Is Organic Food a Waste of Money?

A new study challenges the conventional wisdom on organic food.

Everyone knows by now that organic foods are aren’t objectively superior to their conventional counterparts. Right?

Exactly.

Many of us have been told for years that organic food was healthier (for people, streams, bees, cows, Gaia, etc.) than conventional alternatives.

But others have disagreed.

“Organic foods may cost nearly twice as much as ordinary foods without offering consumers extra nutritional values.”

That was the conclusion reached by a USDA official in a report issued in 1974.

The debate raged. But this week a report issued by Stanford University researchers attempted to answer the question once and for all.

The study, a meta analysis of more than 200 studies over the past decade looking at the nutrient and pathogenic content of organic food and conventional food, concludes that organic food is a big fat waste of money.

Organic critics pounced.

Roger Cohen of The New York Times writes he “cheered” the study's results. Reason magazine's own Ronald Bailey pointed to the study as evidence in support of his conventional-is-king beliefs.

Among those not openly cheering for the conventional alternative, responses to the study have ranged from measured to somewhere between snarky and unhinged.

But is the Stanford study really the final say? There are reasons to be skeptical of the research.

"[M]eta-analysis has many well-known pitfalls,” write a trio of Harvard School of Public Health faculty in a 2001 letter to British Medical Journal editors. “These include lack of homogeneity of the studies, failure to consider important covariates, inadequate understanding of the scientific subject in question, failure to consider quality of the studies, and biases in including or excluding certain studies.”

Meta analyses also tend to feature multiple articles on the same topic by the same author. The Stanford study is no different. For example, footnotes 50, 52, and 53 of the Stanford study point to three separate articles on antimicrobial resistance by J.M. Miranda and co-authors. Footnotes 59, 60, and 63 point to separate insecticide articles co-authored by C. Lu C. Notes 62, 66, 69, 259, and 260 cite B.A. Stracke’s various research on nutrient content of foods.

This is not to impugn in any way the work of Miranda, C, and Stracke—nor that of the Stanford study authors. They may all do fine work. But a “meta” study of 223 studies becomes much less meta—and in fact appears much more beta—when it turns out the study is in fact just a literature review pointing to a series of different studies by many of the same authors.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Simply put, lots of non-organic producers falsely claim their products are organic.

    I agree with Linnekin. This nation deserves - no, requires - tighter regulation of the organic food industry. As a food Luddite myself, I don't want my tummy tainted with the vile spawn of food engineering. I don't care about spots on my apples; leave me the birds and the bees, please!

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    This does not matter. If anything, a study which tried to differentiate between fake organic and true organic would be more meaningless.

    What counts is what consumers perceive to be organic, and that is exactly what this study purports to measure. If I, as a consumer, buy organic produce based on the label, that is what needs to be measured, because it is all that I have to go on. If food is mislabeled, that is still all I have to go on, it governs what I buy, and that is what needs to be measured.

    If that is the best argument available as to why this study is meaningless, then the only conclusion is that the organic label itself is meaningless, which is exactly what this study says.

  • Xenocles||

    You don't think it would be meaningful to account for the authenticity of the products you are testing? Certainly it would be useful to know how often a particular product is counterfeited, but isn't the quality of the genuine article relevant too?

    I hardly think it would be fair to test a "Honduh" car for quality, find it wanting, and declare that Hondas are garbage.

  • Brett L||

    If you tested 70 Hondas and 30 Honduhs, while trying to test 100 Hondas, and couldn't establish a meaningful difference, that would be a problem.

  • Xenocles||

    Yes, but what if your test put 100 Honduhs up against a mixture of 10 Hondas and 90 Honduhs posing as Hondas? I have no idea how bad the counterfeiting problem is in the food industry. That and/or sample selection could have a large hidden impact in the testing.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    What matters is that the consumer sees only an "organic" sticker, and this study says food differentiated by that sticker has no discernible differences.

    There are three possible explanations. First, there is no difference, and the very idea of organic is a waste of words. Second, the label "organic" is meaningless because it is so shoddily defined. Three, counterfeiting, actual fraud.

    My money is on combinations of 1 and 2. I doubt there is much counterfeiting simply because there are so many different meanings to "organic" that just about any food can be so labeled.

  • Xenocles||

    "I doubt there is much counterfeiting simply because there are so many different meanings to "organic" that just about any food can be so labeled."

    That's not actually true - many local farmers around here are far more "organic" than the big organic producers, but they can't afford the official certification so they can't use the label.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    A farmer's willingness to pay for he sticker has no bearing on the matter. It means he thinks the sticker does not add enough value to pay for its cost.

    The certification cost may be more than chicken feed, but it's small compared to everything else. I'd say his judgement about its worth says more than you or he is willing to admit.

  • Xenocles||

    Yes, it doesn't add enough to his value because his customer base is small enough to allow them to know him and have the opportunity to personally check his farm out. The point remains that a study of organically labelled food will necessarily exclude these farmers.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Yes, the study will exclude such farmers and that is the point of the study, that the label is meaningless and there is no difference between organic and non-organic, *as perceived by the consumer*.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    If the consumer *cannot* tell the difference between Honda and Hunduh because of mislabeling, then the study should not try to differentiate either.

    What matters is what the consumer sees. The consumer sees only an organic label. This study says there is no difference in quality between unlabeled food and food with an organic label.

    Any study which drilled down to determine what really is organic despite the label would be worthless, since (a) no consumer has that knowledge, and (b) the word itself has so many meanings as to be meaningless.

  • Xenocles||

    Yet I know that if I mistakenly buy a counterfeit part and it fails, it doesn't really say anything about the firm that I thought I was buying from. I don't judge Oakley by the sunglasses available on the street, I judge them by the specimens that are traceable back to them. Why should the organic label be different?

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Because this study isn't measuring counterfeitness, it is measuring what the consumer goes by.

    It's not as simple as counterfeiting anyway. It's not real or fake. It's not a brand name. There are so many categories of "organic" that the sticker is meaningless.

    If you want to differentiate between true organic and non-organic, then you must first come up with a single definition of organic.

  • Sam Grove||

    Well, they were able to differentiate based on the levels of pesticides.

  • Fluffy||

    Is “quality” meaningful or not?

    It can be, but the idiosyncratic tastes of the consumers who seek out organic products make it hard to be sure.

    Many organic consumer preferences tend to be just as associated with sight as they are with taste. They can recognize a conventional agriculture tomato or apple by sight, and they know that everyone else can, too. And they tend to claim that the "heirloom organic" alternative varieties they prefer are superior in taste and quality, when what they really want is something that looks different so that others can see that they've purchased a high-end product, or so that they can use it as a conversation piece to prove how "interesting" they are and how "discerning".

    Sometimes there really is a quality difference - it would be hard to not admit that heirloom tomato varieties don't taste the same as conventionally grown varieties. But sometimes there isn't. At Aldi, for example, they sell extremely inexpensive apples, that are inexpensive because they're low-quality seconds that were rejected for sale to respectable supermarkets because they're deformed or discolored. So these are bad apples we're talking about. But if I took them out of their plastic bag and tried to pass them off as "heirloom organic apples", I'd definitely get away with it precisely because they're so ugly-looking. Your average Whole Foods shopper would assume they had to be better because they're non-standard.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Taste and appearance do not correlate with each other, except for with the appearance of ripeness or spoilage. The taste of a tomato ('organic' or mass market) varies widely based on source, season, and weather. Retailers still purchase produce on a market system, bidding on truckloads en route and shit like that.

  • stuartl||

    Actually there was a recent study that showed the same genes that cause uneven coloring and greenness (ugliness) in tomatoes causes sweetness. These genes have been bread out of the cardboard tasting pure red grocery store tomatoes.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Why should I care if organic is "higher quality" or whatever?

    It's none of my business if someone wants to pay for certified organic food, no matter what motivates them to do so.

  • Overt||

    There is the problem that these people start to form a subculture that justifies its fashion-taste by insisting that it isn't based on fashion at all, but safety and prudence. These people then go scaremongering and trying to enact laws to get others to adopt their fashion so they can feel better about themselves.

    Studies like the one are above are important, not because they stop the fashion followers, but because they counteract those organic zealots in their quest to force us all onto their pricey menu.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    Especially when they insist on spending more tax dollars on subsidized organic lunches in public schools.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    You should also care because of what has happened now that the regulators and rent seekers have captured the term.

  • An0nB0t||

    IIRC, Joel Salatin wrote a sentence or two about this very issue. Pollan too.

    The USDA Organic certification is as much a corporatist joke as anything that the federal gov does.

  • Rich||

    articles co-authored by Lu C.

    "Lu C", eh?

    Come on, Linnekin! It's C. Lu, as in Chensheng Lu.

  • Baylen Linnekin||

    Changed. Thanks.

  • Ice Nine||

    Good. That really screwed me all up, having to read it as "Lu C".

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Thanks for clarifying that. I thought it was Steigerwald's new code name.

  • ||

    No, her code name is "Stag".

  • ||

    Bring me the engineered veggies please. Specifically, I would like beans that could make me fart more. I want to be able to do the whole alphabet while farting. Can someone make that possible?

    Could I get stuff engineered to compliment my genome? I.e. being a spaz with a useless spleen.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If it’s true that a wealthy consumer eating organic lettuce that reflects their values is getting the same level of nutrients as a low-income person eating conventional lettuce that reflects financial value, then that’s worth celebrating. Right?

    I think this gets pretty close to right.

    It should be noted, too, that people buy organic for more reasons than just the nutritional value.

    They may buy it for the same reason they buy a Prius--becasue they think organic produce has less of a negative impact on the environment.

    Just for the record, designer clothing doesn't keep anybody warmer than regular clothing, either. But then a lot of people buy one pair of jeans over another for reasons that aren't really about keeping warm. If enough of a market springs up to serve such consumers and their preferences, then that doesn't mean such consumers are being taken advantage of.

    To the contrary, their interests are being well served. And if there's a new and better way for more nutritious food to distinguish itself in the marketplace from less nutritious organic food, then we can expect that standard to emerge from within the organic market itself.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    buy one pair of jeans over another for reasons that aren't really about keeping warm

    Jeans should never be about "keeping warm". Rememberm "cotton kills".

