If organic farming is the natural way, shouldn’t organic produce just be called “produce” and make the pesticide-laden stuff take the burden of an adjective?
Did you see the international news yesterday that researchers at Stanford University published a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine? You can believe that my husband sent me the article first thing in the morning from BBC News, “Organic food ‘not any healthier“. What about NPR’s headline, “Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You”?
But… when you read the articles you see that it isn’t actually a new study but review of more than 200 studies; all short-term, none longer than two years, with different variables. More research is needed.
In fact, the abstract says:
“Limitation: Studies were heterogeneous and limited in number, and publication bias may be present.”
Who made this international headline news?
The Conclusion is…inconclusive. It says the already published literature hasn’t proven that organic foods are more nutritious than conventional foods but it acknowledges that exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria may be reduced.
The news to me was how much safer it is to eat organic by reducing exposure to pesticides and antibiotic resistant bacteria. The study says by 30%, but the numbers are bigger than that (read Thom Philpott’s article)! Why so misleading?
Let’s take a look at antibiotic use here, 80% of antibiotics sold in this country are used by the meat and poultry industries to precipitate growth of beef, pork and chicken, which is then sold in supermarkets. Because of the overuse of antibiotics in meat, we now have bacterial “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics, which can be deadly. By the way, the European Union banned the use of antibiotics in 1999. That’s 13 years difference and our only way of protecting ourselves, here in the United States, is buy buying organic or local.
The abstract says it’s self-funded— whatever that means. It seems like another push for the Big Ag industry and a boost for those who are on the fence in California about Prop 37 and labeling GMO’s.
I have heard, here or there, that organic food has more vitamins and minerals. But, it isn’t as easy as that. There are all kinds of factors when it comes to nutrient values of foods, things like growing conditions, soil, fertilizers used and how long it’s stored.
Eating organic because of nutrient value isn’t my top reason for choosing organic— although, organic strawberries and tomatoes do have more antioxidants than conventional ones. Then again, they also lack the heavy pesticide sprays and ethylene.
I prefer organic because conventional food could be: genetically engineered, laden with antibiotics, created with synthetic, chemical pesticides and fertilizers; grown in sewer sludge and then exposed to irradiation to kill off bacteria, viruses and any other icky stuff left over from the sludge it’s grown in; made with artificial dyes and sweeteners, and made with artificial growth hormones.
I have said this one before: the environment is better off with organic farming; synthetic chemicals are devastating to our waterways— rivers, lakes and oceans. The birds, the bees, the butterflies and all the other wildlife thank you for using more natural ways.
I wish I had just missed the news that day. I am not better informed by hearing a bit of news that says a study looking at 200 other studies that all say that there might not be any difference nutritionally but more research is needed? This is the big headline?
Organic food isn’t healthier? That’s a big statement. Healthier is about much more than nutritional values.
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