Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Truth About Organic Food


Every day, organic food is becoming more and more popular. Most people, understandably, claim that they want to eat healthy food, and that organic is a good way to go about it. People also tend to claim it tastes better than regular food. But is this all true? Is it really healthier? Does it really taste better? Is it worth all that extra money? In this blog post, I am going to present what the scientific evidence says.

First, what is organic food? Essentially, it is just food that is grown without genetic modification and which contains no artificial additives or synthetic pesticides.

Lets talk about pesticides. Organic or not, all food has some sort of pesticides used on it. The benefit of synthetic pesticides is that they have been extensively tested, and found to have no effect on people. Does this mean that organic pesticides will make you sick? No. While high amounts of organic pesticides are toxic to fish, cause Parkinson’s disease in rats, and have found to be toxic to other mammals, the levels that humans are exposed to in food are harmless. Just like with synthetic pesticides. Studies have also been done on levels of biotoxins between organic and conventional foods, and no difference has been found.

Measuring toxins and pesticide levels is all well and good, but is organic healthier? Well, as it turns out, a five year study done by Quality Low Input Food (QLIF) found that indeed, organic food had higher levels of good things, and lower levels of bad things. Great! However, no question in science is answered by just one study. There needs to be multiple studies before you can start to reach a conclusion. The QLIF realized this, and concluded that “further and more detailed studies are required to provide proof for positive health impacts of organic diets on human and animal health.”

In contrast, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), in the UK, issued a statement regarding organic food, saying “Consumers may choose to buy organic fruit, vegetables and meat because they believe them to be more nutritious than other food. However, the balance of current scientific evidence does not support this view.” That is, despite the study by the QLIF, basically all the other studies point in the other direction.

For example, a the FSA spent twelve months reviewing all of the literature on organic food, and found that "there is no good evidence that the consumption of organic food is beneficial to health in relation to nutrient content." Other studies have concluded the same thing.

So what about taste? Every organic food fan I have known uses this as the trump card. However, I have always been skeptical of such a claim, since you can trick yourself into believing just about anything when it comes to taste. Your subjective opinion of something is just not a reliable way to answer a question when you are heavily biased from the get go. Conveniently, studies have been done on this too, and as it turns out, one study found that people preferred organic apples to conventional ones. They described the apples as sweeter and firmer.

However, a number of other studies have found just the opposite. In those studies, people were unable to distinguish any difference in taste between organic and conventional foods.

But the most troubling aspect of all this comes from a very recent study which found that influential organic food organizations were guilty of promoting false information. The study stated that these organization's claims were “unreliable” and “harm the consumer.” This really comes as no surprise. When people invest themselves in a certain position, and evidence starts to pile against them, many choose to turn a blind eye, or flat out lie, rather than admit error. They simply have too much invested in their position to give it up. Not good, since that is the territory of science deniers-- the home of creationists, anti-vaxers and others.

In conclusion, it seems that while there are a few studies showing benefits of organic food, the overwhelming majority of studies have shown that the only difference is about a 10-40% increase in price. Ultimately, I would suggest visiting organic food stores, but only to check out the babes in their yoga pants. Buy your food somewhere else.

90 comments:

  1. "When people invest themselves in a certain position, and evidence starts to pile against them, many choose to turn a blind eye, or flat out lie, rather than admit error."

    You clearly come to this with a predisposition against organic foods and your weak argument suggests you are invested in the position against organic foods. Human beings were eating natural foods free from genetic modification and pesticides for millennia prior to there being scientific studies as you describe and it is the level of disease rampant in our society due to exposure to a multitude of chemicals causing the attempt by a segment of the population to reduce that exposure and go 'organic.' In my experience it is true that some people lead healthier lives by eating organic and some do not, but to emphatically state that the only difference is about a 10-40% increase in price shows an ignorance on your part I thought you would have avoided.

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    1. Loved your response, totally agree with you. He already had a bias predisposition before writing this garbage.

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    2. Anon (Dec 9, 2012),

      It's highly revealing that neither you (or anyone else) is able to support your position with anything other than claims of bias. For sake of argument, let's say I am the most biased person in the world on this topic. Now, how does that have any effect on my argument? How does that have any effect on the research? If I am so biased, then for goodness sake, show me the evidence. Just cite the studies. It's not hard.