    /snowbelt resident

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    NPR did a program to update their listeners on these shocking results, and the host (guest host?) actually said that many organic food eaters felt the scientists weren't respecting their values. The phrasing was precisely what you might expect from someone who was describing young-earth creationists. The difference is that his description encompassed core members of the NPR audience.

    For all their professed attachment to science and evidence, you would expect NPR listeners to say, "hmmm, further study is warranted, let us construct better experiments which avoid the difficulty of these earlier studies...and until further evidence is in, let us be skeptical of health claims about the organic food.

    Instead, if the NPR host is to be believed, the response from some listeners is more along the lines of "OMG those godless secular humanists are attacking our faith!"

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think a lot of people who are pointing to this study (Ronald Bailey excluded) really are going after the Prius driving, Whole Foods shopping, latte swilling, NPR listening, yuppie types out there--for what they perceive as those people's elitism.

    For a lot of people, I think their disdain boils down to class envy.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, class envy and politics.

    I suspect a lot of people associate Prius driving, Whole Foods shopping, latte swilling, and NPR listening with Obama voting, and in an election season...

  • Ska||

    Did you ask Spike Lee to describe a white urban liberal, and came up with that paragraph?

  • Ken Shultz||

    No, it's mostly gleaned from stuff I've read from other commenters here at Hit Run over the years!

    Hell, I've been denounced as a "latte swilling liberal" and a "paleoconservative" by different people--in the same thread!

    Oh, and I've lived in Southern California for a long time. Believe me, there really are a lot of people like that.

    There are a lot of people who vote for Obama out of a sense of shared identity--they see it as part of being a Prius driving, Whole Foods shopping, latte swilling, NPR listener.

    Just like there were a lot of people who voted for Dubya out of a sense of shared identity, who saw it as part of being a truck driving, NASCAR watching, church going, whatever.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people don't vote (or think) based on reason or facts. They choose to believe in whomever they can identify with the most. I think there are a lot of people out there who associate organic food, vegetarianism, etc. with a cultural identity why they consider hostile to their own.

    And I think when I've heard people talk about this report elsewhere, a lot of the stuff i hear is driven by that.

  • Ska||

    I just meant the cadence and style reminded me of Do the Right Thing or 25th Hour. Just like there are people who don't fit stereotypes - there are people who do. I live in NYC and I've met plenty of the people you've described. I tend to get in trouble at parties when I just start laughing when they don't understand what the joke is.

  • Overt||

    Ken- I certainly do find the 'cultural' pro-organics to be hostile to my lifestyle. If they lived and let live, I'd be fine. But these people are not content to do so. They pass around scary articles, trying to whip up support for anti-gmo legislation, and pressure local stores to reduce the non-organic sections further than economics would justify.

    So yeah, I'll use this study to indict their culture just as I would use another study to take the wind out of the sails of some religious activist culture trying to impose sky-god morals on me

  • Ken Shultz||

    I appreciate that.

    I hope you appreciate that this is the stuff that the culture war is made of and that the culture war is one of the biggest obstacles holding us back from living in a more libertarian world.

    Pardon my language, but the first rule in getting out of a cluster-fuck? Is to let go of whatever you're holding onto. Then maybe you can talk other people into doing the same.

    I get mad, too, sometimes, and I won't say I'm perfect. But I don't think we're ever going to achieve much by assaulting each other's sense of identity.

  • Overt||

    I'm sorry Ken, but that isn't true. Cultures will always be in battle- trying to convert others to their cause. That will happen in a libertarian society too.

    The problem is that some of these cultures are taking to using the government and scare tactics to win the war.

    I lived among these people in Pasadena, CA for 10 years. Many friends who nevertheless had no problem using scary stories about GMOs and Pesticides to enact legislation. They will do this whether I "let go" or not.

    The only hope is to counter their propaganda with studies like this, so that the mushy middle doesn't go along with their power grab "for the children".

  • ubercynic||

    Unfortunately, a lot of people don't vote (or think) based on reason or facts.

    I don't vote, based on reason and facts.

  • ||

    I see what you did there.

  • ubercynic||

    I was going more for snark than subtle, but I suppose I should have omitted the italics.

  • Randian||

    I think a lot of people who are pointing to this study (Ronald Bailey excluded) really are going after the Prius driving, Whole Foods shopping, latte swilling, NPR listening, yuppie types out there--for what they perceive as those people's elitism.

    I am going after people who are unfairly maligning technology and propagating scare techniques about ZOMG 'chemicals'.

    The late-80s manufactured controversy over Alar is instructive. Apple growers lost millions of dollars based on the 'danger' that people might consume 5,000 gallons of apple juice per day.

    That's anti-science scaremongering. New Luddism is one of the most dangerous ideologies out there.

  • ||

    People, of course, have the right to choose whatever they want to eat and the market will provide. (see what I did there?)

    My bitch with the organic food nonsense is the claim that the nitrogen in cow manure is somehow different (more natural and thus better for you) than the nitrogen in a bag of fertilizer.

    There is nothing that exists in this universe that isn't natural. The assumption that because something came about without the help of man, it is automatically better for you is absurd.

  • ||

    For me, the distain for organic-food-eating precedes the distain for Obama-voting by many years. If anything I'd say that liberals irrational attachment to organic foods made me dislike them in the first place.

    It was one of the first markers of liberals as snobby status-seeking idiots who think they are way smarter than they actually are.

    The fact that organic was no better for you was something anyone could discover for themselves, easily, by reading the research themselves, for the last 30 years. Yet the left INSISTED on believing it was better and essentially attacked and insulted anyone who disagreed with them vociferously. It's been a sacred cow of theirs for decades.

    So, you know, because of that, I had an early heads up that a lot of things that liberals believed were bullshit, which made it easier to realize that their beliefs about nuclear were bullshit, and win, and solar, and electric cars, and pretty much everything about economics.

    So, thank you organic foodies for cluing me in about how stupid the left really is early. I'm so glad it caused me not to be one of you.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Yes! I love my purple potatoes and yellow tomatoes and Whole Foods experience as much as anyone, because for me, it's fun! But people who are freaked out about GMOs who think it's actually some kind of a PLOT are nutty. There is a kind of "you-can't-fool-ME" smug attitude that I find off putting.

  • ||

    There's heavy crossover with the kind of folks who screech about the evils of "evidence-based medicine".

  • Brandybuck||

    If you head on over to a Skeptics group, you'll find they have a consensus that Republicans are anti-science. Yet the same Skeptics will not see with this Democrats. Skeptics will agree that organic nutrition, acupuncture, new age woo, anti-chemical, etc., are all bunk, but fail to recognize that their proponents are nearly always Democrats.

    Democrats are waging war on science too, but Democrats are better at directing tax money towards the sciences, to it's not polite for Skeptics to talk about it.

  • Nancy Wood||

    LOL!!

  • ||

    From the aricle:

    “Organic foods may cost nearly twice as much as ordinary foods without offering consumers extra nutritional values.”

    That was the conclusion reached by a USDA official in a report issued in 1974.


    The NPR host also expressed the belief that no one had ever questioned the superiority of organic food before. I really expect much better research from an group that prdes itself as a superior news organization.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Also, this part in the New York Times piece bugs the hell out of me:

    Conventional fruits and vegetables did have more pesticide residue, but the levels were almost always under the allowed safety limits, the scientists said. The Environmental Protection Agency sets the limits at levels that it says do not harm humans.

    Well, obviously, if the Environmental Protection Agency says something, then it must be true!

    If organic and conventional were exactly the same price, how many people here would rather feed their children food with more pesticide residue?

    Is there somebody out there who thinks eating pesticide is better for your health than not eating pesticide?

    If people out there think eating more pesticide is okay--just because the EPA says so? Then we've got bigger problems than whether consumers of organic food mistakenly think they're getting food that's more nutritious.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    YEah, that kind of bugged me, too. I (almost) always wash fruits and veggies now, and I don't (appear to) have any dain bramage from (probably a lifetime) ingesting pesticides. But why skip a couple seconds under the faucet of my sink (wellwater, tested clean, of corse!) to try to get as much off as possible.

  • ||

    I DON'T wash my food and also don't (appear) to be dain bramaged. The difference between you and I is that I'm pest free.

  • SIV||

    OH NOES, PESTICIDES!

    Better watch out for the dihydrogen monoxide too, Prius-Boy. It's highly corrosive and inhalation of even a small quantity causes DEATH

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    C'mon SIV - pesticides are EXACTLY like water.

    Come on...

  • Brett L||

    Acute LD50 dose in rats of most EPA approved pesticides pesticides is more than 1000 mg/kg bodyweight. I don't know of any that are suspected of doing anything worse than causing minor topical irritation if spilled as a concentrate. In short, were you to dip a piece of fruit in pesticide and eat it, the apple would taste funny and you might not want to rub your eyes lest you get the same level of irritation as chopping jalapenos and rubbing your eyes.

  • Xenocles||

    I don't think it's unreasonable to worry that a steady low dose of a known poison could have detrimental systemic effects. Do we know if it remains in the body and concentrates somewhere?

    There's a lot of space between immediately lethal and perfectly safe, is all I'm saying.

  • Brett L||

    Pesticides aren't "known poisons" at a the same dosage as, say, caffeine. A known poison most people take that actually seems to have some benefits taken at low dose. For low dose to be a problem it has to be something your body doesn't get rid of. It has to accumulate.

  • Xenocles||

    And that was my second question, if you look again. Do you know the answer?

  • ||

    Better living through chemicals.

    /The DOW corporation, the makers of spandex and napalm, both designed to stick to human skin

  • Xenocles||

    Actually, it was my only question. Sorry for any confusion.

  • Overt||

    Yes, the EPA recommendations are based on the balance of science that states the body tolerates a lifetime of consuming chemicals at this level. Strangely enough, your concern WAS considered by scientists who spend their lives doing this sort of stuff.

    You and Ken both have a reasonable fear, but it isn't based on facts. You both see something that is poisonous to insects and reasonably fear that they are poisonous to other living things. Likewise, you fear that something which may be VERY BAD in high doses must be somewhat bad in small doses.

