Meet Mark

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...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
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.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

248 thoughts on “Is Organic a Scam? – Fetal and Child Development and Antibiotic Resistance”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

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

    2. 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 John thinking that if 5 ml will work 5 l will work a thousand times better well no. So I agree that eating organophosphate pesticides have measurable detrimental effects on human life this is not the subject of the article. You were to discuss the differences in available nutrition of properly washed produce weather organophosphates were used or not. I have to give you a giant FAIL on this article for acting like a politician and deflecting the real issue for a more salacious one.

      1. 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……

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

      2. 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 his own blog.

        1. 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.

      3. 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!

      4. 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 of organic do we mean? It definitely needs to be clarified.

        1. 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 things like disrupt our endocrine systems or pollute groundwater.

          So, yes, organic farming employs chemicals such as those mentioned but I suspect that without them we’d be paying even more for organic produce since pests definitely do happen and there has to be economical means for dealing with them.

      5. 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 picker). Also lets not forget the detrimental effect of organophospates on the the planet, Tina didn’t mention algal blooms and the effect on the oceans.

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

        What global ban?

      7. 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?

      8. 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!

    3. 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!!

    4. 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?

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

  2. 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.

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

      1. 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”

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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 organic).

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

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

    2. 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.

      1. 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!

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

    1. 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 years time after eliminating the chemicals, the soil would be fit for organic use, where previously it was un-organic. This is a huge paradigm and a way of making organic produce cheaper. Of course, it would not be possible to sustain the current output of organic crops for everyone to consume.

      1. 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

        1. 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!

        2. 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.

        3. 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.

      2. 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 that require lifesupport fertilizers to survive. I recommend this book for anyone interested in not wasting their land: The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible Edward Smith. Also recommend “Square Foot Gardening” as a beginner’s guide.

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

        But its OK for non-human induced harm

  6. 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.

      1. 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.

    1. 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

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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 production and the pushing of the grain diet that fattens them up faster – not the fact that they eat corn.

        2. 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.

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

        4. 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 hay with seeds/grains attached (fall), dry forage (winter) Simple. We all know that mass produced anything is bad for us, but lets face it – when over 80% of the US population is urban, how do you feed them all? and in a timely way. I disagree with feedlots but people need food, I can make my own choices – and advertise my grassers but most people can’t afford a whole/half/quarter beef at a time, so feedlots still win.

        5. 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)

        6. 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

    2. Tetracycline is extracted from soil bacteria.

      Dum-da-dum-dumb

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

  8. 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.”

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

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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”

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

    3. Is your IQ higher now?

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

  10. 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.

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

    2. 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 perspective because our farmers are not government subsidized like the US.

      1. 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.

        1. 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 really because most of these guys know what they are doing to their land and themselves is harmful – but farming is all they know and they need to make a living. Myself- I will continue to eat my own beef and my own home grown vegetables.

      2. 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. ?

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 with pesticides every time the plane flies overhead.

    2. 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.

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

        1. 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, ie. don’t inhale a bunch of it or get it on your skin, but what is left by the time it hits store shelves is SUPPOSED to be negligible because these products have short half-lives and break down quickly in sunlight/air/exposure to the elements.

    2. 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]!

  13. 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 getting organic

    1. This is the best reason behind shopping local.

      Simply put; know your food!

    2. 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?

  14. 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 hormones as a routine, use modern irrifation techniqies to reduce water use (israel are world leaders in this we should pay attention) and generally farm in a long term sustainable manner both ecologically and economically. Organic is useful in some ways as it highlights food production but it isnt necessary.

    1. 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.

  15. 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 food is still a good idea.

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

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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 massive safety margins aren’t applied. It is the dose and route that makes the poison. Water is pretty harmful by inhalation, its called drowning, yet I suspect none of you are going to stop drinking water. Most studies I look at show effects of some kind and that is good because we can go down to the level that shows no effects and then apply the safety factor to this to determine what level is ‘safe’. We look at residues in crops at ppm levels and calculate 90th percentiles of extreme diets to determine that people will not be exposed to unsafe levels. So personally I avoid organic, but that is my informed and educated decision after working in the regulatory industry for over 10 years. But I do follow the rest of the Primal principles and do eat meat that isn’t treated with antibiotics.

