming, said he was disappointed by the conclusions reached by the study's authors.
He criticized the methodology of the study, which he said had led researchers to reject some clear nutritional benefits as "not important."
Melchett also pointed out there was not sufficient research to assess the long-term effects of pesticides on human health.
Sales of organic food have fallen in some markets, including Britain, as recession has led consumers to cut back on purchases.
The Soil Association said in April that growth in sales of organic products in Britain slowed to just 1.7 percent in 2008, well below the average annual growth rate of 26 percent over the last decade, following a plunge in demand at the end of the year.
 
Cliffy
#2
The study doesn't mention that the biggest health benefit from organic food production is the lack of poisons used in the process. Many of our chronic diseases like asthma are caused by pesticides and herbicides and now the threat of GM foods. These considerations are much more important than nutrition. The study is flawed in its narrow focus and that it is sponsored by a government "health" ministry makes it suspect as they are usually shills for big pharma and the chemical industries.
 
karrie
#3
What a ridiculous study. Never once have I been told there was any benefit to organic food other than that of the absence of pesticides and chemicals. It's why I haven't spent the extra money on organics... because they all are in the same air, same rain, etc. Where the two are the same cost or at least reasonably similar I will buy organic. Fewer pesticides is a good thing. I also buy organic cotton where I can, but don't fool myself into thinking it makes better fabric.
 
#juan
#4









About Organic Food: Is It Worth the Cost?

By Brian Cole
Published on August 27, 2008
In the business world, organic food has arrived. What was once a small niche market for foods considered "natural" has turned into a multi-billion-dollar-a-year business. Even the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, now offers organic foods. Nutritionists and other experts, however, are still debating the merits of their purported health benefits. What remains certain is that those who want to eat organic foods can expect to pay a price, and a hefty one at that. While sales of organic foods have skyrocketed from $23 billion to $40 billion in just four years, the price of organic food remains high; indeed, organic foods, on average, cost 50 to 100 percent more than conventionally grown foods. This begs the question: Is going organic worth the price?
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The Organic Movement

The notion of organic farming (and thus organic food) first surfaced in the early 1900s as a direct response to industrial agriculture, which used a slew of new synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. During the first half of the twentieth century, the public's awareness of organic farming was negligible, to say the least. The opponents of the new forms of mechanized agriculture, however, continued to press for what they considered to be more sustainable and healthy farming practices. In the United States, Rodale Press was one such group. In 1942, Rodale Press started Organic Farming magazine. Now, more than 60 years later, Organic Farming is one of the most widely read gardening magazines in the world. How times have changed.
The popularity of organic food continued to increase throughout the 1970s and 80s. With consumers paying a premium for organically grown food, and no real way to verify the validity of claims involving organic farming practices, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) stepped in. Today the USDA National Organic Program sets organic food standards and oversees the mandatory certification of foods labeled "organic."
What Makes Food "Organic"?

Organic food, according to the USDA, is food that is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality.
Organic produce is grown without most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, or sewage sludge, which is exactly what it sounds like. Instead, organic farming involves enhancing the soil through natural means, including crop rotation, the application of compost, and mulching. Pest, weeds, crop disease, and other common thorns in the side of the farming industry are controlled through natural means, as well, including the introduction of beneficial species, exceedingly careful crop selection and rotation practices, and trapping. Weeds may also be removed by hand. Generally speaking, organic food is developed through agricultural practices that aim to utilize the resources nature provides, instead of conquering nature through man-made means.
In many cases, the production and consumption of organic food simply means accepting a certain amount of crop damage. Think Joni Mitchell singing, "Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees."
Meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products that are certified organic come from animals given no antibiotics or growth hormones. In most counties, genetic engineering also cannot be used for food to be considered organic.
When you see an organic seal on a product at your local grocery store, that product has been grown, harvested, and/or processed using organic means as defined by the USDA. The USDA also sets restrictions on the amount of pesticide residue and other foreign matter, such as hormones or antibiotics, that can be present on or in a certified organic product. A minimum of 95 percent organic ingredients must be present if a product is to carry the USDA "organic" seal, and a separate "100% organic" seal indicates that no synthetic ingredients have been used. "Made with organic ingredients" means a minimum of 70 percent organic ingredients where used.
Why Do People Eat Organic Food?