    But the world is filled with counterexamples to these reasonable, but faulty fears. Setting water aside, think about alcohol. It is a recent chemical addition in our evolution. In high doses it is toxic to our body. And in small doses, it can actually be beneficial. Likewise, there are many things we consume each day that are extremely poisonous to lifeforms with substantially different physiologies.

    And scientists have spent a lot of time confirming that these pesticides are safe for use. That doesn't mean people won't have the same reasonable but irrational fears as you and Ken. But it is still irrational.

  • ||

    As for alcohol, I prescribe to Francisco's Law of Extremes, which states:

    If one beer is good for you, extreme quantities of beer is extremely good for you.

  • ||

    Yes, indeed if anything I suspect the EPA standards are too strict.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think there's some risk there.

    I think the cost of buying organic is worth it to avoid that risk.

    Did I mention that I've got some pretty intense food allergies that sometimes send me into the early stages of anaphylactic shock?

    But why should that matter? Some people will pay a premium for a classic car in their favorite color? Is that irrational, exactly?

    If I think the cost of buying organic is worth it in order to avoid whatever risk, you can't tell me the qualitative choices I make based on those risks are irrational.

    Well, I suppose you can, but they're not. Some people are wealthier than others--and some wealthy people are more concerned than others about their health. Who are you to say such people are being irrational for buying organic food?

    I can't believe some of you people are the same people who want to legalize marijuana. If you denigrate other people who choose to eat organic, why would you champion someone else's right to smoke ganja?

  • Randian||

    If you denigrate other people who choose to eat organic, why would you champion someone else's right to smoke ganja?

    For the same reason I would denigrate someone who refused to patronize a black-owned business while championing the customer's right not to patronize a black-owned business.

    Another example: adultery should not be against the law. Does not mean I am going to laud somebody or refrain from judging them for engaging in one.

  • ||

    Don't think anyone here said you shouldn't be able to choose what types of food you eat. No one here said anything about dictating a course of action to you.

    We are simply stating, the methodology you used to come to your decision is completely faulty.

    Chemicals, even toxic chemicals, below a certain dose are no more harmful to you than your mother's breast milk.

    There is a certain amount of mercury in everything you eat. Are you going to stop eating?

  • Randian||

    I notice that Ken ignores 90% of the substantive rejoinders to his posts and plows ahead saying the same things over and over.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I haven't seen you post anything worth responding to for a while.

  • Randian||

    Just the numbers on toxicity, the science and logic behind conventionally grown foods...

    You're right, Ken: we burst your religious bubble. Sorry you're all defensive about it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well then I learned two things today!

    1) My religious bubble got burst.

    2) Monsanto's chemicals and peppermint are practically the same thing.

    Thanks, Randian. You're an objectivist genius.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I can't believe some of you people are the same people who want to legalize marijuana. If you denigrate other people who choose to eat organic, why would you champion someone else's right to smoke ganja?

    Agreed.

    Personally, I don't specifically buy organic produce, but I do shop at farmers markets and look for heirloom varieties because they are fresher and taste better. Sometimes they're also organic.

    So what. Buy what you want and let others do the same. There's a certain amount of proselytizing in both the organic and the anti-organic movements.

  • Randian||

    Ken must have missed the part where

    but the levels were almost always under the allowed safety limits, the scientists said

    So the researchers, using you know, science said that it was safe.

    But Ken just feels that pesticides are dangerous, ergo they are dangerous.

    Because of feelings and stuff.

  • Ken Shultz||

    No, actually, what I'm pointing out is what may be an appeal to authority, the fallacy to which I am least susceptible.

    I'm not about to eat more pesticide--just because the government says it's safe.

    If they told you it was safe to jump off a bridge, would you do that, too?

    The idea that eating more pesticide isn't good for you isn't something I came up with!

    Just because the government considers the health risks associated with some level of pesticide acceptable--doesn't mean I consider those risks acceptable. I'll take those risks into consideration myself, thank you, and if I consider the cost of avoiding them by buying organic preferable, then I'll just keep buying on going my merry organic way.

    Jesus, if you're gonna buy everything the EPA says about pesticide, are you gonna start buying everything the FDA says about cannabis? I'm happy to hear lots of information, the more the better. But when it comes to actually taking risks with my health?

    I'm not about to do what the government says is okay just because the government says it's okay, that's for sure. Look at the quote again:

    Conventional fruits and vegetables did have more pesticide residue, but the levels were almost always under the allowed safety limits, the scientists said. The Environmental Protection Agency sets the limits at levels that it says do not harm humans.

    Being under the limits set by the EPA isn't a good enough reason for me to eat anything.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    But the government said it was safe, Ken. What's the big deal? So c'mon... eat these green peas I grew. They're totally safe. C'mon. Do it. Do. it.

  • Brett L||

    Not just the government. You can go find MSDS and other sheets on any of these chemicals that will tell you if they are poisonous, at what dose they are poisonous, and any other health and safety concerns. If you read this information and then look at the EPA limits, you'll find the limits to be ridiculously strict. You could have 4 times the amount of pesticide on your produce and be safe.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I'm just being silly. I don't care about pesticides or organic, or low-sodium, fat-free, HFCS, or any of that. I will eat or drink anything, anytime, anywhere. I have absolutely no food hang-ups. All I require is that it be tasty.

  • Randian||

    I am going to "buy" what the scientists who did the study say is the LD50 dose...something you have not seen fit to refute or discuss.

  • ||

    The idea that eating more pesticide isn't good for you isn't something I came up with!

    Who did? How do you know eating certain pesticides isn't good for you? Is it proven or an assumption? At what doses? Water is good for you but in large quantities can kill you. Do you stop drinking water or do you just limit its usage below that required to do damage (with a pad, of course)?

    If anything, the EPA is grossly over-conservative.

    You aren't being a good libertarian today Ken. Think of the purity test. ;-)

  • Sam Grove||

    Many of the foods we eat are full (relatively speaking) of natural pesticides developed by the plants in their never ending war against pests.

  • SIV||

    Ssshhhh! Don't tell Ms Kendra Schultz or she'll develop an eating disorder.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Many of the foods we eat are full (relatively speaking) of natural pesticides developed by the plants in their never ending war against pests.

    Yeah, and water is a chemical--how 'bout that?!

    So, does that mean you'd rather eat more manufactured herbicide/pesticide rather than less?

    'cause given the choice, I'd rather eat less.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Often, the pesticides and herbicides plants produce to keep bugs away and reduce competition render the plant unpalatable(so the bugs won't eat it because it tastes bad.

    By providing pesticides and herbicides for the plants, they don't have to do this, making them delicious.

  • Fluffy||

    If organic and conventional were exactly the same price, how many people here would rather feed their children food with more pesticide residue?

    These people don't have sinks and running water in their kitchens?

    Is there somebody out there who thinks eating pesticide is better for your health than not eating pesticide?

    That depends. Indian and African subsistence farmers end up using organic methods by default, because they don't have access to non-organic technologies. So the vegetables they grow have no pesticide residue. But you know what? They fertilize their crops by shitting on them. When they have to poop, they take a stroll outside to their crops and plop their crap down.

    So if I had a choice between "someone used a pesticide on this while it was growing, but you can wash that off" and "some dude shit on this over and over while it was growing, but you can wash that off" I'm going with A.

    If people out there think eating more pesticide is okay--just because the EPA says so?

    I distrust the government, but in the EPA's case my specific distrust is that I expect them to lie to overstate chemical threats. So if even the EPA grudgingly concedes that a given pesticide level is safe, I'm pretty sure it's safe. Because I know they're just aching to ban stuff, if they can get anywhere close to being able to concoct some half-ass reason to do so based on sketchy evidence.

  • robc||

    I distrust the government, but in the EPA's case my specific distrust is that I expect them to lie to overstate chemical threats.

    Im more cynical than you. I think they lie in BOTH directions (overstating and understating), possibly to the point of doing both at the same time. And Im not always sure, in any particular case, which way they are lying. Although my default is to agree with you.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I expect the EPA to generally reflect the interests of what are basically institutionalized lobbies, and in this case, that means I'd expect the EPA to be biased in favor of conventional farming.

  • Randian||

    Again, read up on the Alar scandal. A Republican controlled EPA threatened to ban a chemical that only had carcinogenic properties at thousands of time the possible consumption.

    The same thing happened with saccharin.

  • Fluffy||

    The Department of Agriculture might be incented by lobbying to understate risks, but every last bit of the sociology of the EPA is designed to lead them to overstate risks.

    Overstating chemical risks gets the EPA more power. All other sociological considerations pale to irrelevance compared to that fact.

    It's like saying that you wouldn't trust the BATF if they said a particular gun is harmless. Every incentive they have would militate against that. To such an extent that "lobbying" can't possibly make up the difference.

  • Ken Shultz||

    All the government agencies want to keep their noses clean, but they all become close to the interests they regulate, too. The line gets blurred, sometimes, between their alleged job of protecting us from industry--and their apparent purpose, which sometime seems to be protecting industry from consumers and lawsuits.

    "You can't blame us--we were within federal regulations!"

    I'm not saying we should dismiss data from the government--just because it's from the government--but I don't think we should buy their studies wholesale--just because they're from the government--either...

    Haven't there been posts here at Hit and Run before about how the FDA's food pyramid is as much about serving the interests of farmers and the food industry as anything else?

    And, anyway, I'm not buying any argument only becasue it's supposed to be authoritative. There's a fallacy against that.

    I understand they told my uncle that Agent Orange was harmless when he was in Vietnam. After he came back, he died from a sudden onset of leukemia.

  • Sevo||

    "I understand they told my uncle that Agent Orange was harmless when he was in Vietnam. After he came back, he died from a sudden onset of leukemia."

    Actually, that was caused by the Nixon presidency!
    I can prove it: Nixon was in office at the time!
    Ken, you're not looking real good here.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Don't understand what you're saying there at all.

    The government sometimes tells people things just to make them go along with the program.

    They told the soldiers during Vietnam that Agent Orange wasn't dangerous. But it was! It really was.

    That was just one example of the government telling people things that didn't turn out to be true. There are others. It really happens.