    1. 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 to some extent with smarter practices and careful management, but I doubt that any organic farm will ever have near the output of one that uses appropriate pesticides.

      Not saying I like eating pesticides, but I do like eating vegetables, and if that’s the only way most people can get them, it’s still better than not eating them at all! If cost wasn’t an issue, sure, I’d pick the organic stuff. But I seriously doubt that I am going to get twice the benefit from an organic vegetable that costs twice as much as the traditionally farmed version. I suspect that the only people getting that much benefit are the stores selling the “organic” produce. I’m sure the farmers don’t get that much more.

      I also have an issue with the freakout over “GMO’s” – humans have been genetically modifying plants and animals since we domesticated animals and invented agriculture. It’s just done in a lab now instead of the old fashioned way, ya know, birds and bees and all that. Is the end result really that different?

      Antibiotics is another story. Much of the use of antibiotics is really not necessary, and as noted does have a lot of negative effects. But to me, that doesn’t meant that responsible use of antibiotics when required should be taboo. But if they are required just to keep the animals alive because they are living in unhealthy conditions, then it’s the farming methods that are creating the problem, not the antibiotics.

      Just my own rational thoughts. standing by for the flames…

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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 grey wolf into a “teacup” poodle…

          like it or not, humans mess with things. It’s our nature.

        2. 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.

      3. 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.

      4. 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 restaurant 1,000 miles from saltwater, and is unknowingly served a “fish tomato”?

        We don’t know what happens, because the product never made it to market, but a person with such an allergy might think it’s a valid question. Seedless watermelons, and modern carrots and bananas, on the other hand, don’t pose such potential risks because they’ve arrived thru generations and generations of selective breeding and human consumption – not the laboratory conditions you mention in which the fish tomato is born, comparatively, overnight.

        “We don’t know” is the main slogan of the non-GMO crowd, and their fear is that the big GMO producers haven’t been obliging toward transparency at the expense of immediate profits. They say they “know,” but they didn’t anticipate the pesticide-resistant superweeds promoted by Roundup Ready & Bt crops – which have increased use of pesticides by conventional farmers because their GMO crops are being swallowed whole by GMO byproducts (new weed species), which increases pesticide runoff into the water table, etc….

        I think that’s the point. GMOs screw with an ecosystem, which a lab can’t model. The ripple effects on the system are the worry.

        1. 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.

      5. 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 to see how doing so in a lab suddenly makes it an equal proposition to what farmers having been doing to crops since agriculture began.

    2. “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 General Mills gets called “organic” is hilarious.

      My favorite farmer is not “organic” – to save money. But he’s way beyond that. Is his meat superior to the organic beef at the store? I’m 99% it is. Are his eggs better than the best the grocery store has to offer, definitely. But if I had to buy plain yogurt at the grocery store, it’s going to be for example, stonyfield organics. Is it that it’s “organic” or is it the long list of other farming practices that don’t necessarily include chemical insect control? There’s a lot more to the entire subject and comparing a big-agro farming practice to a big-agro organic farming practice just isn’t a good comparison.

      1. 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.

        1. 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)

    3. 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.

      One of the primary reasons has little to nothing to do with chemicals – it is simply that small scale organic farmers tend to grow long proven, often heirloom varieties that were developed for taste and nutrition, rather than long shelf life and shipping ability, so the varieties themselves are tastier and more nutritious.

      Organic makes a huge difference for anyone with a compromised immune system, and many people have regained their health and vitality simply by switching to an all-organic diet. Truth.

      I have always avoided conventionally grown, chemically contaminated food whenever possible, but that has become vitally important with the advent of genetically engineered crops, and pathologically lying biotech companies such as Monsanto, which still claims that Round-up has no residual soil effects, even after being forced to pay fine after fine because IT IS A LIE. Ditto DuPont, Bayer, Cargill, Syngenta, etc. None of these guys seem to give a damn about anything but profit – certainly not about the health of our people or our planet.

      Personally, I will continue to grow and eat food that I know has not been genetically manipulated or chemically contaminated. My choice.

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

    4. 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.