Many people choose to pay the extra premium for organic food because they believe it affords important health benefits, is more environmentally friendly, and allows farm workers to have safer work environments. A growing number of parents are also providing their children with an organic diet due to increased concerns about pesticide residues found more often on conventionally grown foods. Because children's immune systems are not fully developed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes that children are at greater risk when exposed to pesticides. Although some organic foods do contains pesticide residue, the percentage of residue occurrences and the amount of pesticide present are smaller in organic foods than in non-organic foods. A 2003 study by the University of Washington, Seattle showed that children who eat organic food consume a decreased amount of pesticides.
It should be noted that the USDA certifies foods as being organic, but makes no claims that organic food is safer or healthier than other foods. The results of research concerning the health effects of organic food are mixed. A 2007 study of organic food health benefits, the largest study of its kind, suggests that some organic foods are, indeed, healthier that their non-organic equivalents. The four-year European Union study carried out by the Quality Low Input Food (QLIF) project was released in 2007 and found that those who eat organic food are consuming additional nutrients equivalent to an extra portion of fruits and vegetables each day. The study also concluded that organic fruits and vegetables contain as much as 40 percent more antioxidants, which are believed to cut the risk of heart disease and cancer.
This research is not without its detractors, however. Another 2007 study was carried out by Dr. Susanne Bugel and a team at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Human Nutrition. They researched common fruits and vegetables and found them to contain no additional nutritional value when grown using organic methods. Citing their findings, and the increased cost consumers pay for these products, the researchers called the purchase of organic foods a "lifestyle choice," and not a health necessity.
Despite all the uncertainly regarding the benefits of organic food, many organic devotees tout what they consider to be a common sense benefit: Pesticides contain poison and, given the opportunity to consume less poison through organic foods, why would you not take it? According to a recent poll by GfK Roper Consulting, the overwhelming answer to that question is cost.
Is Organic Food Worth the Extra Expense?

Now that organic food has gone from the farmersí market to American's mainstream consciousness, consumers seem more and more willing to absorb the increased prices associated with organic products. The GfK Roper poll showed 64 percent of respondents had purchased organic foods or beverages during their lives. These people, not surprisingly, responded more positively to questions about the benefits of organic foods than those who had not purchased organic products. Even so, the survey found that the single biggest factor preventing consumers from purchasing organic food was cost.
The non-profit Environmental Working Group, based in Washington D.C., recommends getting the biggest bang for your organic buck by concentrating on those foods that otherwise are most affected by pesticide residue:
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Imported Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
The Environmental Working Group has dubbed these items the "dirty dozen," and if you're going to convert some of your diet to organic foods, you should probably concentrate on these items first. If the availability of organic foods continues to increase and more major food chains carry organic products, prices will likely fall in the future.
 
#juan
#5
My wife is a nutritionist and she says that most organic foods are not worth the price. she also says that most of the residual pesticides can be washed off. The following link is to a bit more information.

Pesticides in Food
 
taxslave
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

My wife is a nutritionist and she says that most organic foods are not worth the price. she also says that most of the residual pesticides can be washed off. The following link is to a bit more information.

Pesticides in Food

That is partly true. But to be organic they cannot be GMO which is even more important than the poisons . I prefer that my veggies do not get contaminated by pesticides simply because I eat almost all of it raw. Their study is seriously flawed anyway. Looks like the same doctor that said smoking is good for you wrote it.
 
eh1eh
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

My wife is a nutritionist and she says that most organic foods are not worth the price. she also says that most of the residual pesticides can be washed off. The following link is to a bit more information.

Pesticides in Food


Yes they can be washed off but the still are in the environment. I believe that is the only benefit to organic. The pesticides don't get into the environment in the first place.
 
karrie
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by eh1eh View Post

Yes they can be washed off but the still are in the environment. I believe that is the only benefit to organic. The pesticides don't get into the environment in the first place.

precisely. Because pesticides don't rinse out of our drinking water. They're really hard to scrub out of lungs. And the build up in our fish and other meat sources is almost impossible to get rid of.