      It doesn't matter who cites the research. The evidence is the evidence. If your view of the world doesn't match experiment, then your view is wrong. Sorry.

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    3. People also used to live to the average age of 38, so used to doesn't mean better. Not saying organic foods are better or worse, but using that argument is pretty silly.

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  2. Kyle, come now.

    I really, really have no issues with organic food. If it's healthier, safer, etc... great! I am in support of whatever the evidence says. And the evidence says it's not really any different.

    Genetic modification has a long, LONG history. For centuries, farmers have used selective breeding to "make" the best livestock. Currently, genetic manipulation has also saved billions of lives.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIvNopv9Pa8

    As for your claim that non organic foods are responsible for disease, you are confusing correlation with causation... You are also factually wrong. Modern societies have never, EVER had such a high life expectancy as they do now.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy#Life_expectancy_variation_over_time

    My statement regarding the main difference between organic and conventional food is absolutely true. Read the studies. Overwhelmingly, the evidence shows that there is no health or taste difference. The only significant difference is cost.

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  3. An argument filled with empirical evidence vs a rebuttal containing only anecdotal evidence. Hmm, which one to side with, this is hard...

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  4. This is very poorly written and does not tell the whole story.

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  5. Could you please expand upon your criticisms? What about it is poorly written? And how am I failing to tell the whole story when I just reference studies?

    Could it be that you just don't like my conclusion?

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    1. What in the hell is wrong with a carrot grown in plain old dirt.People are living longer today because some of us are making smarter choices and not just believing the machine. Tell the WHOLE story, it's filled with big wigs and fat pockets.

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    2. Ah, I see. Telling the "whole story" means spinning conspiracy theories. Got it.

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with growing a carrot in plain old dirt. Knock yourself out.

      There are a number of reasons that people are living longer: better medicine, better living conditions, more food, etc. What are the "smarter choices" people are making?

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    3. Sure organic food might have fewer pesticides on the product itself, but both organic and regular crop have been tested SAFE for human consumption under the USDA (the same people who qualify organic food). The price tag overall is higher because of the process the food has to go through. The soil has to be free of synthetic pesticides for 12 months before a carrot even gets into the ground.

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  6. we hurt more then our wallets by buying into this fad. because synthetic pesticides are not used to protect the plants they some but not all the plants will be unsuitable for eating or not grow at all, this makes organic farmers need to clear more land, for those who do not know what thus entails you have to clear the surrounding area which is usually covered by trees, they carry this out by chopping down trees, which for anyone who paid attention in science class absorbs co2 and their roots filter water. Then they usually burn the freshly cut trees which still have water in them producing more co2. Then they till and prepare the land which they farm. Afterwards they will probably use the plot (farmland) for a few more season till they move on to another area due to the fact plants absorb all the minerals in soil, which will stay barren due to lack of minerals. this leads to massive erosion and possible dust storms if the barren soil dries to much. Now i do not disagree organic food is healthy for you but if we all ate it not only would be poorer due to the expenses companies have to grow this healthy food, but massive amount of land would be used up to compensate for the smaller harvests.
    http://www.flexyourfood.com/2011/09/deforestation-due-to-global-meat-demand/
    https://www.msu.edu/user/dunnjef1/rd491/fertie.htm

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  7. If this statement is true; where does cancer come from and why does so many American's possess cancer.

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    1. According to the Medicinenet.com and the World Health Organization, the main causes of cancer are: sunlight, tobacco use, radiation, certain chemicals, being overweight or obese, unhealthy diet with low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, alcohol use, HPV infections, urban air pollution and indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels.

      Also, the US doesn't lead the way with cancer rates. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/24/worldwide-cancer-rates-uk-rate-drops

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    2. Also, modern medicine has allowed us to live longer (through those preventable/treatable diseases), therefore more succumb to cancer comparitavely. Goes right along with the progressively increasing life expectancy in developed nations. You have to die of something and we haven't found a way to cure cancer!

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  8. I agree with you about most of what you wrote but what about the impact of pesticides on the environment? The wikipedia entry paints a very dramatic picture:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_pesticides

    Has production of organic vegetables the same impact?

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    1. Good question. Paragraph 3 might address that to some extent... but in terms of overall impact on the environment, I am not sure.

