Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Oct

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

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.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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.

    Charles Cloessner wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  2. 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.

    Andrew wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  3. 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.

    Anjuli wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  4. 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 around residential complexes.

    James wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • 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.

      Rod wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  5. “certified organic” is not so important to me as exactly how it was grown and what went on it.

    alex wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  6. 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.
    Thanks for posting Mark. Nice reminder why I am investing in my food.

    Dr. Matt Hanson wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  7. 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?

    Rob wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  8. 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 beyond the pesticide issue. Organic, small-farm farmers are likely to care about their crops and soil and use sustainable practices. The conventional farmer is just trying to suck profit from the soil and doesn’t care about putting anything back into it. Depleting the soil through back-to-back crop growing, is why our fruits and veggies have about 50% less of EVERYTHING than they did 100 years ago. Those trace minerals are the only reason to even eat flora, and if they’re missing in the carrot, they’re missing in our bodies as well.

    3. There is a huge difference between corporate organic and your friendly neighborhood organic farmer. Corporate organic is still based on shareholders and profits. Shipping the goods in from whatever country will offer them the cheapest to be marked up for the consumer. These products probably are not markedly more healthy or safe than conventional. However, you cannot even compare the health and benefits of a farm-fresh peach picked 3 hours prior down the road and grown without pesticides. Not even a comparison! That is true organic and that is what we should be aiming for.

    4. What items are we comparing? An organic gummy bear vs. a conventional one? No, the organic gummy bear is not at all healthier than the conventional one. The organic cheese puffs are not any more beneficial than the conventional ones. I can understand the marketing hoopla criticism in that regard. But when we talk about organic meat, eggs, fruit – the things that are ALIVE – yes, organic is likely the beter choice.

    Veronica wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  9. 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.

    kem wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • 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 scale to then employ on a huge scale elsewhere. S’pose I sound paranoid- just trying to figure it out..
      NZ, OZ,UK and US are all going beserk man. Same clowns in charge.

      Madame Flintstone wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  10. 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.

    mako wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • ha! yeah the store eggs look so sickly – poor pale fellows

      Tanya wrote on October 4th, 2012
  11. I buy certified organic in the hope that I’m getting healthier food, but I’m not naïve enough to believe I always get it. However I think I often do. Lab testing the end product would be the only way to really know (swordfish anyone?). Anytime you have a product so similar in appearance to a less expensive one, greed will be a factor. You trust FDA to guarantee food quality? USDA to regulate anything effectively? Sure there’s fraud, but the truth is, many farmers are doing it right. Seek them out. They are the ones who deserve your dollars. If you want the most calories for the least money, don’t worry about organic. You got bigger problems.

    vacexempt wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  12. So are you saying that Organic is grown and harvested without any pesticides whatsoever touching the food in any way? Because that is most definitely not the case. Organic foods are cultivated using “natural” pesticides–about half of which are carcinogenic. So when you do a post on Organic versus Synthetic pesticides, I think we will be much closer to the real issue here.

    Ken wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  13. Let me say first that I eat a mostly primal/paleo diet– mostly it is just low carb, whole foods— but I don’t buy grassfed beef or organic produce anymore (unless it is cheaper or that’s the only option when I want a mango, etc.). If it makes you feel better to eat organic then you should do it. If you want proof it’s better, then seek it out– but beware of an industry that uses shaky data and scare tactics to con you into spending twice as much for your food. For anyone who thinks that organic farmers don’t use pesticides and nasty stuff to fertilize, you should go to some farms- I have. They use “approved” pesticides and fertilizers, but that doesn’t always make them better. I was told by a farmer that he had a local turkey farm spray a tanker full of turkey blood and guts all over his field (which is next to a river)– said it was nasty, but it’s organic!

    http://www.skepdic.com/organic.html

    “Harm from bacterial contamination is a much greater possibility from natural fertilizers (Stossel 2005: 194). (For those of you who hate John Stossel, read the newspaper. The most dangerous bacteria in America’s food supply is E. coli, which is found in abundance in cattle manure, a favorite “natural” fertilizer of organic farming.)”

    jabbyton wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  14. Thank god that the EU banned antibiotics as a growth promoter in agriculture in 2006! I didn’t know it was still legal in the US.

    Martina wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  15. It’s not just our health we need to think about. It’s the health of the ground on which the produce is grown, maintaining the natural fertility of the soil, remembering that when we administer pesticides we also kill off the good bugs, the bees, we poison not just the plant and soil. Whatever studies say pesticides are chemicals designed to kill. They may not kill us outright immediately but I cannot believe that they don’t affect us, the soil and what about the farmers who use them? How are they affected? Paleolithic humans didn’t have to make that choice. The earth was naturally fertile, the food probably healthy. Somewhere along the way, we have learned to wage war on nature and stamp out anything that doesn’t appear to serve us…whilst eventually causing our own health problems. I’d vote organic any day – even better, as home grown as possible! Bon appetit everyone!

