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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 03, 2012

Is Organic a Scam? – Fetal and Child Development and Antibiotic Resistance

By Mark Sisson
248 Comments

OrganicA few weeks ago in Weekend Link Love, I mentioned the great big much-ballyhooed study that appeared to show organic produce was no more healthy than conventional produce. Many people with an axe to grind championed its findings, with some proclaiming the undeniable ringing of the final death knell of organic farming. Science Based Medicine wasted no time in weighing in on the current state of organic food, which they said “represents the triumph of marketing over scientific reality.” Strong words, words that seem to be – at first glance – supported by the study in question. But are they? Are you falling for marketing hype when you buy organic? Is it worth it?

Today, I’m going to discuss the impact of organic and conventional food on two aspects of wellness: fetal health and development and antibiotic resistance. I’ll follow this post up with more articles in coming weeks on the differences between organic and conventional food, and give my opinions on their impact on your health so that you can make an informed decision for yourself. Consider this Part 1 in a series.

Fetal Health and Development

It may be that humans are able to withstand chronic, low-level pesticide exposure without any glaringly negative health effects arising. Heck, maybe the occasional shot of organophosphate pesticide provides a hormetic, net-beneficial effect (I wouldn’t bet on it)! But what about the kids, the tots, the fetuses, the embryos? Might it be possible that what bounces off the thick manly hide of a fully-developed adult human with nary a flick of the eye could throw a wrench in the gears of fetal development? Perhaps the unabashed skeptic who instead of rinsing pesticides off his peach with water rinses water off his peach with pesticides can get away with it, while the pregnant woman craving peaches and Greek yogurt would be better off going organic. I suspect it might.

Earlier this year, a guy named David Bellinger also suspected it might, and so he looked at several studies which examined the relationship between prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides (in addition to other environmental pollutants) and cognitive development:

In one study, a ten-fold increase in DAP urine metabolites of pregnant women (the more organophosphates you take in, the more DAP urine metabolites you produce) meant a 4.25 point loss in IQ of their children.

Another study found that the same increase was associated with a loss of 1.39 points.

And in 2007, researchers found that “prenatal levels of organophosphate pesticide metabolites are associated with anomalies in primitive reflexes [in the children], which are a critical marker of neurologic integrity.”

Bellinger didn’t cover them all, though. There’s considerable evidence that chlorpyrifos, a pesticide often used on apple crops, causes brain abnormalities – thinning in some areas, enlargements in others – in children with significant prenatal exposure. Fetal organophosphate exposure has also been linked to ADHD (especially in boys).

Of course, these studies can’t establish causality, and it would be unethical and highly illegal to conduct controlled trials in which pregnant mothers were dosed with pesticides and fungicides to see how their offspring were affected, but we can look at animal studies to get an idea. Although the results are a bit mixed, this review (PDF) generally concludes that the older studies on organophosphate pesticides found them to be “safe,” while the more recent animal studies find evidence of mutagenic and teratogenic effects, particularly on the fetus.

So, does eating organic food reduce exposure to these organophosphates? After all, detractors love to tell us how organic farmers still use organic pesticides – a fair point. That said, as told in a 2006 Pediatrics study, an organic diet significantly reduces a child’s exposure to organophosphate pesticides as measured by the same DAP urine metabolites mentioned in the studies above. In fact, after just a few days of the organic diet, children in the study had virtually eliminated traces of urine metabolites. A 2008 study by the same author reached the same conclusions: switching to an organic diet can drastically reduce pesticide metabolites in kids.

It seems pretty cut and dry to me. DAP urine metabolites correlate strongly with deficits in cognitive development. In controlled studies using animal models, dosing rodents with organophosphate pesticides impairs fetal development. In controlled studies using human children, organic diets essentially eliminate DAP urine metabolites. Is there a smoking gun? No, I suppose not, but I do detect the distinct odor of burnt gunpowder. What about you?

Antibiotic Resistance

As I mentioned in a post from last year, microbes are living, evolving things; when antibiotics are employed to get rid of them, they’ll often develop antibiotic resistance by two primary methods. First, basic natural selection: those microbes that can survive the antibiotic will reproduce, thereby passing on their fitter genes. And then there’s antibiotic resistance by horizontal gene transfer: once a microbe has gained resistance to an antibiotic, the gene that codes for that resistance can be horizontally transferred to other species of microbes. To get rid of the new and improved microbes, novel antibiotics – and more of them – will be administered, but even if this works, the microbes eventually become resistant to the new stuff, too, and the escalation of the situation continues.

Unless you’re talking about organic. Organic livestock never receive antibiotics (if they do, they must be shipped off to slaughter as conventional food, or sold to a conventional producer), whereas conventional farming often employs antibiotics to stimulate weight gain in otherwise healthy livestock. A recent study found antibiotic-resistant bacteria on half of US grocery store beef, chicken, pork, and turkey that were conventionally-raised. And in 2011, a study found that pigs fed antibiotics soon developed a drastically altered intestinal microbiota that converted feed into energy more efficiently (it made them fatter), had a greater proportion of resident E. coli, and showed evidence of increased antibiotic resistance – even to antibiotics that were never administered! Meanwhile, organic meat shows up with far less antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and one recent study even showed that converting a conventional poultry farm into an organic poultry farm began reversing antibiotic resistance within a single year.

Now, it’s true that as long as you cook your meat well and avoid ground meat that you don’t trust (well-done steaks and no more hamburgers – sounds great, doesn’t it?), you probably don’t have to worry about any personal, immediate health risks from consuming conventional meat contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But what about the long game? What about the fact that otherwise harmless bacteria who’ve learned to resist antibiotics might pass their knowledge onto virulent bacteria? What about the fact that many officials are calling drug-resistant bacteria the next major global health threat?

I hope I’ve given you some (organic) food for thought. For now, ruminate on this post, but don’t make any rash decisions. Don’t freak out, no matter how scary the data might seem. Next week, I’ll explore the widely held claim that organic produce is no more nutritious than conventional produce to see if it holds up.

Take care, folks. Thanks for reading.

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248 Comments on "Is Organic a Scam? – Fetal and Child Development and Antibiotic Resistance"

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Team Oberg
3 years 11 months ago

This is great information. We should all be eating organic anyways for our own health, but when it is our child’s health that is at stake people pay more attention. I will have to send this along to my husband as we are getting prepared to start having children!

Travis Moore
Travis Moore
3 years 11 months ago

If DNA urine metablolites can disappear within only a few days, then perhaps the level prior to switching to an organic diet was not harmful. All foods are required to pass inspection at levels required by USDA. What levels of DNA urine metabolites were used in the studies? My guess is, well above those actually consumed. Might be of interest to do homework before making concluding statements on the safety of the food production system.

Peter
3 years 11 months ago

Except for the fact that the USDA has become a thoroughly corrupt organization that now serves the very companies that it was intended to oversee.