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    2. When your source for argument is Wikipedia, your argument becomes no longer valid. Thank you for the article, Zachary. From a farmer's daughter, I appreciate the pros and cons laid out for all to see. As we used to say, "God made dirt, so dirt don't hurt."

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    3. Emilie,

      Thanks for the comment, but wikipedia is a perfectly fine source for information (as long as the info has citations). I even wrote a blog post on it :)

      http://stateofmyignorance.blogspot.com/2010/01/case-for-wikipedia.html

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  9. Dear Zak. Today I read your arguments. You are certainly very intelligent, but can be seen from your argument that you lack the wisdom of life.
    No offense.I do not want to offend.I do not doubt your good intentions to get to the bottom of the truth.
    Therefore I am sending these two addresses. I this case are undisputed.
    http://www.themeatrix.com/learn
    http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/health/
    http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/organic/ - look at Reports and Articles
    with respect Josef

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    1. Thanks for the links, Joseph! However, it seems that they are addressing things regarding meat, while my blog is addressing crops.

      I suppose I should have made that clearer in the initial post.

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  10. Great post, very informative. I too have tried to explain the truth about organic foods and some people just don't want to believe it. I suppose it has a lot to do with the misleading use of the word "organic" or it may be more of a status trend "I can afford to buy better food than you" sort of thought. Regardless of the thought behind organic being "Better" I am appreciative of posts like this. Thank you for your use of reliable resources, it makes it easier to get others off my back for feeding my family "toxic" foods.

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  11. So what about genetically modified food? How is it possible that seeds that have pesticides in them aren't harfmul? It's not.You can't wash off pesticides that are inside the food. Almost all the studies that are done are funded by the people making a profit off of the food. Do better research. France just did a study showing that gmo corn caused massive tumors in rats. Here in the U.S. corn is in nearly everything that you eat. It's a big reason why are cancer rates are so high. I've been eating organic food for two years now after I watched Food Inc. It does taste better (which I wasn't expecting) and has made me healthier. I do not get sick nearly as much and I feel better.

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    1. What about genetically modified food? Everything on the planet that has DNA is "genetically" modified. Most things are genetically modified via natural selection, sexual selection and genetic drift. Other things, like certain foods are genetically modified by farmers (via selective breeding) and scientists so crops can survive in harsher climates, cows will produce more milk, etc. For example, Norman Bourlag figured out ways to successfully grow wheat in places where it was previously impossible to do so (Mexico, India and Pakistan). As a result he is credited with having saved a BILLION lives.

      Also, all foods, organic or not, use pesticides.

      You clearly didn't read any of the research. You are relying on conspiracy theories and self reporting. When the studies are done with proper controls, all your reported benefits disappear.

      And as I already pointed out in a previous comment, the main causes of cancer have nothing to do with non-organic food. According to the World Health Organization, the main causes of cancer are: sunlight, tobacco use, radiation, certain chemicals, being overweight or obese, unhealthy diet with low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, alcohol use, HPV infections, urban air pollution and indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels.

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    2. I understand that the study from France used a strain of rats that have been bred to develop tumors to study cancer. Seems like there was an agenda in that study from the get go.

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    3. Mr Kroger,how much are monsanto paying you???????
      Nature has a perfect balance it is only man and his actions that upset this and cause problems. Gm crops have been proven to cause all kinds of health issues and this can clearly be seen in the USA who widely use these products. The only people who will gain by the use of chemicals and GM are the ones who are making them big corps with large funds who can control the media etc to publish reports like yours. Nature is best I bet you dont feed your family GM, nature can feed the world if instead of spending so much on weapons and arms and war we used our wealth to help and support and educate and gain clean energy for all. Bad management,greed,and the top 1% owning 90% of the worlds wealth created by some part the sales of chemicals,gm,oil,banking are what is wrong and no matter how many people spread lies every day I hear more and more people asking queshtions and seeking the truth. Things will change and the truth will win, the start of a positive future.

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    4. Ah yes. You know your argument is terrible when you have to rely on conspiracy theories, and don't even attempt to refute my arguments with any evidence.

      Assessing the situation, I have made several claims, all backed by research. You have done nothing but make empty accusations and assertions, with zero evidence to support them.