    Trixi wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  16. I don’t understand why you would confuse the subject matter. Would you prefer to to eat a large bowl of grapes sprayed with poison & fungisides or would you prefer them grown naturally??? If you do a study to see if organophosphate pesticide helps eliminate pimples on your face, so what, who cares how much shows up in your urine. Do you want poison in your body? To suggest to your readers that this MAY not be to bad is just disgraceful.

    Venicestu wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • FYI– most organic growers also use pesticides and fertilizers– they just happen to be “approved” for organic farming–they aren’t synthetic. Ever heard of rotenone, cevadine, veratridine, ryanodine, dehydroryanodine, piperonyl butoxide, as well as copper and sulfur? Yep all of these are organic-approved. Instead of absorbing every scary thing that the 32 billion dollar a year organic food industry puts out there, you should look at some actual science. It’s easy to do searches for things you believe, like “why organic is better”, but it is smarter to search for things that might be counter to what you think. It helps you make informed decisions.

      jabbyton wrote on October 3rd, 2012
      • There you go misstating the facts, in fact what your doing is trying to spread lies. We had a term for people who tells lies, they were called salesmen. 1st thing you say is most organic growers also use pesticides, even in the Monsanto payed for study they say they found them in only 25% of what they tested. So saying MOST is just a flat out lie. None of the farms I purchase my food from use any pesticides. I know my farmers, I visit there farms. And as far as being smarter and searching for things counter to what I think, I just use God given common sense, I’ll let you experiment with those toxins and you can let me know how that worked out for ya

        Venicestu wrote on October 3rd, 2012
        • I’m not in sales and I don’t spread lies. I just posted my opinion. You’re right, I shouldn’t have used the word most. I should have said that the use of pesticides and fertilizers is also present in the organic farming industry. Organic does not necessarily equal better or safer or healthier. And if you buy anything labeled organic from the grocery store, you just never know. I’ve also visited organic farms have seen pesticides used. The question for both conventional and organic is what ends up on/in the food (if anything) and what, if any affect that has on those of us who consume it. My real point was that we should be critical of information that is SOLD to us by people who stand to make money – in any industry. The organic industry is full of “salesman” who stand to profit on your buying decisions and fear is one of their most powerful tools.

          Me? I eat local as much as possible, but I’m not willing to pay twice or even three times as much for produce just because the organic industry says I should. I sometimes buy organic because something looks better or is the best option at that time.

          Common sense is gathering information from many sources and making informed decisions, not just validating what you already think and dismissing everything that is counter.

          jabbyton wrote on October 4th, 2012
  17. I think we all ought to just stop buying food and switch to hunting, foraging and growing our own!

    Chad wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • That is our plan after we buy a house! Lots of fishing, deer hunting and a HUGE garden…now if we can just win the lottery to speed up this process!

      Sarah wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  18. The NYT did a great takedown of the original study, and how it was scientifically flawed. Can’t believe no one else has mentioned it.

    Golfercraig wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  19. Organic is healthy, and there is a question about how healthy conventional is. Why risk it? No one can say organic is unhealthy. Plus, it promotes sustainable farming which is environmentally healthy. Buying organic, sustainably farmed, local food is also good for the local economy, and ends up being cheaper in the long run for your personal economy. Again, why take the risk with the health of yourself, your family, or your wallet?

    LizS wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • “Why risk it?” I’m absolutely certain that the 32 billion dollar a year organic industry loves this phrase— that should be their slogan.

      And before anyone starts to think I’m anti-organic or work for the conventional farming industry— I’m not. I just hate making decisions based on what-ifs. It’s like going to church just because, well, what if there’s a god— better safe than burning for eternity.

      jabbyton wrote on October 4th, 2012
  20. So the ‘organic’ label is ruined? SO what? Forget organic; find a farmer you trust and buy from them. The GODDAMN EARTH can’t support 7 billion farmers? ITS THE EARTH! Do you understand how big the planet is? Is that really the problem? Let’s find another one if it is, we have the science for that.

    What if we all grew our own food and got out of each other’s faces about it. Would that be sustainable?! Everyone has the right to food that grows *on-its-own* from the Earth. Want to contest that? Really? You pick food up off the ground AND EAT IT! It’s that simple, Jesus would slap you.