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

    5. 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 the “safety” of pesticides only seem to be approximately 90 day feeding studies and in light of this look totally inadequate for detecting potential problems. Why are feeding studies generally kept so short? After all people will be eating for the rest of their lives, not just 90 days. And do these pesticide companies ever do actual feeding studies in humans (would never in a million years get me to sign up) or do they prefer to just run their experiments as large involuntary ones without patient consent? Good luck with avoiding organic but you really need to wake up to the folly of believing your own propaganda.

    6. 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. Your quote, “the dose and route makes the poison” is WRONG. It’s been recently proven that high doses of harmful chemicals cause certain types of ills and lower doses that were previously held to be below the harm threshold were shown to cause entirely different, and in some ways more dangerous ills.

      Bottom line: myopic, if inadvertent, chemical industry propaganda.

    7. 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!

  19. 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.

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

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

  20. 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.

  21. 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 mind, and I have much more confidence in the quality of the fat.

    1. 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!

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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 little bit….now just occasionally….and love the home grown tobacco from my friend.

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

    1. 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!

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

  25. 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.

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

  27. 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 and very anxious to read this.

    Good, detailed info, as always!

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

  28. 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.

  29. 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!

  30. 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?

    1. 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 well be cheaper than the grocery store. (At least, they are in Wisconsin).

      If you can afford some organics, here are the fruits and veg with the heaviest pesticide residues: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

      HTH!

  31. 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 around the same make up of sea water – including our blood). Plants are like humans, when they are healthy they have a natural immune system and don’t need pesticide. You can observe rich green forests and flowers and natural fruits without imperfections where the land is untouched by humans. That is because the minerals and nitrogen are replaced by the cycled of nature. Farming can be done that way and has been, but there is very little profit to pharmaceutical companies. And if you didn’t know, the same people that make the drugs to cure you make the fertilizer, pesticides, and anti-biotic for your food 😉

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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

    1. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.)”

  47. 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.

  48. 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!

  49. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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

        1. 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.

  50. I think we all ought to just stop buying food and switch to hunting, foraging and growing our own!

    1. 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!

  51. 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.

  52. 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?

    1. “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.

  53. 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!?

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

    1. God bless you for being an open & in tuned mom, everyone around you benefits from your simple truthful wisdom

  57. 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!

  58. 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).

  59. 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. 🙂

  60. 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).

  61. 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?

  62. 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.

  63. 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!

    1. 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.

  64. 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.)

  65. 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.

    1. I have had this experience at TJ’s. On the other hand, my CSA veggies last forever. It’s a freshness issue.

  66. 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.

  67. 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

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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.”

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. Remember people, read up on Colloidal silver. We use it for every infection, and virus we have. It cures eye infections. There is no virus or bacteria that can survive exposure to silver. Learn to make it, and get past any health threat the doctors can create.

  75. More food for thought: in the same way that overuse of antibiotics is leading to greater antibiotic resistance in bacteria, overuse of pesticides is leading to an escalation of “superweeds”, which in turn requires more pesticides… phttp://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/02/us-usa-study-pesticides-idUSBRE89100X20121002

  76. “Organic” should always be coupled with “Local”. I don’t want organic from Mexico, I want it from my local farmer!

  77. The anti-organic, pro-chemical crowd will make a meal of this, but as far as I can tell, both sides are missing part of the issue.

    The dangers of spraying poison on our food and eating it is only half the problem. The other half is the type of farming that we started using in the 20th century. We no longer use natural interventions like crop rotation to produce nutrient dense food. This was proven many decades ago in Britain, where the nutrient content of produce were compared over time. Even as far back as the 1930s, the research showed that the nutrient content was steadily declining.

    So it still comes down to spraying our crops with chemicals.

  78. I’m a little surprised and disheartened that so much time and thought is being given in these comments to arguing the validity of a study conducted by a university department which is supported by the Freeman Spogli Institute. Guess who funds THEM heavily? (Hint: One of the biggest rhymes with ‘Consanto’, and I believe there’s one that rhymes with ‘Bargill’, among others…) Especially after just last night seeing a “No on 37” ad featuring one Henry I. Miller, MD of that very same university (who also happens to be a great proponent of re-introducing DDT to the US (remember who makes THAT?)