Jess B
Jess B
2 years 7 months ago

You’re aware that the USDA is the organization that established and enforces the guidelines for organic produce. If they’re so corrupt, how can you have faith in fruit and vegetables labeled “organic” in your supermarket?

Ashley
Ashley
2 years 7 months ago

What about the fact that kids with ADHD were cured with a organic diet? Its out there, look it up!

James
James
3 years 11 months ago
You completely missed the mark, Mark. You need to compare organic produce free of all externally applied pesticides. Organophosphates are strictly regulated and can be easily removed from produce with a soapy water wash. The pesticides/fungicides/fertilizers used by the “Organic” producers are in many instances much more toxic i.e. have lower LD50’s than the ‘BAD’ ones. In addition because they are not regulated there is nothing preventing their overuse think about DDT and how its overuse ultimately ended in its global ban. In correctly used quantities it was used to eradicate malaria in the western world but due to farmer… Read more »
Garrett
Garrett
3 years 11 months ago

Apparently you didn’t finish reading the entire article. The last paragraph he explains that what you’re looking for will be the topic of conversation next week. He mentions it in the very beginning of the post as well.

Minor detail I guess……

Laura
3 years 11 months ago

It needed to be discussed DURING the current article – the last line is almost a PS, possessing no merit. That’s the issue.

Tina
Tina
3 years 11 months ago
Sorry but I think focusing only on the “differences of available nutrition” is a straw man argument that fails to take into account other reasons why someone may wish to purchase organic food such as farm worker (and their children’s) health and safety, effects on soil-dwelling and other beneficial organisms and other wildlife, effects on pollinators, water quality, transfer of undesired genetic material via pollen drift from GMOs, etc. Just discussing nutrition amounts, employs a sophist funnel away from these other issues. I’m also not clear that it is your job to tell Mark what he is “to discuss” on… Read more »
Greg
Greg
3 years 11 months ago

What Tina said. This is exactly the same thing that I thought as soon as I saw the “shocking headline” about organic food being no more healthy. Even more fundamental than what Tina said is that the study said that organic food is not more nutritious (in nutrients that were measured, at least) than regular food. But nutritious and healthy are vastly different animals. If my apple has no more vitamin A than yours, that’s cool and I expect that. But mine definitely isn’t coated (and infused via dialysis through the skin) with chemicals to kill things.

drea
drea
3 years 11 months ago

+1,000,000, right on!

Kitty
Kitty
3 years 11 months ago

I agree!

steve
steve
3 years 11 months ago

Global ban on DDT? You may want to verify that one….it’s still a popular pesticide in many 3rd world nations and especially for controlling malaria. DDT is still a money maker for Monsanto.

Mark was dead on target. Organic farmers never claimed their products were nutritional superior to conventional grown one’s….and that’s one of several reasons why this highly myopic study from Stanford can’t be allowed to stand. Not to mention the unorthodox stats used to diminish the pesticides found in the conventional food samples….that’s right, they cooked the stats and used none-standard methods!

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years 11 months ago
I think all of you are missing something. James, the goal here was to point out that we don’t care about the differences in nutrition, thus the study doesn’t matter – the reason WE prefer organic is due to the pesticide issue. Garrett and Tina, James’ main point was that the issue of ‘organic’ pesticides was not addressed here. I would hasten to add that the definition of ‘organic’ seems very inconsistent – some interpretations allow for those organic pesticides, while others do not allow for any pesticides at all. We as a community prefer organic food, but which type… Read more »
Tina
Tina
3 years 11 months ago
I’m open to discussion on this issue of toxic organic pesticides but, as I understand it, we are talking about pesticides that have immediate toxicity such as rotenone and nicotine-based chemicals that, sure, you wouldn’t want to inhale a bunch of or get on your skin in significant quantities and which can be toxic to wildlife which are present at time of application. However, what is leftover on the food after production and what remains in the environment is far less troublesome than persistent chemicals that take longer to degrade or which have different modes of action and may do… Read more »
Trish
Trish
3 years 11 months ago
I’m afraid (for your sake as you will probably keep eating conventional fruit and veg) that your wrong. Washing the skin does not eliminate all of the pesticides, as a percentage is absorbed into the fruit. Citrus, strangely enough with their realtively thick skin, are the worst due to the growers throwing them into a vat of fluids that “fixes” the skins which in turn stops bruising as the citrus are consdidered the easiest of the fruits to bruise (will have to ask my sister what the fluid, or poision if you prefer, is as she workede as a citrus… Read more »
Joe Carbup
Joe Carbup
3 years 11 months ago

“think about DDT and how its overuse ultimately ended in its global ban.”

What global ban?

Laura
3 years 11 months ago

I agree completely with this comment. I kept reading and thinking the SAME thing. No need to say more…. I usually agree with you so much Mark – but you’re missing it here. So, WTF?

Ron Green
Ron Green
3 years 10 months ago

What a nonsense.The nowadays much common used neonicotinoiden are 7000 times!!! more poisenous dan DDT (with all its beneficial effects). Why do only scientists know this? Why Is France and the USA sueing producer Bayer?
Organic pesticides I use have no legal safety period requirement.You can eat the product safely the next day!

Julie
Julie
3 years 11 months ago

My personal case study is that I will not menstruate if I do not eat organic and grass fed beef. If that doesn’t say what it is doing to my body, I don’t know what does. YAY for organic food!!

Giedre
3 years 11 months ago

Team Oberg,I believe in organic food and i do use only certified organic ingredients in my desserts.But do we really getting everything organic.I just read this article about “Whole Foods”,which didn’t actually shocked me,but disappointed me and made me angry. http://tinyurl.com/983wag7 Can we trust big corporations,not to deceive us?

Rainer
Rainer
3 years 5 months ago

How about the fact that organic/natural pesticides contains _exactly_ the same chemicals as industrially made ones? Noone seems to care…

Miki
Miki
3 years 11 months ago

Study, shmudy. I’m going to go ahead and embrace common sense on this one. My family’s bodies are natural and organic. They will function better fueled on natural and organic sources.

I’m usually not a consipiracy theory kinda gal, but when that story came out I did have to wonder if someone (company) with power stood to gain from it.

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 11 months ago

someone has said “Im not interested in conspiracy theories, I’m interested in the facts of conspiracy”

Giedre
3 years 11 months ago

Joshua that’s funny we using terms and i don’t think,that everybody always know what that means Definition of “Conspiracy Theories”-is “well hidden truth”

Todd S.
Todd S.
3 years 11 months ago

Organic most definitely is a marketing scam if you are talking about most of the “organic” stuff you get from the supermarket. The regulations surrounding the organic label are obtuse and often counterintuitive, and generally designed to be friendly to agri-business.

