September 28th, 2010
07:30 AM ET
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Dan Howard takes time and care to keep his farm organically certified. This means obsessive care of the soil, eschewing chemicals in the form of pesticides and fertilizers as well as laborious hand-weeding - and it's reflected in his beans' price at the supermarket.

Sonia Angel, a licensed dietitian, tells CNN's John Zarella there isn't a significant difference in the nutrient content between organic and non-organic produce. The difference, for her, is that it's safer because it's pesticide-free.

So what does that have to do with the price of bananas?

Worth the splurge, she says, are spinach, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables that you don't peel. Bananas and other produce with an outer layer that's discarded can be bought at their usual price point.

And isn't that awfully appealing?

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Filed under: Business and Farming News • Eatocracy Week • Farms • Food Politics • Organic • Supermarkets

soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. Belle Rita

    PS: Something I forgot to mention–one of the things that makes farmers' market food more expensive is the size of the farm growing/raising it. Small production farming is more expensive than large production farming.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  2. Belle Rita

    I manage two farmers' markets. I get both organic and conventional produce. I don't notice a difference in flavor. I think freshness is more logical re: taste. I also find that the conventional growers are trying to use as few herbicides and pesticides as possible. One of the reasons that organic food is more expensive is the amount of hand work necessary to weed and get rid of bugs. Also, there is the expense of certification.

    I was part of the University of New Hampshire's Office of Sustainable Studies group that studied the future of food in New England several years ago. (You can get it online.) One of the participants owns an orchard in NH. He said that it was extremely difficult to grow apples organically as they tend to be misshapen, wormy, etc. Our UMASS orchard in Belchertown, MA is not organic–they use IPM, integrated pest management practices.

    Some of my farmers use organic farming practices, but they aren't certified organic. If you shop at a farmstand or a farmers' market, ask the people selling about the food you are buying. We have chicken, pork, and beef at one of "my" markets. All are raised without antibiotics, or hormones, and are fed organic feed, hay, grass, etc., but none are organic 'cause these farms aren't certified.

    Most folks will tell you that they prefer to eat locally grown/raised farm products rather than something grown organically from far away. I truly believe that the freshness and varieties of the local produce, etc. is what makes the difference in taste.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  3. Cincin

    I would totally purchase organic products, if I was completely informed on the materials/methods each vendor (farms) used for production/farming. Being deemed organic is a little overrate. I would need to research every part of their "organic" system to understand why they're able to mark the product as "organic" and why they able to use the price point they mark it at. In conclusion, I think the best possible way to be organic is to be self sustain, and learn and grow your own. BTW, my organic is grandma's backyard:)

    September 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  4. Jani Syed

    organic food has more flavor to me.

    September 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  5. Scott

    Educate yourselves!

    Read SEEDS OF DECEPTION & GENETIC ROULETTE by Jeffrey Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology. They will open your eyes, and if you have a brain & care about what you ingest, will also scare the crap out of you!

    Eating organic is the ONLY way to be sure you are not eating Genetically Modified foods....those on the market now (corn, soy, canola, alfalfa, beets, papaya, squash, zucchini and associated derivitive products, i.e.corn syrup/HFCS, soy derivitives, etc) are engineered to have pesticide in EVERY CELL of the plant, which may in turn produce unanticipated proteins that can cause allergies or worse. Those of you not eating organic and those those whose diets are only partly organic are guinea pigs and unwitting dupes in the largest uncontrolled science experiment ever. Thanks Big Ag!

    GM foods were approved without any real scientific testing in '96, based on assurances from the biotech sector, and since then we have seen an enormous increase in allergies among children and adults, increases in incidences of gastro-intestinal diseases like Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis among children, and other health effects that have no known cause attributed to them. Coincidence? I think not...

    Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Cargill, Syngenta, Novartis and all the other biotech companies are getting away with murder...literally in some cases...although without proper scientific testing and adequate testing protocols, we'll never know for sure. (I can only say that because they haven't passed the so-called "Food-Disparagement Laws" in my state...although if they do, I'll still say it anyway....let them lock me up for speaking the truth.) Until then, we have to rely on the word of companies such as Monsanto, with a vested interest in promoting GM foods, that they are safe. Given the revolving door between the biotech companies and federal agencies such as the FDA, USDA & EPA, I don't expect that to happen anytime soon, as those agencies are all just as 'captured' as the Minerals Management Service was with BP.

    kNOw GMO'S!!! GrOw ORGANIC!!!