  79. I’d like to also thank Mark for sort of calling out the Orwellianly named “Science Based Medicine”. These hypocritical phonies are anything but science based, as science does not include hand-picked data that is convenient and ignore data that is not. I’ve tangled with many of these people of varying intelligence levels (they like to call themselves “skeptics”) and the responses range from frustrated ad hominem attacks to entreaties for my science, which they will then ignore.

    Anything that does not conform to the AMA-Pharma axis must ONLY use random, double-blind testing, ignoring the fact that valid scientific testing includes a wide range of test types, and ignoring the fact that their own medical industry uses very little of that form of testing (how would you use randomized, double-blind testing for surgical procedures?). The nail in their coffin at this point is the fact that the British Medical Journal (itself a proponent of “evidence-based medicine) set out to study the efficacy of standard western medical interventions. After studying the outcomes of 2,500 interventions, they found that 52% of them (that’s right: FIFTY TWO percent) had no efficacy, unknown efficacy, or poor efficacy. Are these the result of randomized double-blind testing? Every single time I point that out to these people the result has been [crickets].

    Add to that the onslaught of fallacies and hypocrisy and you see that “Science Based Medicine” and “Evidence Based Medicine” are, for the most part, just dogmatic instruments of propaganda.

  80. Since I have actually BEEN to some of these 3rd world countries where organic fruits are grown, I know for a fact that the organic stuff grows right along side the non-organic and they are treated exactly the same (nothing is done at all in most cases. the fruit is just left to grow. think pineapples, bananas etc.

    As to meats, you might want to check out Hallal or kosher because HGH etc. are forbidden.

    but what do I know…my family has been eating like this for years and our life span on the low side is 90 (unlike paleo which is ~45 if you read and believe studies)

    1. I’m not sure how your family’s lifespan vs ‘the paleo lifespan’ is relevant here, particularly since the ‘cavemen only had an average lifespan of 30 years’ topic has been beaten to death here, and also… What are you trying to say about organic vs non? It’s better, the same, no different? And how has your family been eating? Paleo? SAD? Other?

  81. Organics is the only issue I really disagree with Mark on. While the foods you can get at the farmers markets may be better for you, those “organic” produce you get in supermarkets isn’t going to be any better than regular food. People mistakenly believe that “organic” means no pesticides, instead it actually means no artificial pesticides. This is simply the naturalistic fallacy that if its from nature its fine, if its artificial its bad. Natural pesticides aren’t any healthier than artificial.

  82. I don’t care what anyone says, I’m not giving pesticide coated produce and antibiotic/ammonia soaked meat to my 30 and 40 lb babies. I realize I can’t be perfect, the 2 year old still manages to chew the finish off furniture and toys, but if I’ve got a choice, I’ll voice my values with my wallet. I’d far rather trade in the iPhone and new clothes than compromise the health of my family. Ain’t no study going to convince me otherwise.

  83. Organic food has no GMO. That is the true value of it.

    STOP GMO in our food source. Fish DNA is in our tomatoes, only to benefit large agri-busisness corperations. When fish cells are added to tomatoes, they stay fresh longer during shipping.

    Where are the long term effect studies of what GMO food will do to us and our children? Wake up America We deserve better.

  84. There are well informed people on this blog.

    We all MUST keep putting the word out.

    NO No GMO!!!

    Our children and their children deserve better.

  85. I have a local grower who says his food is “organic equivalent.” when I asked him what this meant he said that here in the US, the process of becoming organically certified would have taken his farm way too long to accomplish, he would have had to halt production for several of the required “tests”, and he also would have had to pay enough regulatory fees that it would have effected his ability to pay his employees. I mean, the guy has to continue to produce product and pay his employees to make a living!

    So in his case, “organic equivalent” being that he farms using completely 100% certified organic farming methods (I’ve been to his farm), but can’t actually get the US Government’s seal of “organics” is good enough for me to trust his products. Know your sources folks, keep in mind that just because they can’t call themselves organic doesn’t mean they aren’t a reputable and completely trustworthy source of produce, meat, and other products that are essentially “organic equivilant.”

  86. I was under the impression that all seeds are soaked in pesticides including organic produce. The difference in organic was the soil pesticides are natural and less spray is used on the plants.