Organic Food is Bunk…Or Something Like That

In 2009 the UK Food Standards Agency commissioned a report which looked at 162 studies on organic food and came to the conclusion that organic food is no more nutritionally beneficial than conventionally grown food. Wow. That’s like comparing a Toyota Prius to a Hummer and concluding that the engines wear out at the same rate. Well, maybe yeah, but that’s not really the deciding factor between whether you buy a hybrid or a gas guzzler. Somebody has just spent a heck of a lot of time missing the entire point.

The report didn’t take into account the effects of pesticides on the human body or the environmental impacts of conventional vs. organic farming. As a purely research-based exercise, I do get it – it was beyond the scope of the project. It’s actually a good and valid exercise to find these things out. In fact, I was rather surprised that 55 out of those 162 studies did find some nutritional superiority in the organic food. But that’s certainly not why I eat it – that’s just a great bonus.

What I do find annoying is when pieces of research like this are picked up by the press, the results are dumbed down and suddenly the headlines read ‘Organic Food is Bunk’ or something like that. I don’t expect more vitamin C if I’m making a squeezing an organic lemon into my lemon drizzle cake; what I do expect is to not be squeezing in a cocktail of herbicides and fungicides and otherwise pesticides. Mmmmm…sodium tetrathiocarbonate cake. Nummy.

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2 thoughts on “Organic Food is Bunk…Or Something Like That

  1. Ben

    Why is it that the ‘organic food’ pushers are so afraid of chemistry and chemical names? This idea that if you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not good is outright rubbish.

    I have no problem with 2-Oxo-L-threo-hexono-1,4-lactone-2,3-enediol btw… Neither do you it seems from this article… What is this sinister tongue twister? Just the IUPAC name for the Vitamin C molecule!

    The organic movement seems to also villify formaldehyde & carcinogens in anything — AS IF these things aren’t found in your organic food!?
    Your apples still contain arsenic
    Your Shittake mushrooms, fresh bread and dead shrimp still contain formaldehyde… I say “DEAD” shrimp, vs. live shrimp as formaldehyde builds up in their system after death.
    Your Basil & fennel contains estragole, a nasty carcinogen
    Tea, coffee, chocolate, & red wine: tannins, carcinogens
    Potatoes contain known poisons: solanine and chaconine
    Tomatoe puree, contains methylglyoxal

    Even “healthy superheroes”: broccoli, cauliflower & cabbage contain allyl isothiocyanate, carcinogen

    And it goes on and on and on… Carcinogens, Mutagens and poisons are as natural as ‘spring water’
    Should you stop eating these things? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
    Why? Because dosage matters.
    The point: If you are going to fear trace amounts of pesticide, then you might as well fear trace amounts of naturally occurring poisons & carcinogens. I just don’t get it, in a time where we are living longer, healthier, happier lives than ever before in the history of mankind; in a time where food-science & global-marketplace allows us access to fresh fruits, vegetables & meats year round, I just don’t understand the organic movement.

    Even if one were to put aside all of the studies that show organic to be neither healthier NOR safer; the biggest black-dot against organic-farming is that it’s unsustainable. It can’t feed everyone!
    Furthermore todays pesticides and herbicides are not the DDT of yesterday. Can such a ‘mistake’ happen again? OF COURSE – this is the cost of progress. Many people died in unforunate circumstances on our path to reach the 100 year life span, (where you can water-ski into your 70s), that the Western World lives today… Unemotional science got us here, not fear-mongering.

    If the science isn’t there, and it isn’t sustainable — then why?

    Recommendation: anything by Dr. Joe Schwarcz

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