That's why I brought up organic cotton.... food isn't the only crop we're spraying. One stat I heard said that cotton comprises 30% of the world crops, but 70% of the pesticide consumption. That's a huge chemical burden.

The nasty truth is that any chemical manufactured WILL be consumed by us eventually, in one way shape or form, regardless of our good intentions in keeping ourselves and our planet healthy.
 
SirJosephPorter
#9
Did they really need a study to find that out? I would have thought it was obvious, that organic food does not have any additional nutritional benefits. An apple is an apple, whether organic or non organic.

People may prefer organic food (I myself don’t) for other reasons, but nutrition isn’t one of them. I thought it was commonly accepted knowledge that there is no nutritional difference between the two, but I guess not.
 
VanIsle
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorter View Post

Did they really need a study to find that out? I would have thought it was obvious, that organic food does not have any additional nutritional benefits. An apple is an apple, whether organic or non organic.

People may prefer organic food (I myself donít) for other reasons, but nutrition isnít one of them. I thought it was commonly accepted knowledge that there is no nutritional difference between the two, but I guess not.

I don't think anyone is searching for nutritional value in organic versus non-organic anyway. I think the only thought is to attempt to eat less "poison". I question why people spend extra money on things like organic watermelon, cantaloupe, avocados and any other thing that has a thick skin you peel and throw in the trash. My brother has run his orchard for well over 35 years. He has driven his tractor up and down the rows of trees applying all these things to the fruit. His health could be better but really - for someone who directly breathed in all those chemicals for all those years, he's probably no worse off than most people his age, yet, so many people buy so many organic products including canned organic products. It is not classified as truly organic unless it actually states "Certified Organic".
 
SirJosephPorter
#11
VanIsle, I personally never boutght the organic hype, I buy foodstuff based upon cost. On the rare occasion that the organic stuff is marked down and is cheaper than the non organic stuff, I buy it.

But I can understand people buying organic stuff, fewer preservatives, pesticides, better treatment of animals etc. But if anybody bought organic stuff because it was more nutritious (more vitamins, more complex carbohydrates, proteins etc.), they were only kidding themselves.
 
talloola
#12
'certified organic', and just organic, are two totally different items, and if one
is actually concerned with eating truly organically grown food, you must buy 'certified.'
Certified is grown purely without any foreign matter, or other ingredients.
Yes, certified organically grown food is safe and good for us, over foods that
are injected with 'whatever', although I eat both, don't particularly worry about
it, although I try to buy foods grown and produced as close to home as possible.
Price is important, as organically grown foods are expensive, and I know I am not
able to afford to buy them all the time, just occasionally.
 
AnnaG
#13
There's a difference between the small amount of pesticides that land on organic foods and that deliberately sprayed onto storebought foods. It's called "concentration".
IMO, the best foods are those you've grown in your own yard and without using herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and all the other cides. Chickens keep our garden free of bugs about the surface, our garden had marigolds scattered amongst the vveggies, and plain old lime keeps the underground bugs away for the most part. The sacrifice? Our chickens like celery and lettuce. The gain? Respect for what we eat and a relatively healthy food sans corporate interference.
 
Cliffy
#14
Classic example: tomatoes. I challenge anybody to grow their own tomatoes and eat one, then one from a chain store. You will think they are two different species. One is anemic and the other tastes like food.
 
AnnaG
#15
Would you (anyone) trust a pharmaceutical company whose business it is to sell medication to mess with your food? If you would, that's even more stupid than making your cook angry.
"Let's see if we can engineer some food so that it'll cause glitchitis so people will have to buy our medicine to combat the glitchitis".
 
karrie
#16
I just don't trust humanity in general, to mess with the existing design of the earth.
 
karrie
#17
Take this for example...