    September 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  6. Monocas


    September 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  7. betcha

    "Organic" doesn't always equal homegrown; look at the fruit, not the label. IMHO, tomatoes, squashes, and most fruits or veggies that ripen in a warehouse are Blah compared to homegrown crops. That is because the nutrients and natural sugars imparted from tree or vine don't make it into the fruit before they fridge it, spray it CO2, and ship it out.

    I put in just one grape tomato plant in my backyard this year. That $3 investment has yielded pounds of flavorful tomatoes that add a punch to everything I cook. After tasting vine-ripened or tree-ripened fruits, you just can't go back to those ugly, green, pitted things they sell in the grocery store. I tend to kill everything I try to grow, but a trip to Trader Joe's or the farmer's market is always worthwhile.

    September 29, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  8. The_Mick

    As a master chemist, home veggie gardener, and comparison food shopper, I get a kick while walking through Whole Foods or Trader Joes and reading all the "green" pronouncements on the packaging. In America, our industries' influence on government allows for misleading definitions that would not be tolerated in most advanced nations. If you don't believe that, consider "free range" chickens. They can be called that if they're penned in extremely crowded, closed-in chicken houses for 23 hours and 55 min. per day, then allowed to go outdoors into a crowded pen for 5 min. each day. Look it up. EVERY American brand of extra virgin olive oil (considered more "green" by many than later, sometimes chemically aided later pressings) FAILED a test at America's Test Kitchen for quality -most weren't even 100% EVOO. EVERY European brand passed. The labels on many other products are spun to mislead one into thinking that no pesticides were used, etc. when close examination of the small print on the label indicates "minimized." DUH – every farmer tries to get the maximum yield with the minimum cost of pesticides, fertilizers, etc! So I don't even know if I'm getting "green" stuff: even the produce sold at the Amish Market in Annapolis, MD includes items that are shipped from other nations! I try to be as green as practical, but in America it's not too practical – or clear what you're doing!

    September 29, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
    • W

      Fortunately, usda certified organic food is regulated so you know what you are buying, including free range being included.

      September 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  9. nutty

    I like organic peanut butter. how about you?

    September 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  10. Sam

    I ALWAYS buy organic, even if the item is more on the expensive side. Good health is priceless and is a number one priority. I can skip going to the movies or out to eat one night a week in order to provide the best ingredients to my body.

    September 29, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  11. oboolo

    i wasn't much of a food guy, i always bought the cheapest food. but after living in australia for 3 years, food here in the US tastes bland.

    September 28, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  12. James Fox

    Regarding organic produce, there really is a lot of good science available to inform your opinion. If you have any intellectual integrity you need to be willing to change your mind when facts say what you think is wrong. Most people who are believers in the virtue of organic food seem unwilling to listen to what current scientific research is saying. And what its saying is that organic is not safer, cleaner, or healthier. I don’t have a dog in the fight except that I will not spend more money if there’s no proven benefit. And I’ve done plenty of my own taste and quality research to know there is no appreciable difference if both options are fresh and as local as is reasonably possible.

    September 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  13. Carl

    The only single benefit I can see from organic produce is the reduction in pesticide residues. Any othe perceived benefits, I'm convinced, is simply psychological enhancement. If you think it tastes better, it probably does. I grow small container garden, do not need pesticide, and will use compost when available, but I hit the plants with a dose of Miracle Gro now and then. They thrive, and the plants get all the basic nutrients they need from that and the regular soil in which they are planted. I think they taste great, and certainly better than the half-ripe organic stuff my grocery store sells.

    September 28, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  14. Kit

    I try to buy organic, although at the moment I am studying abroad and haven't quite figured out the food situation and I can't read labels very well without a dictionary... However I don't buy organic because it doesn't use pesticides, I buy it because I have more assurance that there were no human rights violations occurring in the process. I prefer to buy from local farmers, but I'll take what I can get. Other countries allow certain chemicals that are banned in the US, not because it will hurt the consumer, but because it will hurt the workers. Large fruit companies really do use these chemicals, and they are making real people sick. So I stick with organic. Even though I am a college student with very little money, I'll sacrifice on other things in order to pay for food I know has not been made under questionable means.