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz| 9.8.12 @ 2:20PM |#
    "Don't understand what you're saying there at all."

    What I'm saying is that your claim is bullshit.
    You claim the guy came back from Vietnam, you claim someone (properly) said Agent Orange is not toxic.
    You then mention your uncle died and therefore X = Y.
    Bullshit, Ken. Do you know what that means?

  • Ken Shultz||

    So if I had a choice between "someone used a pesticide on this while it was growing, but you can wash that off" and "some dude shit on this over and over while it was growing, but you can wash that off" I'm going with A.

    I don't know a whole lot about using human sewage for crops, but I've used a lot of manure in my own garden. It didn't create any health problems at all.

    Oh, and by the way, there aren't any organic producers I'm aware of that use human sewage as a substitute for pesticide.

    You should offer this as an example to someone who's writing a freshman year philosophy textbook. I think it's about as classic a false dichotomy as I've ever seen.

    So, maybe I should amend my statement. I suppose there are people out there who would prefer to feed their children more pesticide--other things being equal. But then maybe they're just irrational.

  • robc||

    there aren't any organic producers I'm aware of that use human sewage as a substitute for pesticide.

    99.999*% of them for most of history. And, as he pointed out, large chunks of the 3rd world.

    They may not be "certified" organic producers, but they are farming organically.

    *probably high, animal sewage was primarily used, but human got there eventually.

  • Ken Shultz||

    This isn't a problem here in the United States.

    The alternative to heavy pesticide use is not human sewage.

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz| 9.8.12 @ 10:43AM |#
    "The alternative to heavy pesticide use is not human sewage."

    Quick! Call the strawman ambulance!

  • Ken Shultz||

    I quoted it exactly.

    There wasn't a straw man there anywhere.

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz| 9.8.12 @ 2:18PM |#
    "I quoted it exactly."
    Let's see it.

  • ||

    99.999*% of them for most of history.99.999*% of them for most of history.

    As fertilizer? Sure. As pesticide? No.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Without a flush toilet, what's a better alternative? Throwing a chamberpot into the river?

  • robc||

    as a substitute for pesticide

    Nevermind, I missed that clause.

    But Fluffy clearly said they used it to fertilize, not as a substitute for pesticide.

  • Ken Shultz||

    But Fluffy clearly said they used it to fertilize, not as a substitute for pesticide.

    It was in response to my question about whether eating pesticide is better than not eating pesticide. Look at Fluffy's post again:

    Ken Shultz: "Is there somebody out there who thinks eating pesticide is better for your health than not eating pesticide?"

    Fluffy: "That depends. Indian and African subsistence farmers end up using organic methods by default, because they don't have access to non-organic technologies. So the vegetables they grow have no pesticide residue. But you know what? They fertilize their crops by shitting on them."

    http://reason.com/archives/201.....nt_3244462

  • Fluffy||

    Dirt is so dirty that its name is literally the word we use for something being dirty.

    And food is grown in it.

    "Aw, man, that's GOT to be dangerous. How can parents give their kids food that's been sitting in dirt?"

  • ||

    And yet, I'd prefer to grow my food in dirt rather than grow it in shit. So that's not a great argument.

  • Randian||

    you aren't following the argument here.

    Fluffy is making an ad absurdum argument out of Ken's emotional aversion to "chemicals"

  • Ken Shultz||

    ad absurdum?! Way to duck and cover...

    Fluffy made an absurd argument alright.

    That if the alternative was eating human sewage? then Fluffy'd rather eat more pesticide.

    But the alternative to eating more pesticide? Is not--I repeat--NOT eating human sewage.

    No one in the United States--that I'm aware of--is offering organic food raised in human sewage as an alternative to pesticide.

    ...well, they're not offering it for nutritional purposes anyway.

    It's an absurd argument.

  • Fluffy||

    In the absence of scientific evidence that the levels of pesticide in question are harmful (evidence you don't have) you are making a judgment based on fastidiousness.

    "Chemicals on food? Aw, man, that can't be good." That is the level of sophistication you're using in your analysis.

    That's why I'm not creating a false dichotomy. I'm not saying that all organic produce has human waste on it. I'm saying that once you open the floor to objections based on fastidiousness, you have to take into account the fact that we gloss over lots of "ick" factor stuff in organic agricultural production all the time, just by not thinking about it.

    Birds shit on produce grown in fields. Rodents shit and shed their hair on produce grown in fields. Insects crawl all over produce Produce that isn't grown hydroponically is sitting in dirt. Dirt that is often fertilized with animal waste. (Or in some situations human waste, even in the west. Some people use composting toilets, you know.) There are LOTS of things associated with produce where if a fastidious hypersensitive Sinclairian urbanite stops and thinks about it, they might say, "Aw, man, that can't be good!" the same way you do with pesticides.

    But then maybe they're just irrational.

    What I'm saying is that your standard of purity is irrational, because it's based on evading the real nature of the stuff you eat. The world is messy and unclean. "Polluted" in the Vedic sense. From top to bottom.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Don't even mention what your produce may experience while sitting in a grocery store. People pawing it all day. Continually sprayed down all day with those misters. Ever see some old lady drop a bunch of organic kale on the floor, and then put it back in the pile? Food, and all surfaces/objects are generally unclean, and you should wash your veggies, and your hands, before preparing or eating food.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Birds shit on produce grown in fields. Rodents shit and shed their hair on produce grown in fields. Insects crawl all over produce Produce that isn't grown hydroponically is sitting in dirt. Dirt that is often fertilized with animal waste.

    Yes, but humans evolved eating food from that environment whereas they have not with pesticides and herbicides.

    And I'm not a pesticid-a-phobe, just pointing out the obvious difference.

  • Sevo||

    VG Zaytsev| 9.8.12 @ 9:45PM |#
    "Yes, but humans evolved eating food from that environment whereas they have not with pesticides and herbicides.
    And I'm not a pesticid-a-phobe, just pointing out the obvious difference."

    Fail.
    Humans evolved eating food *with* pesticides, just not from Monsanto.

  • Brett L||

    I know from a work project that millions of tons of pig shit is sterlizied (usually boiled) and spread on organic crops every year. I suspect you'd find the same with chicken shit as there's lots of it and it is very high in nitrates.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "So if I had a choice between "someone used a pesticide on this while it was growing, but you can wash that off" and "some dude shit on this over and over while it was growing, but you can wash that off" I'm going with A."

    Bingo. More people have been made sick in any of the given organic e.coli outbreaks in the past year than have ever been adversely affected by pesticides.

  • Ice Nine||

    So if I had a choice between "someone used a pesticide on this while it was growing, but you can wash that off" and "some dude shit on this over and over while it was growing, but you can wash that off" I'm going with A.

    I don't have a dog in this fight but I would just point out that chemicals can be absorbed by the fruit but E. coli cannot be. I'd wash the fruit and switch to B if I were you.

  • Randian||

    Even though the levels tested indicate the pesticides are safe for human consumption?

  • Ice Nine||

    I was just pointing out something that he appeared to not have considered. I don't think any of it matters much here anyway. With subsistence farmers in India and Africa it doesn't too much either. They generally won't have pesticides on the fruit in the first place - they can't afford it. And washing the night soil off the fruit is pretty pointless since the water they would use is contaminated with the same stuff. They already have a high level of immunity to it anyway.

  • Randian||

    I don't have a dog in this fight but I would just point out that chemicals can be absorbed by the fruit but E. coli cannot be. I'd wash the fruit and switch to B if I were you.

    Miss one patch of pesticides when washing and consume = NBD

    Miss one patch of feces when washing and consume = trip to the ER.

  • Sevo||

    Or, as was mentioned to me long ago:
    'Want natural? Cancer's natural.'

  • Sevo||

    Pretty sure that the 'pesticides' on food are quite often the same as those on fashion food with the difference that the food pesticides are synthetic while the fashion foods have been bred to develop them internally.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    OH! Also, CAPTION:

    "The she Wookie in its natural habitat, tending to its vegetable garden...."

  • ||

    That was Awesome!

  • ||

    If organic and conventional were exactly the same price, how many people here would rather feed their children food with more pesticide residue?

    Is there somebody out there who thinks eating pesticide is better for your health than not eating pesticide?

    All plants, even those not treated with human-engineered pesticides, contain pesticides. Otherwise, the pests would eat them up.

    And, judicious use of pesticides is WHY non-organic is usually cheaper than organic. You can get higher crop yields for the same inputs if you don't have bugs ruining a portion of your crop.

    Caffeine, for example, is a natural pesticide. So is spearmint, and peppermint, and lavender, and a lot of the compounds in broccoli, and so on. Are you saying that these are bad for people?

    Not all chemicals that harm pests harm people. And of those that do harm people, the dose makes the poison.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When I asked, "How many people here would rather feed their children food with more pesticide residue?", I wasn't asking how many people wanted to feed their children more spearmint, peppermint, lavender, or broccoli.

    I was asking how many people here would rather feed their children food with more of what Monsanto, et. al. are selling in it.

    When I asked, "Is there somebody out there who thinks eating pesticide is better for your health than not eating pesticide?", I wasn't asking if there was somebody out there who thinks eating more spearmint, peppermint, lavender, or broccoli is better than not eating it.

    I was asking if there was somebody out there who thinks eating what Monsanto, et. al. are selling is better for you than not eating their pesticide.

    I'd be very surprised if anybody thought I was asking about spearmint when I was asking about pesticide.

  • Fluffy||

    The whole point here is that when you hear the word "lavender" you think "safe" and when you hear the word "Monsanto" you think "unsafe".

    But in both instances we're talking about "stuff that kills insects by destroying their nervous systems".

    Why wouldn't you regard them as equally hazardous?

  • Randian||

    I wasn't asking how many people wanted to feed their children more spearmint, peppermint, lavender, or broccoli.

    I was asking how many people here would rather feed their children food with more of what Monsanto, et. al. are selling in it.

    This is a great case of hearing the word "Monsanto" and "chemicals" and getting a womanish aversion to it.

    "Eek! Monsanto!"