    Trust your farmer and eat local seasonal food. Don’t have a farmer? Looks like there’s a job opening, pal! Don’t eat food that makes you sick; you don’t need ‘science’ to show that.

    You don’t need politics, science, or supermarkets to live. Just some Joe or Betty who can grow a freakin’ turnip without using roach poison. What’s the big deal!?

    Will Cook wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • +1

      Nice rant.

      BillP wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  21. I’m a farmer and have had my hands in organic and conventional agriculture. The point I want to make is it costs more to farm organic/sustainable vs. conventional at the present time. I think this may change in the not-so-distant future, (peak oil, etc.). So if you want to vote for organic, you’re going to have to do it with your wallet.

    Curiousfarmer wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  22. Good update on the issue Mark. If buying at the supermarket I try to buy organic in the hope it’s better. On the whole, taste is noticeably improved.

    Still doesn’t beat finding a local producer if you really want to know how you food is raised/grown. Don’t rely on big corporations to look after your health.

    Gary Conway wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  23. I was probably the biggest skeptic about eating organic. I always thought it was a bunch of BS coming from the hippy communities. (I know I suck).
    After reading several stories about people turning their health around just by eating organic and healthy of course(no processed food), It changed the way I saw food and what I bought and prepared for my family.
    My daughters asthma went away after 6 months of eating organic. My older daughter lost 20 pounds and says she feels great. I have lost 30 pounds and I too feel great. I use to have serious GERD, that went away within a week of our new eating habits. We will never go back to conventional food. Not worth it.

    Danielle wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • God bless you for being an open & in tuned mom, everyone around you benefits from your simple truthful wisdom

      Venicestu wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  24. Please suggest what we are going to do about the presence of the Asian fruit fly which is now driving farmers in Maine to utilize insecticides on raspberries and threatens the wild blueberry crops? I heartily agree with organic living!! We have gardened organic for almost 30 years!

    Suze wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  25. A local farmer recently told me:

    1) He wouldn’t get nearly his yield if he farmed organic;

    2) Buying local can make a big difference, depending on the state the produce is grown in. New York State, for example, is way more restrictive than other states on the kinds of pesticides it allows farmers to use (although it allows imports from outside the state and abroad).

    It would be great if Mark could hunt down a list of states that grow the cleanest produce (i.e. the states that are most restrictive on pesticide use).

    Susan Alexander wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • Ditto! I’d love to see that list.

      Weatherwax wrote on October 4th, 2012
  26. Organic. If it´s not rediculously overpriced.
    I don´t like the thought of pesticides in my food.
    It tastes better.
    It´s better for the earth.
    If it´s healthier it´s really nice (and I think it is).
    The rest is enogh, though. :-)

    Elena wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  27. The government can change the definition of certified organic whenever it wants. So there goes the whole effort for GMO labeling. Just when one state would succeed in getting the label, the goverment could change the criteria. What about local farmers? They don’t reveal if they are using GMO seeds. Someone earlier mentioned PolyFace Farms. I, too, am a fan of Joel Saladin, the owner. The government should not be involved in regulating our food or our healthcare. We are overregulated and it is getting worse and worse every day. My local town has now established and Obesity Task Force. It is not the government’s job to tell people how to live, eat, workout, etc. One key reason I got hooked on the Primal Diet is because these posts appear on a libertarian website I frequent called http://www.lewrockwell.com. I am all about food freedom and liberty. The sustainability movement is going to rob us of our freedoms and what our Founding Fathers fought and died for — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (originally property).

    Michele wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  28. There are too many comments to sift through, but my biggest concern over the “scam” of organic is not about whether or not organics are better for you but whether or not you can trust that what is organic truly is. There have been several articles found where food suppliers, soil suppliers, etc were found to be in violation of organic protocols. How can I spend a fortune on produce that may be the same as the cheaper alternative? Who can I trust?

    E wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  29. It seems like a lot of people overlook another important aspect of organic farming…the negative effects of pesticides on our environment. That alone is enough for me to at least attempt to buy organic, which isn’t that expensive if you just buy local, in season food.

    Elyse wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  30. All I have to say is 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men get cancer in America now. Really folks? The emperor is buck naked! We are poisoning ourselves. Please support organic farming. At what point are we all going to say this is not okay? When it is expected that we will all get cancer? We are like the frogs that don’t jump out of the pot when water is heated up so slowly they don’t even notice. Please speak out! The water is getting VERY, VERY warm!

    Emilie wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • Cancer risk from both additive and synergistic effects of dozens of pesticides in our food is still perhaps much less than from the effects of a non-paleo/primal diet (the tumor encouraging effects of elevated glucose & insulin).