    September 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  15. CO-Voter

    The one food that has the most amount of pesticides and a peel really surprised me: cantaloupe. I buy mostly organic fruits and vegetables, but not always those with a peel, but cantaloupe is very "tainted." Check out The Organic Center: It's a great resource.

    September 28, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  16. TL

    I use the criteria the author specifies here. It's nothing new. It has been relatively broadly available criteria for when to buy organic for quite some time. I also container garden on my patio & at a local communicty garden, (since I am a townhome dweller), and can and freeze as much as I can, (which isn't always much when I'm done eating it!). I also shop farmer's markets and co-ops with local producers who, while not organically certified, use less chemically and anti-biotically dominant agriculture methods. It's a bit more expensive, but I know where it comes from, who grew it, & their kids, and can see they care about sustainability and quality in what they produce. Whereas Con-Agra cares mostly about transferring your money to their shareholders at any cost, if they leave a few dead bodies in their wake, we so be it. It's the price of profit.

    September 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  17. Amy

    50 years ago, farming practices were drastically different – there was no 'organic' or non organic – there was just food. The cost of a gallon of organic milk closely mimics the cost of a 'normal' gallon of milk in the 30s, adjusted for inflation. While it might not have met the stringent requirements necessary for organic, it certainly was produced in a much more sustainable, locally oriented, less industrial chemicals, non GMO way.

    I personally choose to spend extra money on meat, egg and dairy products that advertise humane treatment of animals, no added hormones, and no antibiotics in feed. I buy pasture fed beef, which is higher in omega 3 fatty acids than conventionally raised beef. If a farmer has an animal get sick, I am not opposed to them getting antibiotics, it is the routine antibiotics in diet that I object to. We get some meat directly from the farmer, and some from our co-op.
    For produce, I try to grow my own in part and am working to increase what we can grow. In the summer I buy other produce from the farmers market. I tend to buy fruit in the grocery store, but only buy it in season or frozen. I put local products at the highest priority – for example, I but organic garlic in store when not available in farmers market because the conventional garlic is from china. But I buy non organic apple juice because the organic contains apples from argentina and china.
    I realize organic food is not perfect – there are organic pesticides also. I do not fault any one for choosing differently than I do. And I realize organic food is expensive. I think the most important thing is to try to have a healthy diet with plenty of good nutritional food, lots of fruits and veggies, and to try to make the best choices you can, within your budget.

    September 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • James Fox

      Amy, you should understand that organic meat is often associated with what is essentially animal cruelty.

      September 28, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
      • tvgirl1870

        ...and feedlot-finished corn-fed beef *isn't* cruel to the animals?

        See www. every – feedlot- fed- animal – ever- raised .com

        September 28, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  18. Really?

    Obviously a more legitimate taste test would be 2 unmarked pieces of fruit (or veggies) with the goal to see how many people chose which option. The test mentioned above would only test the pre-conceived notions about produce and therefore would really be useless as a genuine study.
    It is interesting to me however, that many (I won't say all, although that would probably be more accurate in my experience) of the people that proclaim global warming, buy fresh, buy local, and organic to be BS, also place a very low degree of emphasis on courtesy and respect. Kindness, whether to other people, the land or animals, is high on my list of priorities, but it seems that many people place such a low value on anything other than themselves, their desires, or their immediate family that they lose sight of the effects of human actions. This is a generalization I acknowledge, but very much indicative of my observations.

    September 28, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • Eric

      A triangle test would be even better.

      September 28, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  19. RB

    There's some items that I'll buy only in organic, usually the one's that you eat without pealing the skin off, like an apple. Of those, I will only buy if the price is OK and the produce looks fresh. Also, I hope that people will start demanding that companies label whether an item is Genetically Engineered. While we are somewhat informed of what's organic, we have no idea what has been produced this way.

    September 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  20. MrDLoomis

    Organics are BS. Watch the Penn & Teller's BS episode about organic products. They did a side-by-side taste test with people. When they tasted the one marked organic, they all said it tasted sooo much better, more flavor, better texture, etc.

    Then they revealed that both samples were non-organic, and from the same piece of fruit or vegetable.