"Kernel Send Signal to Wasps: Need help Quick!!
When caterpillars attack corn leaves, corn fights back. First a signal is emitted; then the corn kernels call in a troop of parasitic wasps to surprise attack the caterpillars. Female rescue wasps lay their eggs directly into the enemy caterpillars, and when they hatch, the larvae feast on the caterpillar's insides. As the larvae mature, they crawl out of the caterpillars as wasps and fly away. Mission accomplished.
All right, you buy the part about the wasps, but what is this corn-signaling-for-help nonsense?
According to researchers Ted Turlings, Ph.D., and James Tumlinson, Ph.D., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Gainesville, Florida, corn emits a distress chemical, or turpenoid, when it senses caterpillar saliva. (Call it the "spit factor.") Wasps then pick up the turpenoid's scent and fly over to save the day.
The two researchers are currently trying to figure out why the corn reacts to the caterpillar's saliva. They are also rearing wasps in the laboratory and "teaching" them to read the corn's distress signal. Turlings and Tumlinson have developed a synthetic blend (similar to the turpenoid) that not only attracts wasps, but also poisons caterpillars and acts as an antibiotic against fungus and bacteria.
Turlings and Tulinson hope that one day farmers will sic 'em on cornfields by the swarm. " CORN WAGES CHEMICAL WARFARE





I simply don't trust some dumb scientist to raise 'smart' corn. I foresee moron corn that can't react to caterpillars at all, and won't employ natural methods to fight an infestation. I don't want to eat retarded corn. I like smart corn thanks.
 
Niflmir
#18
I think manure run off in the watershed is just as bad as some other chemicals. Without any form of pesticide, I believe swarming insects would rapidly extinguish any hope of sustainability.
 
petros
#19
What is "regular food"?
 
Cliffy
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

What is "regular food"?

The crap they sell in Safeway or Overweightea. The only way to assure a supply of good food is to grow it yourself or know the one who grows it has a conscience.
 
talloola
#21
organic food is 'regular' food, that is what was grown years and years ago,
by all gardeners.
 
In Between Man
#22
Organic food is certainly better than regular food! And although you would think there isn't a taste difference, I swear that organic milk tastes different. Different in a good way...

I buy organic whenever I have the option. The cost seems minimal for what your getting - or not getting.
Last edited by In Between Man; Mar 10th, 2011 at 03:07 AM..
 
Cliffy
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by alleywayzalwayz View Post

Organic food is certainly better than regular food! And although you would think there isn't a taste difference, I swear that organic milk tastes different. Different in good way...

I buy organic whenever I have the option. The cost seems minimal for what your getting - or not getting.

I would put up organic produce grown here on Spicer's farm against any industrial food grown anywhere. Not only can you taste the difference, you can feel it. Industrial food may break down into the same chemical components but it lacks one essential ingredient - LIFE.
 
JLM
#24
I read somewhere that the benefit of organic food is in the taste but no difference in the nutrition.
 
relic
#25
I'll tell yaz what i don't care much for,putting HUMAN waste on feilds,you get everything that anybody puts doen the toilet spread on the ground,all the drugs too,think about that for a minute.
 
Unforgiven
#26
Supposed to be easier on the environment but people lie all the time so who knows. Nice to be able to jack the prices up so that people feel good. Man now that's salesmanship!
 
JLM
#27
You should definitely not be paying any more for organic foods as they are cheaper to grow.
 
karrie
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by JLM View Post

You should definitely not be paying any more for organic foods as they are cheaper to grow.

No theyre not... the yields aren't as high, spoilage is higher, and lost crops are more likely.
 
JLM
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

No theyre not... the yields aren't as high, spoilage is higher, and lost crops are more likely.

I guess I stand corrected. I was just considering the cost of chemical fertizer.
 
talloola
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by JLM View Post

I guess I stand corrected. I was just considering the cost of chemical fertizer.

it's also supply and demand JLM, there are not as many sources for purchasing organic grown foods,
so it's the same ole same ole, among other reasons, it's not as easy to obtain.

seems ridiculous, as I mentioned earlier, all the years I was growing up until 'all of the chemical
fertilizers came in, organic food was 'all' that we had, with no added anything except compost or
manure, now it seems like a rare substance, wierd, very wierd.

If the majority would grow organically, then it would be the norm again, and with all of the
knowledge we have today, it should now be done with greater success, as to the yield.

With the beautiful fish composts, along with other organic material, organic gardening 'could' be the norm again, (but the other way is 'big' business now, no way they are going to step aside).

At least, thats the way I see it.
 

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