      Your "arguments" are no different that a moon-landing denier, creationist, holocaust denier or any other sort of pusher of pseudo science. I realize it's fun to think you know more than all the world's experts... but what is more likely: that people who have devoted their lives to studying this are wrong, or that you, someone with zero education on the topic is right?

      http://www.nbcnews.com/health/organic-food-no-better-conventional-kids-pediatricians-say-1C6611043

      http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/organic-food-healthier-stanford-researchers-nutrition-organic-meats-produce-dairy-better-article-1.1151470

      http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/09/04/160395259/why-organic-food-may-not-be-healthier-for-you

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  12. Obviously Mr.Kroger is anti-organic. Maybe if your grocery stores started selling organic you wouldnt take this stance. And kroger pharmacy sucks!

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    1. LOL! No, I am afraid I am not anti-organic. I am pro-evidence. And I hate to burst your conspiracy bubble, but I have no connection with the Kroger stores. It may be hard for you to understand this, but not everyone with the same last name is related. Plus, Kroger is not owned or even run by anyone named Kroger anymore.

      Though, Kroger DOES sell organic. Maybe not the Kroger stores (I have never been in one), but many stores that Kroger owns do (Fred Meyer and King Soopers, for example).

      Man, just look at how poor your arguments are. On every level, you are wrong about everything. How embarrassing!

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  13. Please don't say pesticides have been extensively tested, and found to have no effect on people. ALL products chemical product, ALL are harmful for the human. AND the only cause for cancer.

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    1. I'm sorry Alvaro, but saying that pesticides are the ONLY cause of cancer is just flat out wrong. I already posted links from the World Health Organization on what the main causes of cancer are.

      Go look up the Dunning-Kruger Effect and do some self reflection.

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  14. Wonderful post you have here by approaching viewers through your best content with great knowledge. thanks for sharing and do keep up posting more.

    Organic Food India

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  15. Whoever wrote this blog is a flat out ignorant fool or is graciously accepting bribes from the food industry. First off, synthetic pesticides have been found in studies to cause hyperactivity and cases of ADHD in children. Don't write propaganda!

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    1. Ah yes, proposing grand conspiracies instead of dealing with the actual evidence. Classic psudo-science.

      You are half correct though... one study (linked below) did find a correlation between ADHD and organophosphates. However, organophosphate is an organic compound which is used in both synthetic AND organic pesticides.

      Regardless, the EPA has banned residential use of organophosphates, though it is still used as a pesticide (but as you pointed out, evidence is showing that it shouldn't be).

      Look at me. Actually addressing the claims and evidence, rather than inventing conspiracies about you being paid off by Big Organic or some such nonsense.

      http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/05/17/peds.2009-3058.abstract

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organophosphate#Organophosphate_pesticides

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    2. Well the article was great until you took a cheap shot at creationists at the end. Maybe you didn't do your research on the subject but creationism is neither proven nor dis proven as an end theory or reasonable starting default position. To label creationists anti science is the only non factual statement of this article (suggesting an emotional subject) and throwing that into a factual blog is well... weird.So why do I reply on this tiny little part of the article? Well I would ask, why is even the word creationist in an article about organic food? Maybe people who make organic food are creationists, my mistake.

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    3. Sorry Dane, creationism is flat out disproven in literally area of science it touches upon. Biology, geology, cosmology, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, etc. It is also absolutely not a reasonable starting point, since it contradicts all of modern science (for example, we know that the earth revolves the sun and not vice versa. We also know that plants didnt exist before the sun, as genesis states).

      If you disagree, you just don't know enough about the given fields, and are simply falling for the Dunning-Kruger Effect. If you don't believe me, I refer you to any science department at any university on earth.

      Though, the reason I threw in creationism was to point out how dangerous it is to rely on emotion rather than evidence. That is a way of thinking reserved for people who will never be taken seriously, as their dogma blinds them to reality, and the organic food people should be careful as not to cross the line to be lumped in with such anti-science groups.

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    4. Excellent article Zachary, your argument appears cogent, the evidence compelling, I agree with your conclusions. I will definitely be checking out the rest of your blog. Also in reading your comments below, and defending of your argument I commend you. Excellent logic.

      As a logical, atheist/agnostic myself I submit to you that on the position of god and creation;

      Current scientific understanding does indeed refute the literal interpretation of biblical creation… It does not currently preclude the notion of a supreme being, or architect setting the events of the big bang in motion, or setting the rules of physics, or initiating the process of evolution. While there is no reason to believe that this is the case, and it seems unlikely, there is also no evidence that it is not. When faced with a lack of evidence for or against something, isn’t the logical conclusion “I don’t know” ?