    You should have seen the sputtering and bewildered was great.

    Organic is like global warming...BS.

    September 28, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • CO-Voter

      It doesn't have to do with taste–it has to do with what you are NOT getting when you eat organic–lots and lots of chemicals and pesticides! When you refer to taste, you're just not getting the argument.

      September 28, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  21. P. Lee

    (Really?) You are so right on! And people, go and read Michael Pollen books and the must see Food, Inc. Most of these stuff I kinda knew in the back of my head. But to be eplained so thoroughly and in such a compelling way that how would anyone w/ any common sense and regards to the Earth and others be for Chemicals in our Foods. Corporations have for years try to hide from us the behind the scenes operation because they knew if it leaks out into major mainstream media, people wouldn't want to eat any of that stuff. I believe the huge part is education, and I dont mean just from schooling but also from your own family, friends, network, and information sources. Heck, these corporations fought tooth and nail on whether to label something organic or not. Even if it was a compromise, I do believe in the importance of true labeling.
    —Another point that Pollen points out, we used to spend more on our food and less on medical costs and now the opposite is true. We spend less on food but ever increasingly more on the later.
    —The bottom line is, support what you think would nourish your body and spirit. And yes, this means it does matter how and where foods are being produced. Kind of like GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT sort of thing. And no, I don't think of compost as garbage!

    September 28, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  22. Really?

    For all that use the argument that "testing has been done" on the chemicals that are used on our food...have you forgotten about all of the chemicals, drugs, etc that have been approved, marketed and then recalled due to serious side effects? We all have to make our own choices, but I think much of this issue is common sense. How many studies have been done on the long term effects (I'm talking about 50 or 75 years) of moderate to high consumption of pesticides? Most studies are much shorter term and in my opinion do not accurately reflect the results.
    I grow as much of my own produce as possible, I have hens for my own egg supply and I buy pasture raised meats, milk here on the farm and make some of my own cheese. Can everyone do this? Of course not, BUT you can grow a surprising amount of produce in a 10X10 (for example) area, you can buy local eggs and locally raised pastured meats. The key is to get to know the farmer. Some misrepresent their practices, which gives all of us a bad name to some, but do farm visits, ask questions. You'll know an honest farmer just as you know an honest person in any business.
    I have chosen to never use chemicals on my produce, even the ones labeled OMRI approved. I lose some to pests, but have found that a balance occurs when you refrain from using chemicals aren't just killing the bad bugs, you are killing the good bugs too. We have lived in a society that is accustomed to instant gratification for too long. I think it's time that we (each one of us) looks at the impact that we personally have on the earth. Maybe you haven't seen the data that proves that X chemical has a long lasting effect on the natural soil microbes, but what if we find that it does? Can't just go out and buy another earth if we completely ruin this one...
    I think that many people have chosen to take a stance against anything organic, or sustainable, etc, simply because to acknowledge awareness, would mean taking some sort of action and that might be inconventient. If we acknowlege that our chemicals are having a detrimental effect on the earth, we would then be forced to either admit that we are too selfish to make the changes that we should, or change our approach with often means more effort expended. It's simply easier to decide that all of the "organic business" is a rip off and some schmoe's scheme to make an extra profit. Never mind the huge profits the "mega companies" make by discrediting the risk of chemicals and their ability to "out market" any small or local food push. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I'm not blind to the realities either.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • Eric

      The "testing has been done' argument applies to organic produce as well. Rotenone (a natural chemical) was allowed on organic produce, then it wasn't, and now is again. Does it cause Parkinson's? Maybe, maybe not.

      September 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  23. atrollstroll

    If you want your children to have memories like yours, take them back to India. The US doesn't have the climate to grow coconuts, papaya, mango, and banana trees.

    September 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  24. newcardinal

    Read about potential problems caused by HFCS in the food we buy.

    September 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  25. chadwood

    I disagree with this writer's opinion in regards to the value of organic produce (i. e. – only buy organic produce that you don't peel). The use of pesticides is only part of the reason why inorganic produce isn't as good as their organic brethren. What about the chemicals that are sprayed deep into the soil that the produce is grown in? What about the enzymes used in inorganic produce to speed up ripening? What about the taste?