Kat
3 years 11 months ago

The standards definitely aren’t perfect, but they do make some significant points, even for processed foods (which I assume is what you mean by “stuff you get from the supermarket”). Namely, they prohibit GMOs, which account for most of the corn and soy in the US (and corn and soy account for most of most processed foods). And the issues with pesticide use apply to grains as well as fresh produce.

Eva
Eva
3 years 11 months ago

They are supposed to prohibit GMOs but enforcement is lax. Plus many things labeled ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ may not really be. Some labels have giant loopholes. Also many very toxic substances still fall under the term ‘organic.’ Organic does not always mean healthy and unless it says 100% organic, there are some not organic ingredients included. Some info at this link: http://gmo-awareness.com/2011/05/05/is-organic-always-gmo-free/ . I’d love to say some articles on the ins of out of organic and some of these other labels that don’t always mean what one might assume they mean.

Vince
Vince
3 years 11 months ago
I think there certainly is something to this, especially when you visit farmers markets. The vendors will often say their items are not technically “organic” just because all the bs red tape and hoops they have to jump through to get the designation. In my opinion local trumps “organic” any day, but organic in the absence of local. There are also certain foods that have a lower succeptability to mycotoxin growth where organic might not necessarily have much added benefit (cost outways the benefits). However, obviously there are foods that are just the opposite (worth paying a little extra for… Read more »
Primal Toad
3 years 11 months ago

Yup, local trumps organic most of the time.

And it does not matter for many foods like, say, coconut!

DarcieG
DarcieG
3 years 11 months ago

How are you liking those local Michigan coconuts? :-p

Primal Toad
3 years 11 months ago

I wouldn’t say it’s a scam. There are thousands of legit farmers around the world that are organic certified.

Just because some organic pesticides and what no are OK if it’s organic does not mean that all food that is labeled organic has said pesticides.

To me, local is best anyways and Mark agrees. There are lots of no spray local farms here in West Michigan. They are not “organic” because they don’t wish to pay the money.

Elsie
Elsie
3 years 11 months ago

Yup it goes like this in order of preference, from most to least preferred: Local organic, local conventional, remote organic, remote conventional with hard/inedible skin, remote conventional with soft skin.

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 11 months ago

Any study involving IQ tests is highly suspect to me. It isn’t like a blood test, it’s a series of questions determined why older white american men to be indicative of general intelligence. Additionally, psychologists have trouble even defining what they mean by intelligence. That is without even delving into the issues presented when a study has no baseline. You can’t give a prenatal IQ test.

Greg
Greg
3 years 11 months ago

My guess is you’ve never taken an IQ test, since your perception of them is completely inaccurate and obviously culled from some PC newsletter that you were handed on a street corner. And no one said anything about “intelligence” until you used the word. It’s fun to play Devil’s advocate, I agree, but you should probably come up with some stuff that sounds a little more… intelligent.

john
john
3 years 11 months ago

well IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient so Joshua mentioning Intelligence in a message about IQ Tests seems fair enough to me!

Eric
Eric
3 years 11 months ago

Your comment is ignorant of the theory of psychological constructs: one can never say exactly what a psychological construct, like intelligence, is. Therefore, “psychologists have trouble even defining what they mean by intelligence” is a misleading statement as psychologists can’t say what any construct is. They can only operationalize it as a measure and see what it correlates with.

On a seperate head, your implicit racial insult of whites is noted and is neither acceptable nor welcome.

Elenor
Elenor
3 years 11 months ago

BRAVO Eric! IQ tests actually DO accurately predict who will do well in such esoteric fields as… you know… modern American schooling and higher education and many fields of employment.

To play head-in-the-mud because it’s not politically correct to recognize actual, accurate, measurable differences among people means we’ll continue to pretend all is well, and no one needs any help. It’s idiotic!

Max Ungar
3 years 11 months ago

Looking at it from a sustainability standpoint, Isn’t organic farming (like polyface farms) way, way more sustainable than using unorganic methods?

Nathan
Nathan
3 years 11 months ago
I read about this in a book a while ago. ‘The Vertical Farm’ I think it was. Anyway, it basically said that governments spend billions of £’s, $’s clearing up the eco system from overspray of crops, treated with nasty pesticides and how the waste from animals can also degrade the soil (if they should be so lucky to have soil) and thus further damaging the environment. Also how when the tractors spray crops, some of those chemicals leech into the water systems, further damaging the wildlife. Apparently, if we stopped eating conventional produce (not sure about animals), in 5… Read more »
Tim
Tim
3 years 11 months ago

Yep… a circular problem. The world needs food. The food companies respond by juicing the soil to pump production. More people have food and have more children, now the world needs more food… uh oh, now we have to juice again! and on and on we go to greater and greater profits ho!

-Tim

Charlayna
3 years 11 months ago

On a similar vein, if all crops in the world were converted to organic, we wouldn’t be able to sustain the current global population. Or so I’ve heard numerous times in various classes I’ve taken (and I’m pretty sure it’s on an episode of Penn and Teller’s Bullshit).

It would be interesting if Mark would post on this though!

Abby J.
Abby J.
3 years 11 months ago

Actually the idea that organic cannot sustain the world is untrue, and has been debunked in several different studies:
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/organicagriculturefeedtheworld.php

There was also a study done in California that showed some crops produced higher yields when raised organically vs. conventionally (can’t find that link.) Given that producing organic crops often means a higher price for his goods in the market, it makes sense for more and more farmers to switch to organic farming as it may have a higher profit margin for him.

Charlayna
3 years 11 months ago

Thanks for the info Abby–I’ll look into it and forward the studies along to my former professors!

Leah
Leah
3 years 11 months ago

Hey Charlyana. I think Mark kind of posted on this before when he discussed whether it would be sustainable if the entire world went primal.

Oly
Oly
3 years 11 months ago
I don’t believe the starvation claims at all. Natural disasters aside, where there’s starvation, you’ll find a government that restricts the access to resources (land). Think central planning failure by communist governments. Grass: the amount of time resources spent on growing grass that isn’t fed to an animal is ridiculous — I’m able to pesticide-free grow an impressive amount of food in my square-foot suburban backyard. Healthy soil = healthy plants = naturally resistant to pests & disease. An intact ecosystem keeps pests in check naturally with surprisingly little intervention needed. Conventional farming destroys the soil making for weak plants… Read more »
bongstar420
bongstar420
4 months 17 days ago

Ya…its bad to “harm” the “environment”

But its OK for non-human induced harm

Lauren
3 years 11 months ago

If you are looking to avoid toxins, I would say that it is not a scam, if you look at the health effects (infertility, etc) of the people who live near non-organic farms, it is pretty shocking.

Tina
Tina
3 years 11 months ago

Exactly. Methyl iodide, anyone?

bongstar420
bongstar420
4 months 17 days ago

Methyl murcury is “naturally” occurring. It must be good.

Heck, before evil men, there were streams with “naturally” occurring Mercury on the bottom of some streams.