    They're all pesticides, Ken. The only reason you have an aversion is because one is "ZOMG chemicalz"

  • Ken Shultz||

    You think peppermint and Roundup are the same because they both work as pesticides?

  • Randian||

    What does the science say, Ken? Because right now all you have is that one is Roundup and one is peppermint, and you're mongering based on the fact that the former is not "natural".

  • Ken Shultz||

    Are you or are you not saying that Roundup is equally hazardous to peppermint?

  • Randian||

    Are you or are you not saying that Roundup is equally hazardous to peppermint?

    the numbers on the relevant ingredients of each were provided below, demonstrating that peppermint is actually more "hazardous" due to a lower LD50 dose.

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz| 9.8.12 @ 11:41AM |#
    "You think peppermint and Roundup are the same because they both work as pesticides?"
    Whatever the plant-grown version if roundup is, it is the same as roundup.
    I'll presume you were being sophomoric.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Turpentine can be used to clean paint off your arm.

    So can hydrochloric acid.

    But they're not the same.

  • Randian||

    It's all in the dose, Ken, not in the nature of the substance itself.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's all in the dose, Ken, not in the nature of the substance itself.

    And my questions have been about whether a lower does is better.

    That's the whole point, right?

    Thanks for finally coming around.

    Now, can you answer the question?

    If organic and conventional were exactly the same price, would you rather feed your children food with more pesticide residue? ...or less pesticide residue?

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz| 9.8.12 @ 12:45PM |#
    "And my questions have been about whether a lower does is better."

    Not necessarily. Up to X, any dose is irrelevant.

  • Xenocles||

    "Up to X, any dose is irrelevant."

    That's a load of horseshit. There could easily be non-lethal detrimental effects at doses lower than the lethal dose for a specific individual.

    Recognizing that radiation works differently from poison, it only takes a single gamma photon to give you cancer - and a single photon is infinitesimally small compared to the dose required even for radiation sickness.

  • Sevo||

    Xenocles| 9.8.12 @ 1:28PM |#
    "Up to X, any dose is irrelevant."
    "That's a load of horseshit. There could easily be non-lethal detrimental effects at doses lower than the lethal dose for a specific individual."

    Ya know, you should read before posting.

  • Xenocles||

    Sorry, I thought "irrelevant" meant "not relevant," not whatever other meaning you meant.

  • Sevo||

    Xenocles| 9.8.12 @ 1:40PM |#
    "Sorry, I thought "irrelevant" meant "not relevant," not whatever other meaning you meant."

    Now, try REAL hard:
    "Up to X dose, the amount is irrelevant"
    Got it+

  • Xenocles||

    So in other words, you're saying that "up to a relevant dose, the amount is irrelevant." That's profound stuff there.

  • Sevo||

    Xenocles| 9.8.12 @ 1:49PM |#
    "So in other words, you're saying that "up to a relevant dose, the amount is irrelevant." That's profound stuff there."
    And I notice you too issue with it.

  • Sevo||

    And I notice you TOOK issue with it.

  • Randian||

    Which means a relevant dose for detrimental effects from gamma photons is "1".

    It is not valid science to say "we don't know what the long term effects are, but CHEMICALS!"

    We don't know what the long-term effect to sustained peppermint consumption at higher than usual rates is either, although there are reports about worse than usual breathing problems from menthol smokers.

  • Xenocles||

    For most of the morning everyone was trumpeting LD50 as if the only harm a chemical could do to you is kill you. If people are now acknowledging that there could be other consequences between harmless and immediate death, that's progress.

    "It is not valid science to say "we don't know what the long term effects are, but CHEMICALS!""

    Neither is it valid science to say "Nobody has determined a link between chemical X and this harmful effect, therefore there is none." There are lots of reasons why nobody might have been able to determine a link. Maybe nobody has looked. Maybe it's not feasible to look in a scientifically valid way. Maybe there is no link.

    At any rate, it's reasonable in the abstract to say "I don't trust that this new thing is safe, so I'm not going to use it," and it's reasonable to make products for those people if you identify enough demand. Nothing in that sequence forces anything on anyone.

  • Randian||

    Just because something applies with NAP does not make it morally or ethically desirable.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Xenocles,

    I think some of us are talking past each other.

    There's one argument going on in some people's heads about whether the government should interfere and protect consumers from certain chemicals...

    I'm not in that argument. You want to use Roundup or buy and eat that stuff, I'm not gonna ask the government to stop you.

    There's another conversation going on--that I am in. And it's me saying, "Um...I'd rather eat less of those chemicals, thank you, and thank Dog there's a market that sprang up to serve consumers like me!"

    Like the point of this whole thread--if you read the post--was that denigrating the qualitative choices of consumers in a market is...off. Way off!

    There's no scientific study telling me that eating food with more pesticides, hormones, Roundup, etc. in it is qualitatively better for me than eating food that doesn't have that stuff in it. And what's more, there's no scientific study that shows that I should like eating that stuff.

    There may be a lot of studies showing me that this stuff isn't especially harmful, but most rational people would choose food without that junk it--if it were offered at the exact same price.

    Hell, more and more people are choosing organic food at higher prices than the conventional stuff, right?

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz| 9.8.12 @ 2:17PM |#
    ..."most rational people would choose food without that junk it--if it were offered at the exact same price."

    Your definition of rational isn't mine.
    'most rational people would choose food *grown by people in read clothes* if it were offered at the exact same price.'
    See there?

  • Randian||

    There may be a lot of studies showing me that this stuff isn't especially harmful, but most rational people would choose food without that junk it--if it were offered at the exact same price.

    Your own bias in calling synthetics "junk" is showing.

    Some form or fashion of pesticide/fertilizer/herbicide must be used. There is no other way to farm without those things.

    Organic can mean using rennet, which carries a risk of mad cow.

    Organic can mean using manure, which carries a risk of E. Coli.

    You're still claiming that organic is superior to conventional despite the fact that you have shown no dangers in one versus the other.

    The fact that you would choose organic over conventional, without weighing other risk factors and based solely on whether there is "junk" on it is emotionally-laden nonsense.

  • hotsy totsy||

    So why no Round Up flavored cigarettes?

  • Sevo||

    hotsy totsy| 9.8.12 @ 7:10PM |#
    "So why no Round Up flavored cigarettes?"

    Tastes even worse than menthol...

  • Randian||

    If organic and conventional were exactly the same price, would you rather feed your children food with more pesticide residue? ...or less pesticide residue?

    That would depend on the method organic uses to kill insects and weeds and the method they use to fertilize.

    If they are using E. Coli ridden manure without subsequent sterilization? I will take the low, low dose of pesticides, because E. coli is nasty stuff.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and:
    Ken Shultz| 9.8.12 @ 12:45PM |#
    ..."If organic and conventional were exactly the same price, would you rather feed your children food with more pesticide residue? ...or less pesticide residue?"

    Hard tellin'. Price being equal, would you rather feed your children food grown by people wearing red clothes or blue clothes?

  • Sam Grove||

    Actually, I'm indifferent. I evaluate produce by apparent quality, freshness, ripeness.

    Somewhat related: there has been concern about preservatives in food. I was cured of any concern about that when I brought some pita bread home from TJ's and found mold growing on it.

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz| 9.8.12 @ 11:56AM |#
    "Turpentine can be used to clean paint off your arm.
    So can hydrochloric acid.
    But they're not the same."

    When you want to stop playing word games, let me know.

  • ||

    Who is playing word games? Different chemicals work in different ways. If you think peppermint is the same as Roundup just because they can both kill insects, I have to ask what sort of moron are you?

  • Sevo||

    darius404| 9.8.12 @ 12:47PM |#
    "Who is playing word games? Different chemicals work in different ways."

    Ken is, you ignoramus.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Who is playing word games?

    No one.

  • ||

    Roundup is a herbicide, Ken, not a pesticide.

  • ||

    Roundup is a herbicide, Ken, not a pesticide.


    Yeah, I just noted this below. Also, peppermint is mostly used as insect repellant, not as a pesticide. At least concerning plants.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I appreciate that, Hazel. Thank you.

    If we're talking about organic vs. conventional, though, we're talking about the qualitative differences between food grown using chemicals like what's found in Roundup and organic chemicals like those found in peppermint.

    Just as a reminder, I'm not the one saying that Roundup and peppermint are the same.

    I'm the one saying they're not the same.

  • Randian||

    Just as a reminder, I'm not the one saying that Roundup and peppermint are the same.

    I'm the one saying they're not the same.

    Correct. Peppermint is more toxic.

    Is that not what you meant?

  • Randian||

    "organic chemicals"

    What are "organic chemicals" Ken? I can't seem to find that entry in a science textbook anywhere.

  • ||

    Yes, Ken but Roundup actually isn't very toxic. It's safe to get on your hands without gloves. No protective suits or special precautions for handling.

    That's precisely why it's so popular and why it's a target of choice for herbicide resistance. You can spray your crop with Roundup instead of the much more hazarous conventional herbicides, and avoid having to wear a protective suit or worry about it harming your animals.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well that's fine for you then, Hazel!

    Go ahead and eat all you want.

    Me? I'm growin' stuff in my backyard and buying organic--'cause I think it's worth it.

    You can spray your crop with Roundup instead of the much more hazarous conventional herbicides, and avoid having to wear a protective suit or worry about it harming your animals.

    Just for the record, if I had to choose between two otherwise identical foods at the same exact price--except one was organic and the other had chemicals in it that are even more hazardous than Roundup?

    I'd still pick the organic every time.

    Wouldn't you?

    In the meantime, I'm not trying to prohibit people from using Roundup.

    I'm saying I'd rather eat organic.

  • Randian||

    I'd still pick the organic every time.

    Wouldn't you?

    That would depend on what you are putting on the organic food.

    What are you putting on the organic food? Are you using rennet? Large doses of peppermint?

  • ||

    How can a usually rational man have these extreme hangups in logic?

    Ken, do the words "organic" and "cunt" have some sort of traumatic relationship to you?

  • Sevo||

    Francisco d Anconia| 9.8.12 @ 2:13PM |#
    "How can a usually rational man have these extreme hangups in logic?"

    Looking like, to Ken "rational" = "the same superstitions as me".