    September 28, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  26. Sesha

    I have to simply state that organic milk, greens, vegetables, eggs, chicken do taste better. I grew up in India. We lived in a big city (Mumbai) and during summers we went to visit our family farm in the South. I have very fond memories of seeing all the wonderful animals – cows, goats, hens. We had couple of silk cotton trees in the backyard along with coconut, papaya, mango, banana trees & vegetables. Growing up I took all of it for granted. After living in US for a long time I wonder if my children will have fond memories like mine. Anyway, my parents who live here, have a house and plant vegetables in their backyard. They taste so much fresher! If I ever own a house I have to have a garden.
    Organic fruits and vegetables do cost a lot of money. There is no question about it. Our current state of economy is not helping us however we all make sacrifices. Supporting local farmers and businesses is expensive but important.
    Its hard however plan buying for organic produce according to your budget. Fruits which can be peeled can be conventional, greens – collard, kale, chard, mustards better to purchase organic, and, with veggies – go half and half. We need to do our part to eat better, exercise, and be healthy.

    September 28, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  27. SDW

    Eric is right (above comment). Many people think organic means zero pesticides. You are wrong if you think that. Organic growers still use sprays and some are nasty. I am a farmer and know what organic means.

    September 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  28. RJ

    Why isn't there a choice for: "I buy some organic, but for some produce, it just doesn't matter"?
    Isn't this what the article is saying?

    September 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  29. Andy

    Non-organic produce has petrochemical residue on it. No thanks!!

    – A

    September 28, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  30. Susie

    LOL!!! This discussion is hilarious. Its like watching Penn & Teller's BS: Organic Food Myths debunked and down right insulting for people who can't get rice on their plates daily! My grandparents ate bacon, gravy, biscuits, cornbread, and canned Green Giant veggies if they had a bad crop season. They lived to be over 90! Organic is a sugar coated word for "mind control" from corporations. Its just like buying a Marc Jacobs t-shirt that takes 10 cents to make in China. Idiots. Unless you grow your own food or harvest it yourself, you have no idea where it came from.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • Fred Evil

      Every test I have seen has shown that organic foods are actually LESS tasty, and LESS nutritious than non-organic. Not to mention far more expensive.
      Where was the option for, "I avoid organic foods, because I can think for myself?"

      September 28, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
      • Sam

        Obviously you've never conducted your own taste test...

        September 29, 2010 at 9:48 am |
    • CO-Voter

      Again, you are missing the point. People who buy organic don't do it because it tastes better. They eat organic because of what it doesn't have–a lot of pesticides and chemicals! I don't want that in my fruit. If you want better tasting–you eat local: fresh, ripe foods picked when they are ripe, not weeks before so that they can ripen on a boat/airplane/train on their way to the US grocery store.

      September 28, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  31. FoodSmarts

    Industrial Agriculture techniques are polluting ground water, contaminating the soil and air, and the monocultures and lack of soil roationlead to further soil nutrient depletion. The GMOS (Genetically Modified Organisms) have not been studied...we ARE the test. True organic farms have higher soil quality and the plants draw from that and have higher nutrient value. Industrial-Ag and multi-food corporations are doing a PR spin right now to make people think there is not a difference. And guess DO pay more for's just hidden. The hidden costs of tax subsidies and the cost of human health due to chemical/pesticide pollution and cleanup...factor those in and you might be singing a different tune. Are Americans healthy? How are we doing statistically? It's sad when you start looking in to the stats. Our family supports local, organic farmers as much as possible. The extra care they take with the soil is amazing. As for the mega multi-food you really think they have your best interests at heart? How many of you would have called your grandma an elitist food snob for pulling a carrot out of her backyard garden...she most likely didn't inundate her soil with loads of pesticides. Sheesh! Let's level the economic playing field for organic farmers....give them a share of the taxpayer subsidies like the giant corporations now get and maybe we'll all be singing a different tune. The real ripoff is what the food corporations are getting away with: food that the taxpayers pay for that comes from polluted, deleted soil. The posts on here really show the lack of dot-connecting that is going on with American consumers and how easily they are bamboozled by corporate spin.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  32. James

    Two products where I found the taste difference between organic and non-organic were celery, and milk. In both cases I found the taste difference substantial.