      I hope.

      BillP wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  31. My concern is the antibiotics as my WOE consists almost solely of fats and protein, and my protein is beef. I fear I have become estrogen-dominate because of the antibiotics in the beef as my weight has gone up 10+ pounds lately after eating the same diet for years with no weight gain. I try to buy from a local grass-fed place but it’s so expensive, even the cheapest cuts (which are FINE with me.)

    Trisha wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  32. I’ve tried shopping for fruit and veges in organically sensitive markets. I know it isn’t true, but, it seems the food rots over night. It doesn’t seem to taste any better and in the food I tried seems to taste worse. I find that eliminating refined sugar and flour does more for me than going organic.

    Chemically Grateful wrote on October 3rd, 2012
    • I have had this experience at TJ’s. On the other hand, my CSA veggies last forever. It’s a freshness issue.

      Weatherwax wrote on October 4th, 2012
  33. We get a CSA box from a local organic farm and it’s less expensive than shopping either at the farmers market or Whole Foods. The produce is picked and cleaned in the morning and we receive it that afternoon. There’s so much there we almost have trouble getting through it. We also have tried things I wouldn’t have purchased because I didn’t know how to use them, so we’re eating a more varied diet as well.
    I don’t find that it spoils faster than regular store-bought produce. It’s worth it for us, the farmers and the environment.

    Leslie wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  34. now for another side of the coin….if a vege plant shows signs of desease eg: ringspot in celery…the toxins the plant naturally produces 1s extreamly carcinogenic(more trouble that any spray used to combat ringspot…also causes blisters and burns to the skin that will scar for a year before fading
    SO PLEAsE FOLKS – buy unbleamish top quality vege- and dont let any organic grower tell you that its ok to eat bleamished vege and fruit the …’.may not look pretty but its healthy organic’ is not true!! either

    sue wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  35. I am always pleased to avoid pesticides and that was my first motivation to eat organically, but since then I have been more aware of the obligation for humane rearing and treatment of animals.For that reason I am prepared to seek out organic meats. It is often a lot dearer, but the thought of cows that never see grass and are grain fed, pigs reared in crates, or chickens raised in battery conditions is something I really care about.

    Jackie O'Connor wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  36. Hard to believe anyone with any awareness wouldn’t eat organic.

    Yeah, I eat organic. Preferably not the skimpy organic stuff made by Dole, etc. Who knows who owns what these days. Always good to find out where your stuff comes from.

    Billy Buddusky wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  37. Wow: “.. 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.”

    John Steakeater wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  38. This is just my 2cents. I buy some organic produce and some regular. Mostly, the organic is lettuces and celery. There isn’t much of a price difference if any at my local store. I choose to buy the organic because honestly it tastes better. It also lasts longer, which I found odd. If I had the money I would fully commit to organic, but I don’t.

    Sarah wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  39. I don’t buy organic because it has more vitamins, I buy organic because I don’t want to ingest pesticides. I’ve never met anyone who buys organic because they think it has more nutrients in it.

    Here are some excerpts from the abstract of the study and my thoughts:

    1. “17 studies in humans and 223 studies of nutrient and contaminant levels in foods met inclusion criteria. Only 3 of the human studies examined clinical outcomes, finding no significant differences between populations by food type for allergic outcomes (eczema, wheeze, atopic sensitization) or symptomatic Campylobacter infection.”

    Only 3/17 studies examined clinical outcomes. They only concluded that there is no difference in terms of allergic response or infection from a certain bacteria. Well, there are more than 2 diseases in the world. What about the impact on cancer, digestive disorders, mental health, etc.?

    2. “The risk for contamination with detectable pesticide residues was lower among organic than conventional produce (risk difference, 30% [CI, −37% to −23%]), but differences in risk for exceeding maximum allowed limits were small.”

    Interesting point about the negligible risk in exceeding maximum allowed limits of pesticides. May consider buying conventional produce if the difference in ingested pesticide is so small. But what about GMOs? Evidence suggests GMOs are detrimental to health and certified organic means the item isn’t genetically modified or hasn’t eaten anything that’s modified. How can I be sure I’m not buying modified foods or meats fed with modified foods?

    3. “Conclusion: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

    Yes, I never thought organic had more nutrients. And yes, I would prefer to consume less pesticides and resistant bacteria.

    Gorden wrote on October 3rd, 2012
  40. I do not ever buy local produce. The growers in my area regularly use pesticides but they deny it. In fact when I asked one Asian grower if he used pesticides, he pretended he didn’t understand what I was saying.

    Victoria wrote on October 3rd, 2012

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