  • Zeb||

    Roundup is an herbicide.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Why wouldn't you regard them as equally hazardous?

    Because they aren't.

    Roundup and peppermint are not equally hazardous.

    One is more hazardous than the other.

  • Randian||

    The best I can gather is that 1g per kg of weight of pure menthol is the LD50 in lab rats.

    The pure active ingredient in roundup (glyphosate) is 4.3g/per kg.

    So, you're right, one is more hazardous than the other.

  • Fluffy||

    That's the thing: at the molecular level, chemistry and biology are the same science.

    You can't just shrug and say, "Lavender's a plant, so of course it's less dangerous than Roundup, which is a chemical!" Plants are made of chemicals.

  • Sevo||

    "You can't just shrug and say, "Lavender's a plant, so of course it's less dangerous than Roundup, which is a chemical!" Plants are made of chemicals."

    The same sort of ignorance is evident in 'nuclear-free zones'; WIH holds the atoms together there?

  • ||

    You can't just shrug and say, "Lavender's a plant, so of course it's less dangerous than Roundup, which is a chemical!"

    Except that they're not even close to the same thing. Peppermint isn't used as a pesticide on plants, it's insect repellant; while Roundup kills plants. Neither of these are, to my knowledge, used as agricultural pesticides, so I'm not sure why anyone in this argument is even MENTIONING peppermint or Roundup. Perhaps you're thinking of something else, something that is ACTUALLY used as a pesticide?

  • ||

    Oh, and lavender is just an allergen. *Sneeze*. Not very dangerous unless you're a fetus (acts as a cytotoxic in vitro). So yes, lavender is less dangerous than Roundup.

    It boggles the mind the sort of convoluted "well you haven't PROOOOVED IT" sort of arguments people will get into about commonly understood distinctions (e.g. lavender/peppermint is not as dangerous than Roundup).

    Go ahead and drink some Roundup if you think it's safer, than call 911 and ask for an ambulance (note: do not drink Roundup under any circumstances, except to kill alien parasites taking over your body).

  • Randian||

    Go ahead and drink some Roundup if you think it's safer

    Again, you can drink pure Roundup at the same level as you can drink pure methanol (relevant ingredient of peppermint).

    The burden of proof is on those who say that Roundup is more hazardous than X. gulo gulo and I provided the numbers, and yet here you are persisting that we're wrong.

  • Randian||

    Except that they're not even close to the same thing. Peppermint isn't used as a pesticide on plants, it's insect repellant; while Roundup kills plants. Neither of these are, to my knowledge, used as agricultural pesticides, so I'm not sure why anyone in this argument is even MENTIONING peppermint or Roundup.

    Two reasons:

    1. Ken made the original argument, so we are refuting it within those confines and;

    2. Any repellant/herbicide/pesticide may wind up as residue on plants at market, so the distinction makes no difference.

    The fact is that pure peppermint, sprayed on plants, is more toxic than pure Roundup, sprayed on plants.

  • ||

    The fact is that pure peppermint, sprayed on plants, is more toxic than pure Roundup, sprayed on plants.

    Yeah, I see that now. When I first jumped into these threads, I first thought we were talking about peppermint plants, so it seemed weird to me to compare the two. When I realized we were talking about a particular chemical from peppermint (peppermint oil), I never bothered to adjust my thinking.

    You're right, pure peppermint oil is more dangerous than Roundup.

  • ||

    The same sort of ignorance is evident in 'nuclear-free zones'; WIH holds the atoms together there?

    Magic!

  • gulo gulo||

    Peppermint Oil: LD50 [oral, rat]; 2426 mg/kg

    The acute oral LD50 in the rat is 5,600 mg/kg

    http://www.scholarchemistry.co.....nt_Oil.pdf

    http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/pr.....e-ext.html

  • gulo gulo||

    "The acute oral LD50 in the rat is 5,600 mg/kg"

    That's for glyphosate (roundup)

  • Ken Shultz||

    Thank you.

  • ||

    Actually Roundup is well known to be not toxic to humans. That's why it is so popular.

  • ||

    One is more hazardous than the other.

    *screams at top of his lungs...IN WHAT DOSE?

  • Randian||

    It doesn't matter what dose.

    In Ken's heart, he knows he's right, regardless of the science.

    Roundup is less toxic than peppermint, but he'd still rather eat pepperming? Why? Because he feels better about eating peppermint than "chemicals".

  • ||

    Ken, the Bt gene engineered into Bt corn is no different from the natural pesticide properties of lavender spearmint, brocolli, etc.

    It was taken from a bacteria that organic farmers use to prevent pests from eating their crops.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, the engineering side of it is interesting, huh?

    I understand Monsanto's seed has been genetically engineered to withstand Roundup--and Round up, apparently kills just about everything that hasn't been genetically engineered by Monsanto.

    Interestingly enough, Ken Shultz's corpus, much like a typical lab rat, has NOT been genetically engineered to withstand Roundup.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=20012598

    As far as Roundup being "well known to be not toxic to humans", I believe that is incorrect.

    I believe it has been demonstrated that Roundup is toxic to humans--you certainly wouldn't want to drink any straight from the bottle. Even the EPA says it's toxic.

    They just say that's it's so diluted in people's diets over the course of a lifetime that they think it's safe to use in spite of it being toxic.

  • Randian||

    Interestingly enough, Ken Shultz's corpus, much like a typical lab rat, has NOT been genetically engineered to withstand Roundup.

    Actually, it has...at a certain dose.

  • ||

    I quit!

    *pounds cranium against brick wall, slits own wrists, hangs self

  • ||

    Yes, it kills everything. But there's no correlation between "number of plants it can kill" and "toxicity to humans" in herbicides. There just isn't a linear spectrum like that. You can kill a lot of plants by dumping salt on them, and salt isn't toxic to humans (in small doses).

    Other herbicides that are selective against certain weeds tend to be much more toxic.
    What Roundup-Ready does is it turns Glyphosate from a non-selective herbicide into one that selects in favor of the crop you want.
    So you can plant your whole field with RR soybeans, apply glyphosate, and only the soybeans will survive.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Sounds like something I'd like to eat as little of as possible.

    Incidentally, the specialists' opinions are divided on whether the reactions I get are an allergy to legumes or a reaction to something else in the legumes.

    I remember when they really didn't put the word "organic" on anything with soy in it--because the chemicals they use to make soy oil, etc. edible for humans contains so much crap, it couldn't pass the basic organic smell test...

    The definition of "organic" has certainly shifted over the past, oh, ten years or so. It used to mean, mostly, that there wasn't any pesticides, etc. used, but now it just seems to mean that they didn't use genetically modified seed. I'm not sure how much of a difference that is. How many people use genetically modified seed--without also using something like Roundup or pesticides?

    Anyway, regardless of the cause, give me a slice of bread with soybean oil in it or, God forbid, soybean flour? And I'm in really big trouble. And the symptoms only disappear when...you know, the food's gone.

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz| 9.8.12 @ 11:18PM |#
    "Sounds like something I'd like to eat as little of as possible."
    You're welcome to your superstitions.

    "Incidentally, the specialists' opinions are divided on whether the reactions I get are an allergy to legumes or a reaction to something else in the legumes."
    How many 'specialists' are we discussing? Can you afford them all? Sorry, that sounds like bullshit.

    "I remember when they really didn't put the word "organic" on anything with soy in it--because the chemicals they use to make soy oil, etc. edible for humans contains so much crap,"
    Care to define "crap"?

    "The definition of "organic" has certainly shifted over the past, oh, ten years or so. It used to mean, mostly, that there wasn't any pesticides, etc. used,"
    Bullshit. It *never* meant "no pesticides". It meant (per your superstition) "no *corporate-sourced* pesticides".

    "but now it just seems to mean that they didn't use genetically modified seed. I'm not sure how much of a difference that is. How many people use genetically modified seed--without also using something like Roundup or pesticides?"
    It means exactly the same as it did earlier; nothing other than a marketing claim for suckers.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If I avoid all legumes--and genetically modified anything? I have no reactions, and 95% of my problems go away.

    If there's any part of the domestic soybean crop that isn't genetically modified these days, it must be a tiny fraction of it, and since soybean oil is so cheap, they use it in everything now.

    So, I don't know if it's some ag chemical they put in the soy or the soy itself--and since truly organic soy is practically impossible, I don't really care. I just know that when I stick to organic as possible--and avoid all legumes--I have almost no problems.

    I run twelve to fifteen miles a week. I pump a lot of iron. I get in the ocean every chance I get. And I don't need genetically modified food or the chemicals that go with it for anything.

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz| 9.8.12 @ 11:19PM |#
    "I-and genetically modified anything? I have no reactions, and 95% of my problems go away."

    IOWs, you have no idea what is causing any problem you're having, but blaming it on "chemicals" makes you feel good.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I guess I shouldn't listen to my gastroenterologist, my immunologist, my regular doctor, all my lab reports over the past six years--and I shouldn't believe my own lyin' eyes either, with 95% of my symptoms going away once I listened to my doctors, eliminated things like soy, and started eating organic...

    You know I used to have to take twelve pills a day? Now I only have to take one. Oh, and I could induce symptoms as bad as ever by eating a spoon full of edamame, right now! But, no, I shouldn't pay attention to any of that either.

    I should listen to somebody on the internet, who finds it personally offensive that someone else in the world buys organic food and likes it? A libertarian who condemns other people and the free market they created--because he doesn't approve of their quality of life choices?

    I should listen to him and a couple of other anonymous people, one who thinks the alternative to eating conventional food, with tons of pesticide and herbicide in it, is somehow comparable to eating human feces?

    Or maybe I should listen to an Objectitard, who's so accustomed to painting himself into corners, that he'll go to the wall for the idea that the chemicals Monsanto manufacturers are no more dangerous than peppermint?

    That's who I should listen to?

  • ||

    I should listen to somebody on the internet, who finds it personally offensive that someone else in the world buys organic food and likes it? A libertarian who condemns other people and the free market they created--because he doesn't approve of their quality of life choices?

    Fuck you Ken. That post was incredibly disingenuous.

    As has been pointed out MANY times in this thread, NO ONE here is questioning your right to eat what you please. They are questioning you blind faith to the premise that anything made by man = bad and anything occurring naturally = good.

