Is Organic Food Better? No, It's a Scam
Organic Food Is Not More Nutritious Than Conventionally Grown Food
A recent review conducted by British researchers have come to the conclusion that conventionally grown food is just as nutritious as organically grown food. The review was financed by the Foods Standard Agency in Britain and the conclusions published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Since this was a review done by scientists and not organic food lobbyists I believe their assessment.
Predictably, the report was met with outrage by the pro organic lobbyists and their supporters that have claimed that organic food is more nutritious. Much is at stake for them; the organic food industry has grown from $2.5 million in 1988 to more than $650 million in 2007. The report not only threatens the producers' livelihood but future growth as well. So it begs the question, if conventionally grown food is just as nutritious as organic food at 1/3 to ½ the price of organic food, why bother buying organically grown food? Is the organic food movement a scam?
Kinder and Safer?
Many consumers say that they buy organically grown food because it doesn't use as many chemical pesticides, is kinder to the environment and therefore safer. But just because organic or natural pesticides are used to grow food doesn't mean it's safer. The idea that organic growers can use manure does not make me think it's safer to eat organic food, it just make me not want to eat it. And I don't see how it's kinder to the environment; organically grown food exhausts the soil because chemicals aren't used to help promote growth of the crops and protect the nutrients in the soil. Additionally the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), said “Measured residues on most products, both organic and non-organic, do not exceed government-defined thresholds for safe consumption.”
Enthusiasts of organic food lastly claim that it tastes better than conventionally grown food. But taste is subjective and is influenced by the individual's perception. Taste can't be measured scientifically.
Organic Food Poll
How much organic food do you buy?See results without voting
Why Buy Organic?
So if organic food is not more nutritious and not safer but is a lot more expensive, why buy it? And here, we can take a look at who is the audience for organic food. The consumers are usually people who have the discretionary income to buy it. I think for this group of people, they have used food as a status symbol. Ordinary, conventionally grown food is too accessible to everyone but organically grown food that is priced at two or three times the normal price, well they must be better because it costs more. Never mind that organically grown food is shown to be an inefficient use of soil and labor, that actually just contributes to the mystique surrounding organic food. It implies a certain custom made-ness of food. Because organic food doesn't use the normal chemical pesticides, it is subject to more attention and more waste. It is conspicuous consumption not by way of gluttony but by way of illusory scarcity.
Now if people with discretionary income want to waste their money, that's fine by me, that's a way of spreading the wealth around through the financial markets. But it is a problem, if people without a lot of money end up spending more of their limited income on their food bill needlessly because they are being influenced and made to feel that conventionally grown food is not as nutritious. Instead of buying and enjoying a delicious bag of Macintosh apples, they buy one exotic organically grown Macintosh apple. How is that helping lower income people? They just end up hungrier and less healthier. I think more needs to be done about countering some of these baseless claims that organic food is “better” than conventionally grown food. People's lives can be at stake and I'm glad that there are more scientific studies showing that conventionally grown food is just as healthy as organically grown and that more attention is being paid these studies.
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