    In respect of organic celery I found it much less astringent, more flavourful, but mild and gentle to the taste buds, My children really noticed the difference and I would say our celery consumption is more then double from prior to the switch.

    Likewise with milk. I was surprised about the taste diff between organic and non-organic, as where I live even regular milk is not supposed to come from cows with restrictions on inputs, but there was a difference, and to me it was substantial.

    My other orgnanic musts when available are blueberries, strawberries, peaches, apples and pears. For meat, I try to buy organic cooked chickens (which are only avg $1-$2 more) for school lunch components as I know the darn things are otherwise pumped full of hormones and crap that is particularly damaging to the girls.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • CO-Voter

      Totally agree James! Milk does taste better. And the chicken–can you imagine all the antibiotics we get from regular meats? I do buy natural and organic meats as much as possible for my daughters.

      September 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  33. Joseph

    How long will it take for people to stop assuming "Organic" means "Pesticide Free" or "Chemical Free"? That assumption is completely FALSE. A few simple searches should pull up enough information online.

    Organic farmers are allowed to use chemicals, they just cannot be synthetic and must be derived from natural sources. Natural, also, does not mean it is better or safer. Radon and Asbestos are natural! Studies were done on synthetic pesticides and about half were discovered to be carcinogens. They then looked at the natural pesticides organic farmers use and about half of them were shown to be carcinogens!

    Another study looked at the efficacy of synthetic or natural pesticides. The synthetic ones would solve the problem in 1 or 2 applications. Some of the natural ones took up to 7 applications and the natural one was harmful to aquatic life.

    About the only thing I feel worth paying for organic is meat where the animals are not given antibiotic filled food and hormones. It is around 70% of all antibiotics produced do not go to people but animals!

    September 28, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  34. Eric

    I like buying locally at the farmers market, but it is expensive. Organic isn't all it is cracked up to be. If you want to know what it is, look up the Federal Code, Title 7, Part 205. Skip down to § 205.600 – 619 for the list of nasty stuff that can be used in organic food production.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • Susie

      Thank you for posting this!! There are so many pretentious people that need to read it.

      September 28, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  35. Terra Wellington

    You failed to mention another MAJOR benefits of organic: non-GMO and non-toxic for bees.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Eric

      Sabadilla is organic, first used in the 16th century. It can be used in the production of organic produce. It is highly toxic to bees.

      September 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
      • Terra Wellington

        Here is a link to how to farm while still conserving and protecting pollinators -

        October 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  36. Bob

    Organic food is not pesticide free. Organic farming can and often does use organic pesticides and insecticides, such as sulfur and oil. They require about 8 times the amount of pesticide or insecticide as conventional farming, often returning lower yield per acre. Since there are no organic herbicides, weeds must be tilled, which greatly erodes the soil. Some of the organic insecticides have been shown to have bad side effects if high enough quantities. One is based off the chrysanthemum blossum, and has been shown to cause parkinson's disease in rats if in high enough quantities. There is no nutritional benefit, nor is it safer, to eat organic. Most people spend money on organic because they think they are buying from some ma-and-pop dairy or farm. Most of these organic producers are huge conglomerates. The enforcement on making sure something is organic is nearly nonexistant. Stonyfield dairy, which makes organic yogurt, gets their milk freeze-dried from new zealand and their blueberries from China. If you want organic seasonal food all-year round, then much of it comes from outside the US. I would posit that Chinese organic blueberries are not safer than American grown "non-organic" blueberries. People pay more for organic because they think it is healthier, tastier, and better for the environment. It is none of those things.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  37. Allen Kwok

    As Penn and Teller said: Organic Food is B.S. There is no benefits from organic food. It tastes worse than non-organic. It's a lie to assume that they don't use pesticides in organic food. Organic food doesn't mean they don't use pesticides, it means they don't use synthetic pesticides. The chances of you getting sick from eating nonorganic food is the same as you getting sick and catching ecoli from organic food.You get better tasting food, more consistent results, healthier and cheaper results if you eat nonorganic food. Eating organic food is a spit in the face to modern science, and health.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  38. Alice Deane