    Your religious arguments have repeatedly been refuted as bad science, and you selectively ignore any facts presented that disagree with your beliefs.

    Eat whatever the fuck you want. And why should you care that others think you're stupid for doing so? If it makes you happy, do it. Just don't claim it's better for you based on nothing more than your superstition.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Sounds like you're allergic to legumes.

    And that's all.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Thank you Baylen, for yet another interesting article. Thank you for using your lawyering powers for good instead of for evil.

    The last paragraph really is the crux of this story. The market allows all consumers to get equivalent nutrition. Whether they pay a premium to eat "organic", or pay a discount to eat "factory farmed".

    And as a libertarian, I respect each consumer to make their own choice. As I expect my choice to be respected.

  • Randian||

    I am not going to respect a choice made based on nothing but emotion.

    I wouldn't respect someone who refused to patronize a black-owned business because the owners are black.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Would you respect someone who patronized a black owned business particularly because it was black? That's based on emotion as well.

    And yes, I'd respect the right of anyone to make the above choice.

    Although I couldn't care less about who respected my choices or didn't.

  • Sevo||

    hotsy totsy| 9.8.12 @ 7:21PM |#
    "Would you respect someone who patronized a black owned business particularly because it was black? That's based on emotion as well."

    Nope.
    They're welcome to do so, but I'd be laughing every bit as much as if they only patronized businesses run by people with blue eyes.

  • Jackand Ace||

    The study also made some conclusions that support organic food:
    • Exposure to chemical pesticides was quite lower in organic foods (roughly 30% less than conventional foods).

    • Exposure to "superbugs" in meat (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) was also significantly lower in organic foods (roughly a 33% risk difference).

    The study conclusion says "Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria."

    Couple that with the fact that chemical sweeteners are not allowed in organic foods, neither are GMO's.

    This is another example of headlines spreading through the blogosphere with little attempt to actually read the study. But at the end of the day, its a choice we can make.

  • Randian||

    Why is exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria something to be avoided?

    As for the other:

    Exposure to chemical pesticides was quite lower in organic foods (roughly 30% less than conventional foods).

    this was covered extensively in the thread.

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace| 9.8.12 @ 11:36AM |#
    "The study also made some conclusions that support organic food:
    • Exposure to chemical pesticides was quite lower in organic foods (roughly 30% less than conventional foods).
    • Exposure to "superbugs" in meat (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) was also significantly lower in organic foods (roughly a 33% risk difference)."

    I see the study also brought out all the whackos.
    Did you know that 33% less of near zero is still near zero?

  • ||

    Noting the 33% figure doesn't make Jackand a "whacko". No need to be a jerk in order to make your point.

  • Sevo||

    darius404| 9.8.12 @ 1:05PM |#
    "Noting the 33% figure doesn't make Jackand a "whacko"."

    Playing 'fun with numbers' makes JaA a whacko of a liar.
    Are you happy now?

  • ||

    Playing 'fun with numbers' makes JaA a whacko of a liar.

    No. Noting that "33%" isn't very meaningful without the number(s) it's derived from isn't lying. It's not even being deceptive, it's calling out a lack of context.

    And you're being more of an ass than before, so still no.

  • Sevo||

    Anyhow, in answer to the question:
    "Is Organic Food a Waste of Money?"
    Unless you like paying for fashion, yes.

  • hotsy totsy||

    I like paying for fashion, yes. What I don't like is people who do, but pretend they DON'T.
    They really think because they only drink organic juice, or eat free range chickens, or God help us, organic cane sweetened ginger ale, they are going to be free from any and all debilitating diseases and maladies.

  • Sevo||

    hotsy totsy| 9.8.12 @ 7:26PM |#
    "I like paying for fashion, yes."

    Got no problem with that at all. Wife does that with her clothes, and to be honest, she always looks good. And we also occasionally buy 'organic' foods if it looks better than the alternative.
    But she (we) never claims it makes her healthy or a 'superior person'.

  • ||

    Wow, you are trying way, way, WAY, too hard to be nice to the Organic foodies. And I really can't tell why. Their response has been much closer to "unhinged" than snarky.

    Your criticisms of the study are pretty weak. You point out a few duplicate authors, but that doesn't come anywhere even close to a significant fraction of the 200 citations.

    You point out that many "organic" farmers are labeled conventional, but so what? Why would that skew the results of the studies? Do you think researchers only looked at the labels and not the farming processes used to produce the foods themselves? Do you seriously think they all grabbed examples of "conventional" and "organic" off the grocery store shelves rather than, you know, growing test plots themselves?

    You sound like you are bending over backwards, way, way over backwards to find a reason to keep believing there's some health benefit to organics.

    Bizarrely, this isn't even the reaction of the more rational liberals. Most of them just insist that nobody ever said there were health benefits, nothing to see here, it was all about the environmental benefits of organic in the first place.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "Bizarrely, this isn't even the reaction of the more rational liberals. Most of them just insist that nobody ever said there were health benefits, nothing to see here, it was all about the environmental benefits of organic in the first place."

    Considering that it's been long-established that mass-scale organic farming would require much more clearing and airing of land to produce less, I wouldn't call those people enitrely "rational", especially considering the ones that make these types of arguments are the same people who claim meat causes global warming, among other vapid self-serving delusions.

  • ||

    True. Some of the most-rational of liberals will even admit that the REAL environmental itnerest is in "sustainable" agriculture, rather than pure organic. Not to include "locally grown", which is a different kind of cult - the one for liberals who are too hip for "organic", but not smart enough to actually do any math.

    Unfortunately, the term "sustainable" has no certain meaning. What counts as "sustainable"? Does it mean "organic plus a bunch of other rules"? Or does it mean "something you can keep doing indefinitely". And whose to say that conventional agriculture isn't something we can keep doing indefinitely?

  • Sevo||

    HazelMeade| 9.8.12 @ 7:32PM |#
    ..."And whose to say that conventional agriculture isn't something we can keep doing indefinitely?"

    Sorta like the over-pop group: "Well, one day it will hit the 'tipping point' and crash immediately".
    There are limits, but if you allow price signals rather than TOP MEN to make that obvious, there won't be a 'tipping point', there'll be a gradual curve that redirects resources.

  • ubercynic||

    There are limits, but if you allow price signals rather than TOP MEN to make that obvious, there won't be a 'tipping point', there'll be a gradual curve that redirects resources.

    ^^ THIS^2. And also like the "Peak Oil" types.

  • ubercynic||

    Granting for the sake of argument that there might be some harm from pesticide residue, I haven't seen anyone question whether eating little or no fresh fruits/vegatables (because they cost too damn much due to pesticide hysteria) might be more harmful.

  • Sevo||

    ubercynic| 9.8.12 @ 1:17PM |#
    "Granting for the sake of argument that there might be some harm from pesticide residue, I haven't seen anyone question whether eating little or no fresh fruits/vegatables (because they cost too damn much due to pesticide hysteria) might be more harmful."
    As an example of how out-of-touch the fashion-food groupies are, a comment in the local rag was to the effect that 'price shouldn't matter'.
    Well, if you are so attached to fashion-food, that's true. If you're feeding a family, that might not be true.

  • ubercynic||

    price shouldn't matter

    This isn't a 100% accurate indicator of cluelessness. Only about 99.9%.

  • OldMexican||

    Baylen J. Linnekin, a lawyer, is executive director of Keep Food Legal, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that advocates in favor of food freedom—the right to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, share, cook, eat, and drink the foods of our own choosing.


    It is a really, truly sad state of affairs when a lawyer is compelled to work or create a non-profit organization that advocates for the freedom to grow, eat and sell food as we see fit. The day this person closes the doors to his organization will be that day where we either celebrate that we woke up and took back our freedoms, or despair because we fell under the yoke of an even worse tyranny through our own indolence.

  • OldMexican||

    Organic certification can cost thousands of dollars.


    ALL certifications are costly - that is how many industries put up barriers of entry to smaller (but nimbler) competitors

    Maybe true Organic growers should just give up trying to obtain the certification and simply sell their wares under the label "Libertarian grown" - no big industry would be caught alive using that word anytime!

  • OldMexican||

    Uh, except the Koch brothers. But they don't grow onions or raise chickens, so...

  • Brandybuck||

    Of course organic food isn't more nutritious than "inorganic"! Take off your religious blinders and look at it objectively. The definitional difference between the two is the use of natural or artificial fertilizers and insecticides, and that does not affect the nutrition. It doesn't matter if it's two megafarms or two backyard plots, the origin of the chemicals used makes no difference.

    It's like saying a hand crafted artisanal dinner table is flatter than a factory produced dinner table.

    p.s. Of course, there may be other benefits to organic food, so no need to burn me at the stake for religious heresy. The Stanford study did show that "inorganic" food did have more traces of artificial insecticides (albeit still well within reasonable levels). And it goes without saying the warm feeling of smugness one gets by buying only organic is definitely a consumer value.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I thought conventional wisdom is that it is a waste of money to pay for extra confirmation that what you are obtaining nutritional energy from is, in fact, in organic form.

  • mr simple||

    Yeah, have fun with your silicon based fruits and vegetables, scrooge.

  • ||

    The best I can gather is that 1g per kg of weight of pure menthol is the LD50 in lab rats.

    The pure active ingredient in roundup (glyphosate) is 4.3g/per kg.

    So, you're right, one is more hazardous than the other.

    And, for those who still haven't gotten the concept of "the dose makes the poison", menthol is the active ingredient in cough drops and sore throat lozenges. This lethal chemical at some doses is actually beneficial at low doses.

    Not saying that all pesticides have beneficial uses like that, btw ... just pointing out that saying both "everything made by Monsanto is bad, regardless of dose or use" and "everything made naturally is good, regardless of dose or use" is ignorant. Poison hemlock is natural and can be organically grown.

    So, yeah, eat organic food if that floats your boat. Me, I'll shop based on taste and price. To each their own.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Not saying that all pesticides have beneficial uses like that, btw ... just pointing out that saying both "everything made by Monsanto is bad, regardless of dose or use" and "everything made naturally is good, regardless of dose or use" is ignorant.

