The myth of organic foods

The myth of organic foods

September 20th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Folks have plenty of good reasons for believing all sorts or myths, lies, cons, bunkum and baloney.

People believe in astrology because they want to be able to make sense of the world - or because they're indecisive and want help in making decisions. The heartbreaking desire to reach a lost love one leads otherwise rational people to turn to séances, mediums and oiji boards. Grocery stores and farmers markets are filled with people buying organic produce because they think it's healthier for themselves and their families.

That's right. In the grand scheme of hooey and hogwash, the purported health benefits of organic fruits and vegetables over the cheaper conventional versions of the same produce rank right alongside crop circles, spoon-bending and ab-belts on the scam meter. The nutritional benefits of organic produce are nothing more than a superstition.

The organic industry's lobbying mouthpiece, the Organic Consumers Association, has spouted all sorts of claims about the benefits of organic produce, such as "On average, organic is 25% more nutritious in terms of vitamins and minerals than products derived from industrial agriculture."

But those figures come from a report filled with unsubstantiated data that was paid for by the organic food companies. Needless to say, it was in their best interest to stretch (or invent) the truth.

When actual scientists performed actual scientific research about the nutritional benefits of organic produce, they discovered absolutely no benefit in consuming organic produce.

The Stanford University study, "Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review," found "that fruits and vegetables labeled organic were, on average, no more nutritious than their conventional counterparts, which tend to be far less expensive. Nor were they any less likely to be contaminated by dangerous bacteria like E. coli," according to a New York Times recap of the study.

"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," the report found.

So there are no rational justifications for spending the extra money to purchase organic produce for health or nutritional reasons. But there must be environmental benefits, right? Wrong.

Organic foods are actually horrible for the environment and may ultimately cause people to die of starvation.

Sound crazy? Consider this: Organic farming is much less productive than conventional farming.

A Swiss study on organic farming found that organic agricultural plots are, on average, 20 percent less productive than conventional plots. As Ronald Bailey, a science correspondent at Reason magazine points out, this leaves two options if supporters of organic agriculture have their way: Either plow up forests and grassland to create a lot more land for organic agriculture or let people starve because there won't be as much food to go around.

Starvation and environmental devastation sure makes those safe fertilizers and pesticides seem a lot more appealing doesn't it?

There's nothing wrong with wanting to make sure that you and your family are eating food that's as healthy as possible. In fact, it's admirable. But there's no need to waste money on organic produce when conventional fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious at a fraction of the cost. In other words, don't be a sucker.