    I grow a lot of my own produce, and I'm a master gardener, so I've researched this a lot. My take is that "local" and "sustainable" are the two terms that are more relevant than "organic" for me. I have friends who have organic certification and they have to jump through a lot of hoops in their cultivation techniques. I use no chemicals or pesticides or herbicides myself. I have a list of what produce has the most pesticide residue that is on my fridge and I use that to judge whether I should pay the extra for organic or not. Most of my grocery store purchases are fruits rather than vegetables, and I can shop at the local farmer's market year round when my own garden hasn't got what I need. Why poison yourself when you can avoid it? There are all these ways to judge what to buy and what not to buy, you just have to take an active part in your eating habits. It'll cost you more in the long run to treat cancer than to buy organic peppers and strawberries, right? I urge everyone to start growing their own.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  39. Chris

    the poll is ridiculously one-sided. it portrays the choice between organic and non-organic in the same light as buying first class or coach airfare – i.e., as if the only factor is cost. what about those of us who buy organic when it's available, but will buy non-organic necessities if there's no option? also, certain non-organic foods (such as berries, bell peppers, and other foods where we eat the skin) carry greater risk than others (like onions). if the risk is low, i will choose the local variety over something that required long transportation. most objective studies tend to show no difference in taste or quality. the real issue is exposure to pesticides and other chemicals. so some of us will focus on organics for our kids, but may be less concerned about the things adults (who grew up without the benefit of organics and thus have pesticides bioaccumulated in our bodies) eat.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • coach and first class

      At the end of the day, everyone gets to their destination on the same plane. The only difference is I will pass gas as I am boarding before taking my seat in coach, and it will be accumulated within the first class cabin.

      September 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  40. Logike

    It has been tested and tested again that eating organic is not any better than eating regular foods. It is a waste of time, energy and resources. It is completely inefficient and if it's not any healthier then what's the point?? The pesticides and other chemicals are tested many times before they are ever released to be used on crops, etc. The companies spend millions on that testing and it ensures that it's healthy. Don't worry about it. The worrying has been done for you.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:55 am |
  41. Emily

    I try and buy organic when I can, but some things are just way too expensive when on a budget. I made a point of buying organic grapes a few months ago, and ended up throwing 2/3 of the bunch about 36 hours after purchase due to rampant mold growth despite not immediately washing them and keeping them in the fridge. The ones I was able to eat were great, but I can't afford to spend half again as much for organic grapes and then throw most of them away.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:54 am |
  42. homer

    I buy organic whenever it tastes better... which is most of the time. If there's no difference in taste, I don't care about the health benefits. I only care how it tastes

    September 28, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  43. Afell

    Here is a clue, folks. Instead of buying organic at the grocery store, buy local. Go to your local Farmer's Markets or even to your local farms to get fresh produce. Buy and eat what is in season instead of buying grapes from Chile or oranges from Morocco. The more you do this, the less food has to be shipped from all over the world to make it into your kitchen. If your local produce is organic, even better.

    If there is something you really, really like and you cannot find it locally, you could always start your own garden, even if it is nothing more than a window box where you grow some tomatoes. It really doesn't take all that much time, and it has the built-in reward of tasting sooo much better than anything you could ever buy in the store.

    For instance, when I started looking around my own local area, I was very pleased to discover that I had a wide variety of peach, apple and pear orchards within a 20 mile drive, as well as at least 5 local farmer's markets that run every Saturday morning through the growing season where I can buy just about every vegetable available in season, from corn to potatoes to Swiss chard to watermelon. In addition to this, I have my window box where I grow my on fresh herbs and a couple of planters on my patio that have some tomato plants.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:51 am |
    • Belle Rita

      I agree with you. Try to eat as many of your foods from local sources when you can. Do without some things when they are out of season. For instance, I only buy corn, blueberries and peaches when they are in season; the flavor is immensely better. I seldom buy tomatoes or strawberries out of season, mostly when I need some color in something. What you will discover is that you look forward to the food that you only buy in season, you savor it, and you miss it when the season is over. It gives you something to look forward to.

      Would you make jams or jellies with out of season fruit? Of course not. The reason anyone makes them with seasonal items is due to the TASTE. What a concept.

      September 30, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  44. Jet Li

    The whole Organic thing is a scam. I think 20/20 did a show on this Organic food thing long time ago.. How do you trust the producer if he/she just change the label??

    September 28, 2010 at 10:48 am |
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