    Really? Did somebody say that?

    Did you say that anything made by Monsanto is no worse than peppermint?

    I think some people took some of the things we said and swam off the objectivist deep end with them.

    Let's not join them there.

  • Sevo||

    Ken,
    Don't bother trying to claim others 'swam off the deep end'.
    You're promoting your superstition, claiming it as "rational", and you were called on your bullshit.
    That's all.

  • Randian||

    Apparently pointing out the toxicity of menthol is greater than that of the active ingredient of Roundup is "off the deep end".

    Please note that Ken has consistently refused to respond to the facts and numbers, and then handwaves that we have 'nothing worth saying' when we point out his faith-based BS.

  • Fluffy||

    The thing is this: it doesn't matter to Ken if the menthol is even more hazardous at high doses than Roundup is at high doses. One's a "chemical", and one's not, and that's that.

    "You wouldn't drink a glass of Roundup, would you?" No. But it would be just as fatal to drink a glass of these other substances.

    But we aren't talking about drinking a glass of any of them. We're talking about residue traces. And then we get subjected to the "But maybe" parade. "But maybe it will build up in the body and become toxic that way". "But maybe it really is toxic at low doses and we just don't know yet". And none of these "But maybe" scenarios are applied to peppermint.

    It's the utterly random and arbitrary way this halfass precautionary principle is applied to some things and not others that annoys me.

  • ||

    word.

    there is so much shit that is "natural" and that is toxic at even very low doses.

    there is this natural assumption amongst food luddites that natural = good and chemical or manmade = bad

    of course these are the same morons that jump over backwards to sign petitions against dihydrogen monoxide.

    also, just for the record, there are also the morons who claim that vegan diets are more "natural" (lol) or healthier and use incredibly specious scientific claims to "prove " saem, but that's another story

    amazonian indians don't need to go to monsanto to find NATURAL substances that in trace amounts on an arrow can kill/paralyze.

    nature is full of incredibly dangerous, toxic shit

    the jungle and the forest are full of things that will kill you lickety split or in some cases, after long painful illness.

    but the food luddites live in this rousseau'ian fantasy world where nature is fluffy, beneficent and all light and good - and we are here to be its gentle steward.

    chemicals otoh are "icky" and "artificial" and bring nothing but death and destruction to gaia

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "If organic and conventional were exactly the same price, would you rather feed your children food with more pesticide residue"

    I'm not going to sweat it. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

    I buy things based on the taste satisfaction I perceive I will have, followed by price. I have no brand loyalty- although, disloyalty for some brands. I arbitrarily split or rotate my purchases among competitors and buy things that are new to me, to promote lower costs and greater variety.

    Instead of looking at labels on produce, I assume that any productive operation might as well use pesticides. Regardless, all produce is equalized in that none is necessarily more hygienic than the rest, and I just do not buy produce that appears to have more spoilage than what I should buy.

  • ||

    Is organic food a waste of money?

    Yes.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Maybe, but then so are hookers and blow.

  • Rich||

    *Organic* hookers and blow, that is.

  • ||

    hookers and blow are not a waste of money. there is VALUE.

    organics do not provide VALUE.

    organic does not offer any nutritional benefit. in some cases it tastes better than non-organics. in others, it doesn't. there is nothing "magical" about organic farming methods that make the produce taste better

    at many markets, the organic produce is the local stuff and/or the stuff picked ripe while will often taste better vs. the mass produced stuff that is picked green and allowed to ripen during transport (especially true of tomatoes)

    but that has nothing to do with organics qua organics

    most of the hookers i interact with at work are users of meth or synthetic opioids btw, and are thus not organic.

    ime, they are generally good people though, and very valuable sources of information. any good street cop knows who the best sources of street intel are, and hookers are right up there.

  • ||

    hookers and blow are not a waste of money.

    Spoken like a true cop.

  • ||

    yup. a realist one. cocaine is a much better value than decades past. WOD aside, the price hasnt kept up w/inflation

  • mr simple||

    Well, that settles that. Thanks, Baylen.

  • ||

    i would argue it's only the CW among (mostly) leftist food luddites, that organics have ANY nutritional benefit.

    i've been challenging them for years to show even ONE decent study that shows nutritional benefits to organics... crickets.

    let alone benefits that outstrip the costs.

    this report is just reinforcing what anybody who applies ANY scientific rigor or skepticism to the "wisdom" of leftist food luddites already knows - organic is largely a "feel good" cult of smug. it's for people who want to FEEL smug when they buy produce. there are some aspects of SOME organic farming that are less deleterious to the environment, but there are plenty of ways you can inorganically farm that are ALSO respectful of environment

    these are the same morons who squawk about "hormone free beef" when i challenge ANY of them to be able to make a taste test distinction between beef from cows given hormones (trenbolone, bgh etc.) and cows that haven't

    personally, i prefer and buy grass fed beef, pasture raised - because grass fed is (actual science) more nutritious and imo tastes better. i also prefer that it is less cruel and i know how it's raised and killed (shades of portlandia)

    more power to those of you that want to spend your money on organics. i'll always pay for quality, but i know that organic is neither sufficient nor necessary for quality.

  • ||

    oh, also challenge them to show any nutritional or god forbid "safety" issue with beef from cows given hormones

    milk? sure. lots of issues with hormones are at least possible.

    but if you know even a LITTLE biology/chemistry and/or have knowledge of AAS and basic common sense, you will see the fear of hormone treated beef is ANTI-scientific rubbish.

    any nimrod who claims the right is the party of anti-science and the left is the reality based one merely needs to look at - food or feminist politics (ignoring science based gender differences for decades - in psychology, biology, etc.)

  • Nancy Wood||

    This is so well written and interesting that I hardly care what the source says, thanks for being such an enjoyable magazine Reason!

  • gigarath6||

    For me organic food isn't about health, it's about not using petro chemicals.

  • ||

    And your problem with using petro chemicals, is...?

  • Sevo||

    gigarath6| 9.8.12 @ 11:31PM |#
    'For me organic food isn't about health, it's about proving I'm an ignoramus.'

    FIFY. No charge.

  • Cyto||

    Yes, meta analysis is generally less reliable than the raw number of studies might indicate. That doesn't mean they are all bunk either. And it also doesn't say anything about the underlying claim: Organic is better for you.

    There is essentially no evidence of any kind to support that assertion. In fact, the most commonly measured benefit of the Organic label is the placebo effect. This isn't to say that the placebo effect isn't highly beneficial. Whole Foods has ridden this horse to the tune of billions of dollars. And consumers like Ken actually benefit from an increased quality of life because they feel better about themselves and their food. Win-win.

    I will say that it is interesting to watch people dig in their heels when confronted with their own absurd beliefs. Penn and Teller did a bit with organic foods and a taste test. One featured test involved slicing a banana in half and labeling one half "organic" and the other "non-organic" and asking organic shoppers to describe the flavor. They gushed about how much more flavorful and rich and creamy the "organic" banana was. Most were not able to confront their bias after the big reveal.

  • jili5||

    Placebo effect? Have you not seen the blind tastes tests?? Try it out yourself, get some free range eggs from a local farmer near you, then go buy those factory farmed eggs at the store. If you can honestly tell me you don't notice a difference then I'll find a doctor for you to check out your tastebuds.

  • Sevo||

    Cyto| 9.8.12 @ 11:41PM |#
    "Whole Foods has ridden this horse to the tune of billions of dollars. And consumers like Ken actually benefit from an increased quality of life because they feel better about themselves and their food. Win-win."

    I have no problem with this at all; Mackey is a marketing whiz, and suckers like Ken lap it up.
    But don't bother insulting the rest of us claiming that there is some health benefit in the money you chose to spend for fashion food.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Actually, I bought Whole Foods stock back in the '90s.

  • Sevo||

    Given your superstitions, that's no surprise.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I learned a very long time ago that an "organic" label means "inferior in quality, and likely to be infested with bugs."

    -jcr

  • Sevo||

    John C. Randolph| 9.9.12 @ 10:55PM |#
    "I learned a very long time ago that an "organic" label means "inferior in quality, and likely to be infested with bugs.""

    Now that it's no longer the sole produce of enviro-whackos, I've found some organic (labeled that way, anyhow) that, on a given day, is better than the alternative.
    So it's no longer an immediate trigger.

  • jason||

    This is the future food for the healthy peoples, now in these days peoples are giving more preferences to organic foods. It is not the waste of money.

  • rweuynbxdq||

    Here are More characteristics, novel style,varieties,and good quality low price

    http://avoo.net/ajgjk


    http://avoo.net/ajgjk

  • jili5||

    So the study wasn't an actual study but it was a selective review of other fraudulent and phony studies. I actually looked at some of the studies this "study" reviewed and they didn't even bother using control groups in many of them. This study seems to be comparing things that have no relevance. Anyone that's ate an organic apple then a conventional apple knows there's more nutrition in the organic apple. Just compare free range steak with a factory farmed steak, the difference is amazing. And eggs, I can't even eat factory farmed eggs, they taste like paper.

  • benji||

    You do realize that free range vs. factory farmed has nothing to do with organic labeling right?

    And just eating something isn't a way to "know" which has more nutrition.

  • Sirius bsns||

    Ask any medical doctor with training in Allergy and Immunology what they believe is causing the dramatic increases they are seeing in neuro-inflammatory illness (i.e. Crohn's disease, Lupus. MS, rheumatoid arthritis), autoimmune responses (i.e., diabetes and other metabolic dysfunctions) and food allergies and they will tell you: DIET. Specifically, genetically modified foods. The reason? Most human beings are simply not able to fully or properly metabolize the altered or completely new proteins (such as gliadin) that are the result of hybridization and/or genetic modifications. This particularly applies to wheat and wheat products, and animal products where the animals are fed genetically-modified grain. The result is inflammation in the gastro-intestinal tract, which can cross into the various other systems in the body, including the nervous system. We are being chronically *poisoned* by consuming these products.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7420352n

    As a libertarian, I can't abide the idea of "labeling laws" for foods, but you can bet that I do whatever I can to make sure my family and I avoid those foods that can make us ill.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement