10: The definition of “organic”!
While a lot of us are meant to believe that organic means all-natural and that means earthy goodness rather than chemical “ickiness” – the fact is that a lot of conventional methods – pesticides, fertilizers containing synthetic ingredients and bioengineering – are all beneficial. You think of “pesticide” and all that comes to mind is “poison”, but some pesticides pose very little threat to humans, especially in the amounts that survive the rest of the season, harvest, and washing produce when you get home (which you should always do). Also, they prevent BUGS from getting in/on the produce, which can ruin the produce and your health in just as many ways as pesticides possibly could. “Organic” itself is still not a clear concept, since the USDA and FDA recognize FOUR categories of “organic”, ranging from “100% organic” (level as indicated) to “organic” (95% organic ingredients) to “made with (some) organic” (70% organic, 30% non-organic, no USDA organic seal). Oh, and did I mention that “organic ingredients” includes feces? You know, cow manure and other animal waste, not to mention the bugs crawling on it because no pesticides are allowed…
9: The myth of environmentalism! While most scientists WILL admit that organic methods MUST use the soil and natural fertilizers, so the soil is technically gaining nutrients (especially while in fallow) – not all will admit that it “conserves water”. Also, the fact that the manure is all-natural means that it runs risks if not handled and/or composted properly. Uncomposted or improperly composted manure that enters surface waters many contain pathogens and subsequently contaminate produce – and that’s coming from the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association!
8: The myth of cleanliness! Let’s face it – vegetables grow in the dirt. They are always grown with SOME kind of fertilizer on top of them. That’s not the cleanest thing to begin with. ALWAYS WASH fruits and vegetables first, organic or not! With organic foods, the natural fertilizers are far more likely to harbor molds, insects, and disease that will seriously ruin your health and your day; FAR worse than any of the risks associated with consuming possible residual pesticide.
7: The myth that pesticides CAN be eliminated! Let’s face it – pesticides are pretty much the BIGGEST worry of organic-buyers. The sad fact is that the damage has ALREADY been done, for the most part. Even if crops are organically-grown and treated and harvested, they all grew in the ground, which over the years has already absorbed pesticides and is found in residual amounts. These residues are usually from long-banned chemicals like DDT, which remain in the environment and it’s not a problem organic farming methods can solve.
6: The look! The look pretty much says it all. Pick up some conventional produce. Pick up its organic equivalent. The greens are greener, the reds are redder. It looks better, probably feels heavier because it contains more, and it simply feels better when you touch it. It’s one of the benefits SCIENCE brings to the table, protecting and preserving those colors and textures.
5: The freshness! Yet another benefit of science and chemicals that organic farmers just can’t use is the nature of preservatives. These lovely chemicals make sure that food lasts longer, avoids premature spoilage, and keeps that fresh look and taste in the food much longer than natural methods ever could. Well, unless you dehydrated the fruit – which you could technically do with either category, yes?
4: The taste! Double-blind taste tests (where neither investigator nor taster knows the food source) invariably show that consumers cannot taste the difference between organic and regular foods. The main reason behind this, as studies show, is that taste is most closely related to freshness. If you use totally fresh foods in the comparison, people can’t tell the difference in blind taste tests. But the fact that conventional foods stay fresher over a longer period of time means that taking 5-day old foods and comparing them would probably generate MUCH different results in a taste test.
3: The myth of nutrition! Alan McHughen, a professor at the University of California-Riverside, says that results from independent scientific studies show no meaningful difference between organic and conventional foods in the basic nutrients, in vitamins, in minerals, in proteins or in calories. There’s just no nutritional difference between organic and conventional methods.
2: The myth of pesticides! We’ve already mentioned that pesticides to more than “pose a threat” to consumers, even though the pesticides pose very little danger since most of us grew up eating them and the levels are usually too small to do any real harm. The pesticides protect the food from bugs that can cause much more damage and produce much more dangerous and deadly results than the pesticide ever could. Also, we mentioned that the pesticide is already out there and in our soil. Organic farming can’t REMOVE it, it just doesn’t ADD to it. But here’s the brilliant part: sometimes it doesn’t even matter in the first place. First off, most residual pesticide gets washed off if you bother to wash your produce like you should. Here’s the best part: most produce we eat contains a skin or rind that we don’t eat – the part that would have the pesticide on it. Pick up a banana, organic or not, and peel it. Eureka – no more pesticides of any kind! Just please don’t eat that banana peel, okay?
1: The cost! Speaking of bananas and their impervious nature against pesticides thanks to the peel and all – the organic variety of bananas usually cost 50% to 80% more per pound than their conventionally-grown counterparts. Why would you pay almost twice as much for a food that contains the same amount of pesticides (zero), looks less colorful, spoils much faster and therefore could taste less delicious in time than the conventionally farmed version? No proof exists to show that organically grown foods are safer or healthier – scientists will tell you that. So why pay more?
In conclusion, organic foods simply aren’t worth it. I bought organic food during one shopping trip and can completely agree with some of these studies. It tasted worse (probably because I didn’t eat it until the next day) and looked worse, cost more than I wanted to spend and really worried me once I read about the dangers of organic farming. For the health-freaks out there, there’s no nutritional difference. For the panic-attackers, there’s less risk from the conventional product (you KNOW it’s pesticide-fear, so WASH it, PEEL it, remove outer leaves to clean better, and trim fat from meat and the skin of poultry and fish as some pesticides may collect there as well) than the dangerous molds, insects, and disease that are harder to identify or clean/remove. For the flavor-junkies, there’s no difference when fresh, but since conventional products stay fresh longer, they’ll taste better (and look nicer) over a longer period of time. Finally, for the spendthrift – who MOST of us are, especially if you’re used to doing the shopping for yourself or your family – organic is much more expensive. And as I’ve shown, that extra cost just doesn’t provide any benefit, other than the possibility of a shiny USDA Organic seal. Which I guess you could cut out and put on the fridge.
It’s just not worth it.Don’t buy organic foods.