Methyl iodide is also “naturally” occurring in small quantities

Get an effing clue already.

bongstar420
bongstar420
4 months 17 days ago

Its annoying all the folk that think their “enhanced” by going “organic”

You go organic, I go what ever. I still outperform the average in most cases

Stevo
Stevo
3 years 11 months ago

If antibiotics aren’t used to treat sick farm animals, what do organic farmers use?

Sarah
Sarah
3 years 11 months ago

Antibiotics are used primarily in large-scale non-organic farming (where the vast majority of the American meat supply is produced) not just to treat sick animals, but to manage high rates of infection that result from the methods used to produce meat on such a large scale. Many of the methods used by organic farmers to raise animals for meat help prevent the need for antibiotics, e.g. grass raised cattle have far fewer infections both because they are in less crowded conditions and are on their natural diet.

Erin
Erin
3 years 11 months ago

Agreed. Corn fattens them up really fast, making them more profitable (quicker turnaround), but because corn is not their natural diet, they get intestinal problems that require antibiotics. A natural grass diet prevents the need for antibiotics.

mamab
mamab
3 years 11 months ago
Do any of you even own cattle? Yes they eat grass, but even supposed grass-fed cattle eat grains. Not the huge amount of processed/shoved in their face type that feedlots use but they still eat it. I own 300 cattle and I’ll tell you what, if they get a chance to escape their field and enter the oat field or corn field – THEY WILL. And seeing a cow eat a cob of dried up corn is quite funny. That said… I agree that mass production of meat is not good for either man or animal but it’s the mass… Read more »
Laura
Laura
3 years 11 months ago

To the person who asked if anyone even owns cows, the answer is ‘yes’. Cows (and horses) do love their grain, but that does not mean it’s good for them, or even required. Heck, kids will opt for a cookie over salad, too, but that does not mean they should eat lots of cookies. It is possible to raise cows on only grass/hay, the way they were intended to be, but most cooperations choose not to due to the cost of hay. Corn, esp GMO corn, is cheaper. It’s all about economics, not environment/health.

Laura
Laura
3 years 11 months ago

I should clarify that it is cheaper in terms of cost of food per weight gained by the animal

MamaB
MamaB
3 years 11 months ago
I don’t think the hay/grain salad/cookie analogy really makes sense. Cows and other ruminants (deer, elk, moose,camel, yak etc) naturally eat grain while grazing. Grain is available to them only in the fall – ie: when they need to fatten up for winter. I never said that I agreed that cattle should be fed corn instead of hay, quite the opposite in fact. I am merely stating that ruminants DO naturally eat small amounts of grain because there’s so many people out there that suddenly believe that cattle should no ever eat grain. Their natural diet is grass (summer), standing… Read more »
Trish
Trish
3 years 11 months ago

animals in feedlots are fed antibiotics as a matter of course, this is to nip any pending illness in the bud not beacuse they are sick. Imagine if a doctor gave you a never ending script for antibiotics and told you to take one a day for the rest of your life as you live in unnatural overcrowded conditions with out access to fresh food and eating in bulk food you were never meant to eat or only meant to eat on the odd occasion … hey wait a minute)

Tanya
Tanya
3 years 11 months ago

Ha! Like elementary schools? I’m so glad our school doesn’t have a cafeteria! The occasional “hot dog day” at least shouldn’t kill my kids LOL

bongstar420
bongstar420
4 months 17 days ago

Tetracycline is extracted from soil bacteria.

Dum-da-dum-dumb

Its in extensive use and decays rapidly in open air and light

Jason
Jason
3 years 11 months ago

The report I read about that study said this: Nutrient levels of organic and conventional vegetables were roughly equal, and (here’s the kicker) pesticide levels on the conventional veggies were below the FDA safe limits. Therefore, no benefit to organic!

Well, well ,well, I feel so much better! The FDA says those levels are safe!

Hey FDA, big agra, et al, we don’t trust you! That study says nothing more than, “this is so, because we say it is.”

bongstar420
bongstar420
4 months 17 days ago

So arsenic is “safe” because its just rock dust? Erhem, not a synthetic pesticide

Amelia
3 years 11 months ago

This “study” about organics made me want to rip out my hair as soon as I saw it. It completely missed the entire point of eating organically. It’s about what isn’t in your food, namely CHEMICAL CRAP.

Tina
Tina
3 years 11 months ago

Thank you!

Oly
Oly
3 years 11 months ago

Not only that, but if someone is growing food organically it means he must troubleshoot problems organically. That means less impact on say — bees. Despite how “mysterious” the bee decline has been hyped to be I’ve long noticed many more insects are missing. Dragon flies, and praying mantids and lightning bugs and so forth and so on.

Oly
Oly
3 years 11 months ago

Further, the NYT and other oligarchical media outlets can prostitute what articles they want but I figured out with my thinking brain that there’s nothing normal with having undamaged otherwise healthy birds fall to the ground and twitch dead. There’s nothing normal with an otherwise healthy person suddenly with liver failure or with a serious immune system related problem. All anecdotal for me, but too many times of seeing sick people get an “I don’t know”. An organic lifestyle becomes a health remedy that smashes conventional “wisdom”

Tanya
Tanya
3 years 11 months ago

Yeah, wasn’t it more about vitamins or some crap. I didn’t read the whole thing, it is such b.s

bongstar420
bongstar420
4 months 17 days ago

Is your IQ higher now?

Or do you just believe it is because your went “organic?”

Gabby
Gabby
3 years 11 months ago

I think it’s a scam in the sense that all food used to be “organic” before the 1930s. And now we have to pay more for food to be grown as it should be.
I think more farmers will make the switch to “organic” farming since they can charge more for their final product, and survive in their industry.

Christina
Christina
3 years 11 months ago

If there is a 9 in front of the remaining 4 digits, then it’s organic.

mamab
mamab
3 years 11 months ago
I don’t think so, grain farmers around here are getting to be so huge (because no one wants to do it) that there’s no way that they will be able to switch to organic. It’s more than just not spraying your crops with pert/herb/insecticides, there’s a ton more variables involved with switching over to organic farming. And with organic (according to the organic grain farmers I know – I’m a rancher)the yields are so much lower that even without the chemical costs and the higher price for organic grain, it’s just not worth it…. Unfortunately. Now this is the Canadian… Read more »
Gabby
Gabby
3 years 11 months ago

Actually I had seen a documentary on Canadian organic farming. They had illustrated one of their points by interviewing a dairy farmer who went organic to survive in his industry, not because he thought organic was better.

mamab
mamab
3 years 11 months ago
diary farming is a whole other ballpark than grain farming. I’m talking about grain farming, it isn’t hard – in fact it’s easier to raise organic animals than it is to raise an organic crop. I’ve lived my whole life around farmers and ranchers and it’s hard to convince a guy who barely makes a living switch to organic (not that easy) – where it’s going to take him YEARS to become organically certified, therefore years before he can sell a crop as organic. And so… years before getting a remotely decent crop from his fertilizer/pesticide dependent land. It’s sad… Read more »
jennifer
jennifer
3 years 7 months ago

it was interesting learning that cows in different places eat grain. Not here though. I live in Hawaii, our cows eat grass all year long. the only GMO problem is the papaya farmers ……so there must be other places in the world that can grass feed their cattle all year round too. ?

