Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

Is "buying organic" worth it?

Yes, I always do.
24
14%
No, never.
32
19%
Sometimes, depending on all the factors
69
41%
I follow publications like Consumer reports
6
4%
"Organic" is neither well defined, nor enforced
36
22%
 
Total votes: 167

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dm200
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Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:38 am

Whe do folks do?

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:42 am

I usually buy organic.

An exception, for example, is grass-raised meat. It can be difficult (or cost-prohibitive) for a farmer to have his land certified organic. In a choice between non-organic grass-raised beef and organic corn-raised beef, I prefer the grass-raised.

kayo
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by kayo » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:44 am

The food that comes in our CSA basket is organic, and we keep the pesticide load in mind when we buy produce at the market.

Also, as TomTom points out, we are not hung up on the distinction between organic and Organic[tm].

cheesepep
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by cheesepep » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:59 am

Nope. Never. Crowd.

Randomize
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by Randomize » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:02 am

Agree with the previous posters: it's a shade of grey rather than a black-and-white distinction :happy

Chicken is one category where I really prefer to spend the extra money and buy "Free Range" when available. Those tiny cages are pretty sick.

SimonJester
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by SimonJester » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:02 am

Its a marketing ploy now (or perhaps always).
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bertilak
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by bertilak » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:09 am

SimonJester wrote:Its a marketing ploy now (or perhaps always).
Agree. My wife does not agree so we have a higher food bill than necessary. I put up with it as not a smart fight to pick! It's not like the food is worse.

Also, Whole Foods has excellent food. Not because it is organic but because store policy is to offer the best quality they can.
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frugaltype
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by frugaltype » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:36 am

I try to buy organic, just as I recycle and look for sustainable products and buy local. Also, Made in the U.S. when I can find it.

Meat is no problem since I'm a vegetarian.

I haven't bought food at Whole Foods since I found out a lot of their house brand food is produced in China.

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by guitarguy » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:38 am

SimonJester wrote:Its a marketing ploy now (or perhaps always).
I agree. Our doctor agrees as well (just found this out by it coming up in conversation...he says he only buys organic milk, and lettuce because it's hard to wash.)

We buy organic baby spinach that I use for salads for lunch 2-3 times a week. I buy organic because it lasts twice as long for whatever reason.

We wash all of our fruit and veggies good before eating.

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Raybo
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by Raybo » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:54 am

I buy organic to avoid organo-phostphate pesticides. I keep this list on my iPhone and refer to it often when I go to the store. I never buy anything on the first list (the "dirty" dozen) that isn't organic:

12 Most Contaminated with Pesticide:
Peaches
Apples
Sweet Bell Peppers
Celery
Nectarines
Strawberries
Cherries
Pears
Grapes (Imported)
Spinach
Lettuce
Potatoes

I will make exceptions only for these:

12 Least Contaminated
Onions
Avocado
Sweet Corn (Frozen)
Pineapples
Mango
Asparagus
Sweet Peas (Frozen)
Kiwi Fruit
Bananas
Cabbage
Broccoli
Papaya

At the local Whole Foods, they don't carry organic Sweet Red Peppers. I love them but don't eat them much anymore due to my refusal to eat conventional Red Peppers. Trader Joe's carries organic ones and when I go there, I get to eat Red Peppers for a couple days!
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tadamsmar
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:25 pm

I don't think there is any convincing evidence that organic food is healthier for the consumer.

Veggies contain natural pesticides. Garden peas, for instance, were bred (long ago by conventional means) to have levels of natural pesticides so high that they are close to level of human toxicity. Occasionally, a poisonous strain is put on the market.

Curcubits (squashes, melons, gourds) contain a natural pesticide called curcubitacin. Due to mutation, interbreeding with wild curcubits, or growing conditions, the level of curcubitacin can be very high and quite toxic to humans. The poisonings are usually mild because curcubitacin is bitter so the affected foods are bitter, but you need be aware that ignoring the bitterness or covering up the bitterness with salt can lead to more serious poisonings:

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/1358598/r ... ou-doctors

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by YttriumNitrate » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:45 pm

I used to be more in favor of organic foods until I started up a small orchard and looked into the regulations for becoming certified organic. For example, the use of copper sulfate, tetracycline, and streptomycin are A-Okay for organic, but tobacco dust is not. §205.601 and §205.602 for anyone interested.

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c= ... ain_02.tpl

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sperry8
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by sperry8 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:48 pm

SimonJester wrote:Its a marketing ploy now (or perhaps always).
Disagree. The marketing ploy is that organic is not better and is too expensive. Think who has big bucks, the conventional companies. Organic is only a small slice of the pie and most large growers and companies barely participate. They are the ones with lobbyists and deep pockets who have money and want to protect their core business (that of the pesticide variety).

Further, common sense dictates that a vegetable sprayed with a poison that is deadly will not be as healthy or as nutrient dense as one that was not. These pesticides are very deadly and the companies that created them have shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted. Do a brief internet search on Monsanto's history for example and you'll be pretty shocked.
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by bungalow10 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:55 pm

We buy organic about 50/50 on produce. We buy grass-fed beef, pastured pork, organic chicken, and get eggs from our own chickens. I think it is worth it, generally the food is much higher quality (better taste and appearance) than non-organic. I won't drink non-organic milk because of the growth hormones and antibiotics.

I try to eat as local and organic as possible (local as in my own yard when I can), but sacrifice for convenience as well.
Last edited by bungalow10 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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core5
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by core5 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:57 pm

tadamsmar wrote:Veggies contain natural pesticides. Garden peas, for instance, were bred (long ago by conventional means) to have levels of natural pesticides so high that they are close to level of human toxicity. Occasionally, a poisonous strain is put on the market.s
Shame on my mom for trying to make me eat peas!

If organic items were cheaper I would buy them. If they don't use pesticides which cost extra money, why do "organic" items cost more?

I've also seen organic meat advertised with "no antibiotics used", and thought "why would I want that?"

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tuckeverlasting
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by tuckeverlasting » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:59 pm

sperry8 wrote: Organic is only a small slice of the pie and most large growers and companies barely participate.
Alas, that this were so! As I understand it, the large corporate growers have largely taken over "organic" and it is they who have corrupted it in definition and practice--far watered down from the original.

It is all most discouraging. The best solution is probably growing one's own, but short of that I do buy almost all so-called organic, hoping against hope it is worth the premium. The lesser of evils as it were.

I have found this site useful in evaluating some organics: http://www.cornucopia.org/
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cheese_breath
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:07 pm

Old folks like me need all the preservatives we can get. So much the better if we can get a little formaldehyde with our food. :twisted:
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by bungalow10 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:09 pm

core5 wrote: I've also seen organic meat advertised with "no antibiotics used", and thought "why would I want that?"
I can't tell if you are being facetious. Antibiotic overuse leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which affects everyone. When an animal consumes antibiotics as part of their feed (a good question for consumers is why do these animals need antibiotics in their feed) then those antibiotics get passed to humans via their meat.

Grass-fed and pastured animals tend to need much less (ie none) antibiotics to stay healthy.
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Imperabo
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by Imperabo » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:14 pm

tuckeverlasting wrote:The best solution is probably growing one's own
I tried that. The bugs age it.

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by hsv_climber » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:19 pm

sperry8 wrote: Disagree. The marketing ploy is that organic is not better and is too expensive. Think who has big bucks, the conventional companies. Organic is only a small slice of the pie and most large growers and companies barely participate. They are the ones with lobbyists and deep pockets who have money and want to protect their core business (that of the pesticide variety).
It is not true.
Most "organic" companies are owned by "conventional" companies, e.g. Horizon, Silk, etc. are owned by "Dean Foods", etc.

Here is a full list:
http://www.cornucopia.org/wp-content/up ... ic2013.pdf

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:21 pm

brianbooth wrote:Agree with the previous posters: it's a shade of grey rather than a black-and-white distinction :happy

Chicken is one category where I really prefer to spend the extra money and buy "Free Range" when available. Those tiny cages are pretty sick.
Most meat chickens are raised in large barns and are very crowded but not kept in cages. The breed used for meat is not very active at all and can hardly walk by the time they get to butchering age so I'm not sure that their short 8-10 week lives would benefit much from being truly free range. Laying hens on the other hand are packed in very small cages and treated much worse IMO.

Be careful with the term "free range" or "cage free" as those terms aren't regulated and can mean very little especially when companies realize they can charge a premium for them.

wingnutty
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by wingnutty » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:22 pm

I work with organic and non-organic agricultural operations every day, I see a lot and have a lot of 1st hand experience.

I think that for some crops, as Raybo mentioned, it is worth it.

Is it a marketing ploy? Well, that is up to opinion. In some cases, yes, in others, no.

It all boils down to how good the operator is. There are good organic operators and bad, there are good conventional operators and bad. Unfortunately, the consumer has no idea who the operator was. It is my opinion based on experience, that there are a lot of conventional operations out there that are every bit as healhy and safe as the best organic operations. And, I think as a whole our food is extremely safe. In fact, as a reflection through history, the safeness of our food is so high now, that eating organic or is really a matter of splitting hairs in most instances when compared to the food produced 50 years ago, i.e. eating organic is like trying to squeeze the last bit of water from a turnip, our food is 99.9% safe already, eating organic might make it 99.95% safe.

The other factor worth considering is environmental footprint of the produced crop. It is true that often organic has a larger environmental footprint (not always). Typically, for most crops, acres required to produce the same quanitities organically are higher (sometimes lots higher) than the acres required to produce the same crop conventionally. But, sometimes (not always) the chemicals used conventionally are harmful as well. So one shouldn't ignore the true environmental aspect if one of their goals is to "be green". Sometimes eating organic is actually worse for the environment.

I think eating grass finished beef or other meat product (esp from a local farmer/rancher) is absolutely the best course of action for both health and environmental sustainability. I would focus on grass finished or pastured (free range), over organic meat products and buy local or know the operation if you can. Also, buying locally and cutting out the middle men (the middle men make most the profit) is better for your local agricultural producers, so that is certainly a big plus in my book...keep that money local if you can.

I don't typically buy organic, but Raybo's list is good. I would also add milk, and most meat products (again, not organic meat per se, but free-range and/or grass finished/local).

To each his own though. I know folks who are crazy about organic and I don't fault them for it, everyone has their reasons and ultimately, if you buy organic, you are paying a higher premium and hopefully the grower is financially benefiting from that in the end.

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by SPG8 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:26 pm

I love food talk, everybody knows everything.

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tadamsmar
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:27 pm

cheese_breath wrote:Old folks like me need all the preservatives we can get. So much the better if we can get a little formaldehyde with our food. :twisted:
Actually, there was an amazing large drop in stomach cancer in the 20th Century. It sort of mirrored the rise in lung cancer and tended to keep overall cancer rates constant. Nobody knows for sure why this drop happened, but best theory is that it was caused (in part and indirectly) by preservatives. Preservatives (along with refrigeration) greatly reduced the amount of salting and pickling of foods.

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tuckeverlasting
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by tuckeverlasting » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:34 pm

wingnutty wrote: I think eating grass finished beef or other meat product (esp from a local farmer/rancher) is absolutely the best course of action for both health and environmental sustainability. I would focus on grass finished or pastured (free range), over organic meat products and buy local or know the operation if you can. Also, buying locally and cutting out the middle men (the middle men make most the profit) is better for your local agricultural producers, so that is certainly a big plus in my book...keep that money local if you can.

I don't typically buy organic, but Raybo's list is good. I would also add milk, and most meat products (again, not organic meat per se, but free-range and/or grass finished/local).
Indeed. I never, ever buy animal products from the conventional factory farm system.
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by hsv_climber » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:36 pm

wingnutty wrote:I work with organic and non-organic agricultural operations every day, I see a lot and have a lot of 1st hand experience.
Would you trust "organic" label on "Made in Mexico" or "Made in Chile" apples / grapes / etc.?

Personally, I usually laugh at them and buy "Made in USA" conventional or from a local farmer (in season).
But most (all?) apples that are in the stores right now and marked "organic" are produced in Chile and it is hard to believe their standards.

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dm200
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:54 pm

core5 wrote:
tadamsmar wrote:Veggies contain natural pesticides. Garden peas, for instance, were bred (long ago by conventional means) to have levels of natural pesticides so high that they are close to level of human toxicity. Occasionally, a poisonous strain is put on the market.s
Shame on my mom for trying to make me eat peas!

If organic items were cheaper I would buy them. If they don't use pesticides which cost extra money, why do "organic" items cost more?

I've also seen organic meat advertised with "no antibiotics used", and thought "why would I want that?"
I think this part is easy. While there are costs to use pesticides, that cost is, on balance, more than offset by higher productivity (the bugs don't eat the fruits and vegetables) and higher "apparent" quality (produce without bug bites and marks looks nicer).

For many decades, animals used for meat (chicken, beef, etc.) have regularly fed antibiotics in order to increase the quantity of "edible" meat produced. The issue is how both the widespread use of such antibiotics affects these animals, and (perhaps more importantly) how our consumption of the meat from these animals affects us (both individually and the overall effects on the "bugs" antibiotics can kill.

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Steelersfan
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by Steelersfan » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:58 pm

My focus is on eating as many fruits and veggies as I can and I'm less successful than I want to be.

That, to me, is 80% - 90% of the way to good health.

Going the last 10% - 20% buying organic isn't cost effective.

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Joe S.
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by Joe S. » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:12 pm

sperry8 wrote:
SimonJester wrote: Its a marketing ploy now (or perhaps always).
Disagree. The marketing ploy is that organic is not better and is too expensive. Think who has big bucks, the conventional companies. Organic is only a small slice of the pie and most large growers and companies barely participate. They are the ones with lobbyists and deep pockets who have money and want to protect their core business (that of the pesticide variety).
I certainly can find plenty of websites that push the idea that organic is good, and they are mostly financed by organic companies. I doubt you can find many websites that are owned by conventional food companies that push the idea that organic is bad. Since organic is a niche market, it doesn't make financial sense to attack something that is only a small amount of your competition. Also many conventional companies have a small organic branch, and it does not make sense to attack your own product.
SimonJester wrote: Further, common sense dictates that a vegetable sprayed with a poison that is deadly will not be as healthy or as nutrient dense as one that was not.
Common sense (mixed with a little biological knowledge) says that when a poison attacks a protein found in insects but not in plants, the poison probably has no effect on the plant and will not cause the plant to be less healthy or nutrient dense. The plant should be more healthy as there are no insects eating it. Insecticides attack insect proteins not found in plants.
SimonJester wrote: These pesticides are very deadly
This is a frequent misconception of the lay public. Insecticides seem scary because they kill animals. But all pesticides are tested and found not to be deadly to mammals like us.

The idea of "organic" food was not produced by any scientific committee. It was created by popular fads. People are scared of things they don't understand like insecticides, herbicides, radiation and genetically modified plants. These fads coalesced into "organic" food.

If you want to eat healthy. you should follow the guidelines of medical authorities like the American Cancer Society or the Harvard School of Public Health. They recommend a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, with a low amount of saturated and trans fat. There is no advice to eat organic.

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionso ... d-you-eat/
http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/do ... 77-pdf.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthy_diet

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by bungalow10 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:14 pm

Joe S. wrote: This is a frequent misconception of the lay public. Insecticides seem scary because they kill animals. But all pesticides are tested and found not to be deadly to mammals like us.
Yes, because something doesn't make you drop dead must mean it isn't bad for you....
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by blu9535 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:29 pm

SPG8 wrote:I love food talk, everybody knows everything.
I've found that it is very difficult to get any kind of reliable source of information on food matters.

Take a product like milk, for example. I can go online and probably find 20 different "scientific surveys" that show it's bad for you, and 20 more that show it's good for you. The Dairy Farmers of America no doubt fund scientific studies that are aimed toward proving milk is healthy, and there are other commerical entities that probably fund studies aimed toward proving it is unhealthy.

Even the USDA, which in theory is supposed to be where U.S. citizens turn to for accurate health information, has largely been co-opted by various industry giants. If it turns out that red meat consumption is linked to cancer, for example, there's going to be a whole lot of misdirection and lobbying of the USDA to prevent this fact from gaining popular acceptance.

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by SimonJester » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:05 pm

I think people should be more concerned with how far their food traveled to get to them vs how it was grown.

I would much rather grow,raise, and hunt my own food but given the climate I live in this is difficult.


Given the size of the population this country has grown to is it even possible to feed us all without industrial farming practices?
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:18 pm

I agree that it can be difficult to separate industry propaganda, political agenda and scientific-based fact on the whole issue of food, diet, etc. Our own Department of Agriculture has the often conflicting dual roles of promoting US agriculture and issuing health guidance regarding diet. From my reading, there seems to be some convergence of advice and information that I have concluded is reasonable. The things that I find credible (and reasonably consistent) are: Publications related to the Harvard School of Public Health, Consumer reports (especially Consumer Reports on Health), the book "Thinner this year", the book "The Okinawa Program", and information from my health Plan (Kaiser).

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by bertilak » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:19 pm

SimonJester wrote:Given the size of the population this country has grown to is it even possible to feed us all without industrial farming practices?
Decidedly not.

To borrow a concept, it is not sustainable.

Luckily, nearly all of our population can afford the luxury of being picky about our food. I see food stamps being used at Whole Foods as well as at the big-chain supermarkets. But also luckily, relatively few of us are that picky. Otherwise only the very wealthy could afford it.
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:22 pm

Joe S. wrote: This is a frequent misconception of the lay public. Insecticides seem scary because they kill animals. But all pesticides are tested and found not to be deadly to mammals like us.
The term "pesticides" can refer to things that can kill animals and humans, like the naturally occurring pesticide cucurbitacin. Cucurbitacin and nicotine are sold as pesticides and are toxic to humans and deadly at high doses.
Last edited by tadamsmar on Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

campy2010
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by campy2010 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:31 pm

I buy local produce and meats/chicken but don't require that it is organic. Local produce tastes better. Growing up, I swam in the irrigation canals/lakes full of pesticides and fertilizer run-off and played in backyards right next to crops that were crop-dusted. So anything I do now is probably a waste of effort given my previous exposure.
Last edited by campy2010 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by gkaplan » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:35 pm

Let's start a gluten-free thread.
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by core5 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:38 pm

bungalow10 wrote:
core5 wrote: I've also seen organic meat advertised with "no antibiotics used", and thought "why would I want that?"
I can't tell if you are being facetious. Antibiotic overuse leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which affects everyone. When an animal consumes antibiotics as part of their feed (a good question for consumers is why do these animals need antibiotics in their feed) then those antibiotics get passed to humans via their meat.

Grass-fed and pastured animals tend to need much less (ie none) antibiotics to stay healthy.
That's a valid theory, but there's surely more to it. If a large livestock producer is administering antibiotics, they're going to use it as sparingly as possible because that's an added cost. They'll calculate the minimal amount they can get away with to produce the best total yield per dollar. So I don't imagine producers and giving large doses every day or every week to individual animals.

Also, if you did find a resistance strain in your herd, you would want to stamp it out as fast as possible. There's several antibiotics available, so they'd likely switch to another to quell an outbreak and administer it to the whole herd to keep it from spreading.

Now, I'm not saying antibiotic use doesn't cause gradual resistance, but I doubt eating meat with trace amounts would cause an appreciable increase in a person's "bacterial antibiotic resistance". Show me a study result that definitely demonstrates otherwise, and I'll start buying the expensive stuff.

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by bungalow10 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:52 pm

tadamsmar wrote:
bungalow10 wrote: This is a frequent misconception of the lay public. Insecticides seem scary because they kill animals. But all pesticides are tested and found not to be deadly to mammals like us.
The term "pesticides" can refer to things that can kill animals and humans, like the naturally occurring pesticide cucurbitacin. Cucurbitacin and nicotine are sold as pesticides and are toxic to humans and deadly at high doses.
I did not write that.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

bungalow10
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by bungalow10 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:59 pm

core5 wrote: That's a valid theory, but there's surely more to it. If a large livestock producer is administering antibiotics, they're going to use it as sparingly as possible because that's an added cost. They'll calculate the minimal amount they can get away with to produce the best total yield per dollar. So I don't imagine producers and giving large doses every day or every week to individual animals.
Are you basing this on anything? Antibiotics are routinely added to cattle feed and are very cheap.

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=liv ... CDAQgQMwAA
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

Random Poster
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by Random Poster » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:11 pm

blu9535 wrote:
SPG8 wrote:I love food talk, everybody knows everything.
I've found that it is very difficult to get any kind of reliable source of information on food matters.

Take a product like milk, for example. I can go online and probably find 20 different "scientific surveys" that show it's bad for you, and 20 more that show it's good for you. The Dairy Farmers of America no doubt fund scientific studies that are aimed toward proving milk is healthy, and there are other commerical entities that probably fund studies aimed toward proving it is unhealthy.

Even the USDA, which in theory is supposed to be where U.S. citizens turn to for accurate health information, has largely been co-opted by various industry giants. If it turns out that red meat consumption is linked to cancer, for example, there's going to be a whole lot of misdirection and lobbying of the USDA to prevent this fact from gaining popular acceptance.
You may find this book to be interesting:

http://www.amazon.com/Food-Politics-Inf ... 0520254031

I've not read through it all, and I admit that it is very dry reading (Nestle is no Michael Pollan) and I'm often wondering if I'm reading a book or a Ph.D. thesis, but nevertheless, it might be worth some of your time.

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Cautious Optimist
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by Cautious Optimist » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:16 pm

Raybo wrote:12 Least Contaminated
Onions
Avocado
Sweet Corn (Frozen)
Pineapples
Mango
Asparagus
Sweet Peas (Frozen)
Kiwi Fruit
Bananas
Cabbage
Broccoli
Papaya
I'm quite surprised to see asparagus and broccoli considered among the least contaminated - no outer protective peel if you will - and seemingly more direct chemical absorption.

I buy organic berries only, and generally any produce w/o a peel...Why would I assume that eating chemicals over time can't/won't have some kind of negative consequence..??

snyder66
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by snyder66 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:40 pm

Just remember. This is more than just an issue for the consumer who eats the food. Think about the workers who are exposed to the pesticides, as the spray the product.

kirent
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by kirent » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:29 pm

I like to buy grass-fed beef and pastured and organic fatty meats but for leaner cuts and vegetables I generally don't care that much.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial or legal expert and all information I provide is given for entertainment purposes only, at your own risk and with no guarantees of accuracy.

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entyrii
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by entyrii » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:45 pm

IMO "organic" is a feel-good marketing tool, nothing more. It is a poorly-defined term with no proven health/nutrition benefits to justify the cost premium over non-organic alternatives.
"The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain." | -Montgomery Scott

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dbc47
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by dbc47 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:58 pm

I have a friend who has a garden every year and brags that his crop is "strictly organic", bla, bla, bla.......
One day when he was bragging about how healthy his stuff was I interrupted him and told him that folks have been eating organic foods since they first started walking the Earth. I got a blank stare back. I then asked him if he knew what happened to them? I then told him that they still died!! Again, blank stare. :wink:

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by wingnutty » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:30 pm

Would you trust "organic" label on "Made in Mexico" or "Made in Chile" apples / grapes / etc.?
No. I would not really trust them. Like I said before, there are good organic producers and there are bad. Organic certainly doesn't always equate to 'better', of that I can guarantee you.

If I were to religiously buy organic, it would be from local producers who I know are conscientious and good land stewards, otherwise, you really don't know what you are buying and it may or may not be a better product. I've been in a lot of large operations where I would feel very safe eating crops right out of the field without washing, I've also been on organic operations where I wouldn't do the same.

There are just so many places where safety-related issues can arise in any operation. For example, consider that organic lettuce you are eating...now imagine that 1 day ago it was sprinkler-irrigated out of an open delivery ditch. That organic producers pulls his irrigation water directly downstream from a herd of his neighbors cows that drink from the ditch, the cows manure is deposited in the ditch and is full of e.coli. You can bet that the lettuce you are eating is at significant risk of making you sick. A scenario like this is far more likely to occur on a small organic farm than a big industrial farm because there is far less regulatory oversight on small operations. So don't think that just because you buy and eat organic that you have completely eliminated risks, because I can absolutely guarantee you that you haven't. You've traded one risk for another. Is it a worthwhile trade? Yeah, maybe, but I can also promise you that it is only a matter of time until a situation like I just described makes headlines after a local farmers market. Not trying to tell anyone to stop eating organic, but I'm saying that don't assume that doing so is guaranteeing you safety.

Van
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by Van » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:42 pm

It's all a bunch of crap.

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Delayed Gratification
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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by Delayed Gratification » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:43 pm

I'm a pediatrician and our professional group (AAP) recently did a big literature review on this topic as it relates to kids. Here's a brief summary of the findings:

1. Nutritional differences between organic and conventional produce appear minimal, but this hasn't been really well studied. Looks like there's more vitamin C and phosphate in organics as a whole, but no clear health benefits.
2. Organic produce does contain fewer pesticide residues, unclear if there's a health benefit.
3. With respect to meat, it's been shown that when antibiotics are used non-therapeutically resistance increases which can affect human health.
4. There's no difference between organic and conventional milk.

Here's a link to the study, which is free in pdf form: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/c ... l.pdf+html

Parents I talk to seem to be the most worried about the pesticide bit, so I refer them to the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean 15" (someone posted the list earlier), which is also how we choose organic or not for our family.

I'm a big advocate of family gardening as well. One of my favorite quotes from the video below is "If kids grow kale, kids eat kale". Just for sheer entertainment value check out this video: http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_g ... al_la.html

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Re: Is "buying organic" food worth it?

Post by scrabbler1 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:55 pm

I like to eat organic brown rice from the local health food store. Anyone else here go for that instead of conventional processed rice, brown or white?

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