Nick templer
3 years 11 months ago

There are ways to see if the produce is actualy organic or not. On the little sticker there is a like a 5 digit number. The first number represents the level of chemical impact, or so I’m told. Maybe someone can confirm this for me.

rob
rob
3 years 11 months ago

Eating conventional produce is a crime against humanity.

Frank
Frank
3 years 11 months ago

That depends. Lots of people can’t afford organic and in the case of fruit with thick skins (bananas) it doesn’t really matter if it’s organic. Plus, people want pretty fruit with no defects. You don’t get that with organic.

Claire
Claire
3 years 11 months ago
Never never never buy conventionally grown bananas!!!!!! They are one of the most important foods to buy organic. Because of the thick skins, humongous amounts of pesticides are used on them. I visited a conventional banana plantation in Costa Rica, where the crops are aerial sprayed several times a day because rain washes off the pesticide (into the streams of course). There were caution and danger signs everywhere, but all the plantation workers live right near the plantation, in houses provided by the plantation so they can be close to work. All their kids play outside and are basically sprayed… Read more »
Vince
Vince
3 years 11 months ago

Maybe a drastic statement but I get what you are saying. However, sugar and grains are the crime, especially when they are constantly billed as “healthy”. That’s the real crime.

Farhad
Farhad
3 years 11 months ago

Another consideration is the environmental harm done by pesticides and fertilizers. For example, runoff of pesticides and fertilizers into the ocean causes dead zones.

Jarmin
Jarmin
3 years 11 months ago

Exactly. This is the main reason why I choose organic when I can afford to. I’ve always read about studies where they found no increase in nutritional benefit from eating organic vs conventionally grown. My biggest concern has always been about conventionally grown crops’ impact of the use of pesticides on the environment and on wild species. These two important things alone should be enough for people to choose organic (if they can afford to). No study can deny this fact.

DarcieG
DarcieG
3 years 11 months ago

The word “pesticides,” though, is being used to describe the non-organic pesticides, right? I would like to know more about the organic pesticides that have been mentioned a few times in today’s post, at least one comment, and in an article that I read recently. How long have they been used? What’s dangerous about them, and if they can be dangerous, why is there not more discussion on them? Do *most* organic farmers use them, or is it different between small-scale and large-scale operations?

Tina
Tina
3 years 11 months ago
Darcie, any chemical that kills a “pest” is a pesticide regardless of how toxic, or non-toxic, it is. Organocide, an organic spray made from fish & sesame oil, is still considered a pesticide. EXTOXNET is a good resource if you want to look up information about almost any pesticide and is a cooperative effort of several universities. Some of the more common organic pesticides include rotenone, nicotine-based sprays, neem oil, lime-sulfur, and pyrethrum/pyrethrins. As I mentioned in another comment, often the toxicity associated with some of these (generally, rotenone, nicotine, and pyrethrum/pyrethrins) have to do with large exposure at application,… Read more »
Charlayna
3 years 11 months ago

Yep. I choose US organic (not China, where a ton of “organic” produce originates) or locally grown organic because of environmental issues surrounding pesticide/insecticide/herbicide/fungicide use. You should watch the segment of PBS’s Strange Days on Planet Earth on agricultural issues with excess Nitrogen [fertilizer]!

BillP
BillP
3 years 11 months ago

+1

George Billioux
George Billioux
3 years 11 months ago
There seems to be very large gray area around “organic” I spoke to produce manager at Sprouts and he said if I paid more for organic in his store I only had a 50/50 chance what I was buying was truly organic. Most of chain store produce comes from Mexico, so who is there to monitor it’s quality and origin. He said USDA inspectors were lax in grading all produce so their idea of Organic is clouded at best. To be sure of getting what you pay for calls for trips to local farmers markets for best chance of really… Read more »
NotApplicable
NotApplicable
3 years 11 months ago

This is the best reason behind shopping local.

Simply put; know your food!

Tina
Tina
3 years 11 months ago

See, now, THIS is the stuff I worry about. But, then, what’s to stop someone at a farmer’s market booth from lying about what’s been sprayed or not? Are they being inspected, as well?

Greg
Greg
3 years 11 months ago
I generally disagree, certainly there is little enough evidence for any health impact and organic often lower in terms of nutritional value. there might be some cases but day to day it is irrelevant in terms of health particularly in the eu Where farming is much less cavalier about such things, showing particularly I gather in the US it encourages sensible sustainable farming techniques and general quality of the food produced as organic os rarely lowest common denominator. That is where it is really important. Grow food well, avoid monoculture, rotate crops, use minimal pesticides,dont inject animals with antibiotics and… Read more »
patrick
patrick
3 years 11 months ago

I live in the EU and I eat local organic whenever possible. Unless pork and poultry is labelled free range or organic you can be certain it came from one of these subhuman factory farms and pumped with antibiotics. With lamb and beef the situation is better but you are still taking a chance with antibiotic use. Conventional vegetables and fruit are all sprayed with pesticides and I avoid them because I am not too keen on cancer after watching my father die from it.

Frank
Frank
3 years 11 months ago
This demonstrates that ‘organic’ is not necessarily healthier and organic food producers don’t try to emphasize that fact. My parents in-law were involved in the early health food movements of the 50s and early 60s. They grew their own produce and were very careful about the meat that they ate. Mom-in-law ended up dying of cancer in her 60s in spite of all of the healthful eating. So let’s be honest and say that good luck and genetics are at least 50% of the equation. Although the principle of eating as close as possible to the natural form of a… Read more »
NotApplicable
NotApplicable
3 years 11 months ago

Eating is only one of many ways cancer inducing toxins can enter the body. Your argument is logical fallacy, and proves nothing.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years 11 months ago

Plus he didn’t give any info on the diet except that it included produce and meat. That isn’t really specific enough to say whether it was actually healthy.

Sofie
Sofie
3 years 11 months ago

Eating organic doesn’t make you immune to cancer! Therefore it’s mostly luck and genetics! You don’t think you’re jumping to conclusions here? There’s a lot more factors than those 3, like avoiding sugar which suppresses your immune system and feeds cancer cells, or eating enough saturated fat and getting enough vitamin D to keep your immune system strong.

chris
chris
3 years 11 months ago

i had the dubious pleasure of having to work on an industrial pig farm for a couple of months. Any process that can take a 15pound weaner and turn it into a 240 pound animal in4 months is not natural. I only buy organic meat.

bubbajank
bubbajank
3 years 11 months ago

GTFO, seriously? wow

Adam
Adam
3 years 11 months ago

I agree completely that organic meat is better. No doubt. However, I do question whether organic pesticides are really any better. This article talks about it…http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2012/09/24/pesticides-food-fears/

Honeybuns
Honeybuns
3 years 11 months ago

Growing organic is about the health of the planet.
Nuff said.

Groktimus Primal
3 years 11 months ago

Eat your chemicals and like it you dumb hippies 🙂

As Mark would say (just kidding)

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 11 months ago

+1

Trish
Trish
3 years 11 months ago

lmao

Karen
Karen
3 years 11 months ago
I work in the agrochemical industry in regulatory affairs and so I think I am well qualified to speak on this subject. Personally I think organic is a con. Organic farms do use pesticides, just older traditional less tested pesticides, which can also leave residues in the environment and on your food. (I also work on some organic pesticides). We have to spend millions on studies conducted over many years before we can get approval to sell a pesticide. Don’t think that the unborn child isn’t considered in the risk assessment, or infact that child’s offspring. And don’t think that… Read more »
wolfie
wolfie
3 years 11 months ago
Thanks for an expert opinion! I too am skeptical of how much net benefit there is to organics. I’m certainly not a farmer or chemist, but I personally suspect that there is just no way to produce the amount of food required to support current populations without the help of modern technology – including pesticides. Let’s face it, we are trying to grow massive amounts of fruits and vegetables in environments and varieties they did not naturally evolve to, organic or not, and therefore they don’t have the natural defenses a truly wild plant would. Sure, you can overcome that… Read more »
RM
RM
3 years 11 months ago

GMO foods increase inflammation-not good for anybody. They just did a study proving rats raised on GMO foods grew massive tumors and died early. I don’t want that happening to me or my children. All three of us have autoimmune disease. Do you think that’s fun for anybody? I can’t leave my son with hardly anyone because the OCD and aggression from his PANDAS is so bad and he’s 8 yrs old. If I fed him a ton of GMO foods he would be even worse than he is now.

Sarah
Sarah
3 years 11 months ago

wolfie – I think you are confusing GMOs with selective breeding. GMOs take genes that are foreign to that species and insert them into the genetic makeup. Selective breeding, which has been done for ages, is the process of breeding two genetically compatible animals or plants for the purpose of encouraging optimal genetic expression.

wolfie
wolfie
3 years 11 months ago
I understand the difference. What I’m saying is that either way you end up with an organism that wouldn’t exist without human intervention. Most crops are hybridized and/or varieties that as you point out are the result of thousands of years of selective breeding. Heck, on this site there is plenty of discussion of how today’s fruits and vegetables bear little resemblance to anything Grok might have eaten, and most aren’t “genetically modified”. Although I agree it’s “more” unnatural, I don’t really find it any more creepy to cross a bacteria with corn than it is to selectively breed a… Read more »
Madame Flintstone
Madame Flintstone
3 years 11 months ago

Wolfie and Karen; call me skeptical but you sound like people employed by Mon’satan to browse comments sections like this and assert authoritah in a gentle and understated tone for red-herringish brain-scrambling.
Genetic modification by Monsanto and Dupont et al suck. If organics mean my kale or whathaveyou hasn’t been spliced with spider DNA or inbuilt pesticides then regardless of the amount of crap they spray on before, during, after harvest, it’s still marginally less evil than the GM version.
On ya.

Claire
Claire
3 years 11 months ago

GMO technology is very different from creating different varieties of crops, which has been done for a long time. In a lab, you can insert the gene of a different kind of organism into a crop, such as a gene from an insect, say. To me that seems very scary and who knows what the consequences will be.

James
James
3 years 11 months ago
A popular example of the difference between GMOs & selective breeding is the “fish tomato,” a failed 90’s experiment in which bacteria from a type of flounder were inserted into a tomato intended (via the antifreeze properties of the flounder) to cultivate at colder temps than is possible naturally. That’s GMO. Seedless watermelons, on the other hand, are an example of the kinds of age-old modifications humans have been up to since the birth of agriculture. To underscore one concern among the many that surround GMOs, what happens when someone with a severe seafood allergy orders a salad at a… Read more »
Weatherwax
Weatherwax
3 years 11 months ago

Why not? Why should it be impossible to model ecosystemic changes in the lab? I mean, sure, it’s complicated, but that’s what science is for. The real problem is that we haven’t got enough macrobiologists to do the modeling, and no incentive to pay them even if we did.

Tina
Tina
3 years 11 months ago
Sorry but selective breeding and genetic modification are not the same thing. It’s hard to see how you could argue that inserting genetic material not just from another species but another GENUS is the same as selective breeding. With selective breeding you are breeding species that could theoretically breed on their own in the wild. Their parts match the parts of the other and offspring can and do result. (And that can happen without the human intervention that you think is required.) If a bacteria can’t mate with a plant to create a hybrid organism in the wild, I fail… Read more »
Oly
Oly
3 years 11 months ago
“Organic” gets tossed around the way the words “low-carb” do where everyone has their own definition. At worst it’s a better word than “nothing” or “Super Duper Awesome no pesticides, no cholesterol, no trans-fats, no carcinogens, no added poisons” The dose makes the toxin — people must be mindful of not “salting the earth”. Organic free-range rattlesnake venom is still venom. So yes there’s still plain dumb marketing. I organically grow my vegetables. What else would I call it? What’s coming from my backyard is priceless and the fact that it’s called “organic” and some crap on the shelf by… Read more »
James
James
3 years 11 months ago

Well said. It’s worth mentioning that getting certified USDA “organic” takes a lot of time & money that many farmers would rather not spare – but they can still follow organic practices in their business. I know of a certified organic turkey farmer whose daughter runs her own turkey farm; her turkeys aren’t certified organic, but she follows all the same practices. In this way “local” and knowing your farmer trumps the USDA label.

Charlayna
3 years 11 months ago

If you have the capability of getting those resources, that’s great. Here in Alaska, it’s pretty hard to get locally grown anything, particularly when you’re living in areas that aren’t connected to the road system… (aka the problem I’m having currently, and thus, choose organic-labeled produce when I can)

Cori
Cori
3 years 11 months ago
I have been growing organically on a small scale for over thirty years, and moved to Tennessee last year to start a small organic farm. I became interested in organic as a teen when my father bought a small health food store and have continued educating myself ever since. Organic makes a difference. It is not hype. Some organic is better than others, such as the “organic” milk by Horizon that is anything but natural, and contains chemicals and genetically engineered components, but REAL organic food grown locally by responsible producers is infinitely healthier than any conventional grocery store produce.… Read more »
DarcieG
DarcieG
3 years 11 months ago

Do you have more info about the Horizon Organic Milk? That’s news to me…

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years 11 months ago

And what proportion of organic farms use those pesticides? How many don’t use any at all? This is one major point in the whole organic vs. conventional debate that I’ve never seen clarified.

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
3 years 11 months ago

What pesticides are we even talking about? Karen, if you have some specifics, please share!

Brad
Brad
3 years 11 months ago
Karen you are right, the dose does make the poison but how confident are you that a lot of the studies done on the safety of pesticides etc are adequate. A recent article by Seralini et al in “Food and Chemical Toxicology” looked at a two year feeding study in rats fed a diet of Roundup at 0.1ppb or Roundup resistant corn (with a control group) and found massive tumours appearing much earlier in the Roundup and GMO corn than the control group. Most of these tumours didn’t really occur till about 14 months into the study. Most studies showing… Read more »
Joe Carbup
Joe Carbup
3 years 11 months ago
You may know your chemicals Karen, but you, nor anyone else, knows the human body well enough to be able to test these chemicals to any meaningful degree. In order to do so, first the chemical must be tested and followed in the human body that would include an incubatory period with the ability to exclude confounding factors. You can’t. They you need to test it in combination with the other chemicals that the human body is exposed to on a routine basis. You can’t. I won’t spend to much time rebutting your entire post, but I will add this.… Read more »
Colleen
3 years 11 months ago

Eat an organic carrot. Now eat a conventionally grown carrot. When I do this the organic carrot tastes like the carrot of my childhood–it tastes like a carrot. The conventionally grown carrot has a nasty petroleum-chemical taste. Once I switched to organic carrots, my kids switched from “no thanks” to “sure!” We have had a similar experience with organic apples–they just taste like apples, not weird stuff. When conventionally grown fruits and vegetables taste so bad, don’t tell me they are not poisonous and detrimental to my health. Organic is no con!

Elizabeth
3 years 11 months ago

Organice for the health of our planet if nothing else, and meanwhile support Yes on 37 with your calls, donations, and Californians with your votes to get GMOS labeled in Cali. And hopefully, then, the rest of the USA wakes up to what 50 other countries already know and require.

Elizabeth
3 years 11 months ago

Oops, 2 hours sleep just ain’t enough. That is just the fancy way we Paleo Californians spell organic now.

yvette
yvette
3 years 11 months ago

I wish I lived in California just to vote Yes on 37. This is a very exciting time for organics.

Laurel
3 years 11 months ago

Thanks, Hopoe you can move here soon.

Laurel
3 years 11 months ago

You are correct. Spread the word.

mako
mako
3 years 11 months ago

Has anyone noticed the SIZE of kids these days? I cannot believe it is not directly related to the crap injected into everything on the grocery shelf. We do organic as much as possible living in New Jersey but that is easier said than done.As stated earlier,”Organic” labels at your average grocery chain mean little since the grading process is so very vague.

Kris
Kris
3 years 11 months ago
I’m most interested in the taste benefits. It’s pretty shocking just how much better (most) organic stuff tastes. Primarily when it’s locally grown, small producer. The stuff that is flown in from Chile in fancy packaging with an organic label slapped on it is not that much better, not to mention having that suspicious whiff of the marketing hype these studies are decrying. For meat, I’m more concerned about the treatment of the animals I’m eating, so I’m generally buying “better than organic” – as close to nature as I can find. It does taste better as well, to my… Read more »
Luke DePron
Luke DePron
3 years 11 months ago

Gotta say I agree with you. I’m pretty spoiled In San Diego as there’s multiple farmers markets every day of the week and the flavor of produce is way different. Sure the strawberries I get aren’t the size of apples like store bought, but they taste waaaaaay better. No pesticides becomes a bonus!

Michael
Michael
3 years 11 months ago

Probably not too many of you venture to the site below but Keifers a really smart dude who has his take on this same study. I like it.

http://www.dangerouslyhardcore.com/1891/the-sins-of-organic/#more-1891

ssn679doc
ssn679doc
3 years 11 months ago

I don’t know… Is a Twinkie made with organicly grown ingredients any healthier than a regular Twinkie? Just playing Devil’s advocate here…

Madam von Sassypants
3 years 11 months ago

That’s like an ad I saw today for American Spirit cigarettes claiming to be the only cigarette made of organic, fair trade tobacco and I had to LOL.

jennifer
jennifer
3 years 7 months ago
unless you have been hospitalized and almost died from second hand smoke at age 25, working in a restaurant. Now i am an occasional smoker……not allergic to American Spirits. Some cigs, Camels and Winston don’t make me sick immediately, but Marlboro…throat closes up if you get around me. I am also allergic to antibiotics….hmmmmmmm so i think that organic cigs might actually not be as bad for you. Doc said he could test me to see which carcinogen i was allergic to, or just stay away from smokers. i chose to go organic 🙂 and actually did smoke for a… Read more »
Joel
Joel
3 years 11 months ago

Has anyone else noticed that organic food tastes better? Because I certainly have.

Susie
Susie
3 years 11 months ago

I never liked blueberries … until I had one from my local farmer’s market. And then I was like “Oh! This is what blueberries are SUPPOSED to taste like!” Now I never eat blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries unless I get them from the farmer’s market because they all taste SO much better than store-bought!

Madame Flintstone
Madame Flintstone
3 years 11 months ago

+1

Jay
3 years 11 months ago
Diane
Diane
3 years 11 months ago

Sadly the biggest impacts of non-organic farming are to the people who work in and live near the fields.

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
3 years 11 months ago

Which is, basically, all of middle America.

Robin
3 years 11 months ago

When a plant is grown organically, its “immune” system is more activated to fend of pests resulting in higher antioxidant/nutrition levels. When pesticides are used, the plant does not have to fend for itself, so the pesticides (plant antibiotics)weaken the plants nutritional value.

Lucy
Lucy
3 years 11 months ago

If the 5 digit number starts with 9 it’s organic. 8 is GMO and 4 is conventional.

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
3 years 11 months ago

Thanks!

Scott
3 years 11 months ago
Interesting article and I’m curious to see what kind of data comes out in the future with “organic food.” I always think of it in terms of common sense. I mean, common sense tells you that organic food will be “cleaner” from chemicals, bottom line. Obviously, some foods are more important than others and meat is one type of food that I want as “clean” as possible. The key issue is that there is still a lot to learn about the true benefits of “organic.” I literally just got a book on this topic called “Organic Manifesto” by Maria Rodale… Read more »
Susie
Susie
3 years 11 months ago

Let us know how it is. I’d love to get info like that from a wider variety of sources.

Oscar
Oscar
3 years 11 months ago

I love you Mark and all that you do. You turned my life and my health around. I have nothing but praise for you, but…

Organic is a made up government food category.

That said, locally grown clean food will always be healthier than mass produced, sprayed and injected foods. But that is what feeds the masses.

If I see something labeled organic I don’t just leap up and buy it expecting it to be healthier. In fact I suspect it is no better than the other non-organic food at the big box store when you consider who is regulating the standards.

Ron
Ron
3 years 11 months ago

The FDA didn’t think arsenic was such a bad idea as a feed additive for adding color to chicken meat. Also seemed like a good idea to use the chicken manure for fertilizing rice fields. Arsenic in rice five times permissible levels in drinking water, no big deal. Yeah, I trust the FDA!

RM
RM
3 years 11 months ago

What if you cannot afford alot of organic foods due to your food budget? We live in AZ and it takes time to grow everything organic. Will using a good produce wash, rinsing and scrubbing under running water and peeling what fruits and veggies we can suffice?

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
3 years 11 months ago
Yes, thorough washing and peeling gets rid of a lot of the pesticide residue. You shouldn’t feel afraid of conventionally grown produce! Eating CONVENTIONALLY GROWN fruits and veggies has been repeatedly shown to reduce the risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, even Alzheimer’s. Organic is just the icing on the cake, in health terms. I’m not saying it doesn’t make any difference at all. I’m just saying you don’t have to drive yourself crazy over it. You get maximum nutrition and flavor from freshness–so a local produce stand is a great option, and if they aren’t certified organic, they may… Read more »
jabbyton
jabbyton
3 years 11 months ago

You could sell your computer.

Andrew
Andrew
3 years 11 months ago
It should also be considered that organic farming does not necessarily use the best fertilizer all the time. Any time you are using a conventional “organic” fertilizer, you likely are still adding only part of what the soil needs and needing to add more nitrogen because of the crops are often pulled straight out roots and all. I read a very interesting study about using sea water to fertilize soil (1 part sea water, 9 parts fresh water). The sea water revitalized the soil far better than pharmaceutical fertilizers because of the complete mineral content. (Basically all life is built… Read more »
swetschef
swetschef
3 years 11 months ago

So, it does make a difference in children, but what about adults?

kstephens
kstephens
3 years 11 months ago

I’m pretty sure the “organic” stuff i grow 25 yards from the house is more healthy than any grocery store fodder. As well, I am certain that the deer I kill out back are better for me than a commercial steak or any cut.

Laura Everage
3 years 11 months ago

Great article – My thought is “why take a chance?” To me, there is enough evidence that use of chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics are causing things to go awry. Unfortunately, by the time the ‘concrete’ evidence, that some consumers demand, comes along, it will truly be too late. As it is, it will take a few generations of consuming food free of all this stuff, to undo all that residue that has already seeped into our internal makeup.

Charles Cloessner
3 years 11 months ago

The problem I find is how can we tell if the stores are really selling organic products. Whole Food has been caught selling non organic produce as organic. How many of the stores we buy in has this policy.

Andrew
Andrew
3 years 11 months ago

Look up the book “Sea Energy Agriculture” by Dr. Maynard Murry to understand how you can grow truly sustainable, organic, healthy food. The concept is about as Primal as you can get when it comes to raising crops and animals.

Anjuli
Anjuli
3 years 11 months ago

Thank you for writing this up. I do have couple of questions. What about grass fed meats vs. natural/antibiotic free meats?

I understand that labeling is kind of confusing these days. Almost all grocery store meat products (non grass fed) now say – “natural” no antibiotics used, vegetarian diet, etc. What is your take on that? Would you recommend those vs grass fed if one is running a tight budget. Thanks.

James
3 years 11 months ago
I read through some of the fetal development studies and it seems like a stretch to say that the lower scores were attributed to eating foods containing pesticides. One of the studies was of farm working families who would be exposed to a significant amount of pesticides at their work and from living in a farming community. In the Engel, 2011 study it says that in the group whose exposure to pesticides was primarily through eating fruits and vegetables, the childrens’ development index scores were actually higher. The lower scores were thought to be due to exposure from pesticides used… Read more »
Rod
Rod
3 years 11 months ago

I’ve got to say, this is one of your weaker articles Mark; a little one sided for my tastes.

I hope the follow up ones are a bit more solid and tackle wider issues, specifically whether the high cost of most ‘organic’ food is reflected in a genuinely better quality product.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m open to the idea that organic may be superior (show me some proper evidence though), but believe that at present there is a great deal of marketing hype used to pump up prices.

alex
alex
3 years 11 months ago

“certified organic” is not so important to me as exactly how it was grown and what went on it.

Dr. Matt Hanson
3 years 11 months ago
It is true that organic does not really mean organic anymore (well all it really means is that something contains carbon). You can no longer picture the idilic farm where your eggs, apples, and steaks come from. it is now more like commercial production with a few more standards. I do feel that those standards do keep my family a bit safer so I am happy to pay the extra price at the super market, and those idilic farms still do exist so I make it a priority to seek them out and support them as much as I can.… Read more »
Rob
Rob
3 years 11 months ago

Well here’s what currently is unfolding in my part of the world…another E.coli scare.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-vows-to-boost-inspection-of-plant-at-heart-of-e-coli-outbreak/article4585157/
Prior to that it was Listeriosis and of course of course a few years earlier Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.
Hmmm I wonder if CAFO’s play a small role in this?

Veronica
Veronica
3 years 11 months ago
There are a few issues at work in the organic vs. conventional argument. 1. What is meant by “healthier” and its cousin “safer?” When someone says a conventional carrot is no less healthy than an organic one, what measure are they using to examine the “healthy” claim? Are they comparing vitamin content? Fiber content? Well, it’s certainly possible that a conventional carrot can have the same levels of vitamin A as an organic carrot, and thus be “just as healthy” but what ELSE does the conventional carrot have in/on it that the organic one does not? 2. Organic practices go… Read more »
kem
kem
3 years 11 months ago

I really don’t know what US organic standards are but I think they are a bit more, shall I say, inclusive of technology than here in NZ. Certainly there are tighter animal husbandry and welfare standards here and application of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are more restrictive as well.

However, animals showing signs of disease on organic farms must be treated, culled or sold as conventional. Treated animals must be isolated for a stand-down period and may be re-introduced to the herd or flock.

Madame Flintstone
Madame Flintstone
3 years 11 months ago
Not sure about that Kem. I noticed over the years we (Kiwis) were/are being used as a sort of petrie dish experiment, the results of which encouraged use on a more massive scale in countries like Oz and USA. Off the top of my head they ‘introduced’ cell phones for the masses, eft-pos, fluoride (way back in the day, 30’s I think) very low, invasive chem-trail ops (remember the ‘White Painted Apple Moth’ spraying in Aucklands west? Late 90’s I think). It’s pure speculation but I reckon they gauge how freaked out/welcoming the general population is on a (relatively) tiny… Read more »
mako
mako
3 years 11 months ago

Scam or not,I have eaten organically raised,free range,pastured, chicken,beef,lamb,eggs etc. and the taste difference is astounding.

Just crack an off the shelf,white egg along side a true,free range,pastured organic egg and the physical differences will make your jaw drop.

Tanya
Tanya
3 years 11 months ago

ha! yeah the store eggs look so sickly – poor pale fellows

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