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  16. You can make the same case against evolution (without misinterpreting it) and since these are the two best theories out there, neither is proven or dis proven.

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    1. No, you really can't. Evolution is the best explanation of the evidence we have. Evidence is what evolution is based off of-- it's a bottom up explanation (find evidence and create a theory based on it). Creationism is top down, where they start with a conclusion, and ignore and manipulate evidence to make it fit their desired conclusion.

      Also, creationism is neither a theory (since it explains nothing, and has no evidence to support it), and is not taken seriously by any scientists.

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    2. If you don't look at the word "day" literally then the creation theory can be justified. some say it was originally written as "stanza".

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    3. I disagree.

      A lot of moderate Christians, trying to salvage Genesis, will often claim that “day” doesn’t actually mean day, but means millions of years (2 Peter 3:8 states that “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”). This is logically and factually false. First of all, if day meant “a million years”, then according to Genesis 1, plants lived for millions of years without the sun. Meanwhile, if we go to Genesis 2, are we to believe that Adam lived for millions of years before plants were created? Another million years before animals were created, and then yet another million before eve came along? This is just getting stupid.

      As for the factually false aspect of it, I quote James Barr, who was a Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University, “So far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writers of Gen. 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience... Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the ‘days’ of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

      And this is not some new, liberal position or anything, in the late 1800’s theologian, Marcus Dods said if “the word ‘day’ in these chapters does not mean a period of twenty-four hours, the interpretation of Scripture is hopeless.”

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  17. I enjoyed your article Zachary. When something starts going viral such as organic becoming mainstream and with organic supporters now saying "buying organic is cheaper than cancer" makes me wonder why the need for the fear tactics? I am one who "challenges the accepted wisdom". Now with Kroger selling a huge line of organic foods, it's time to start questioning.
    I have done the "go organic" thing and felt better but feel this was more of a state of mind and my eating healthier food (i.e. fruits, vegetables and lean meats)than it had to do with the food being labeled organic. I "thought" I was doing something better, therefore, the body reacts. I think that goes for most things in life. For me, the problem with going organic was financial. Our pocketbook took a huge hit by buying food labeled organic.
    As far as the health benefits of organic food with people living longer and healthier, in my opinion, is a load of crap. I am reminded of my grandmother who lived to be 96 years old, always healthy, a little overweight but not obese, ate a diet full of fruits and vegetables with a little meat. We are from the south so you can imagine how fat filled home cooking was including sugar laden desserts. She did not eat "organic". She did a lot of home cooking and ate in moderation. She would cook a pot roast with a generic brand of mushroom soup and fry little fruit pies in Crisco for God's sake and still lived to be a 96.
    All I can say is THANK YOU ORGANIC SUPPORTERS for the fear tactics that made me wake up and smell the coffee because now I realize that like many "movements", the organic movement is down the toilet as well. Fear is a controller and I will not be manipulated by it.
    Brenda S.

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    1. Brenda, thanks for the comments! You are right, it's one thing to claim organic food has evidence to support it (which it might)... but when fear tactics are used, it's pretty clear the argument is over.

      I also agree that many of the self-reported benefits are probably placebo.

      Also, check out the anonymous comment from December 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM. You might get a chuckle out of it.

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    2. I had indeed laughed at the post on December 9, 2012 at 9:05 is the reason I posted my comment about Kroger. hehe ;)

      The part about being anti-organic was humorous as well. I am going to try to stay on subject with this one but let me say it seems when something becomes mainstream the Whole want to take it as gospel truth and then the Followers get to stirring the pot. Hey, I'm guilty of it as well. As soon as one begins to question the subject matter, we are labeled as demons (anti) looking to destroy their perceived perfect world. Happens when religion is questioned and happens with organic food for crying out loud and will continue to happen as long as people find the box that makes them feel comfy and refuse to think outside of it.

      Brenda S.


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  18. I don't know why Znnuachy boy is so obsessed with the dunning-kruger effect, he uses it in almost every argument. It's just another way of saying "you know less than me so shut up". He also loves the book "Don't Believe Everything You Think" because he doesn't want anyone he disagrees with to believe ANYTHING they think because it threatens his little precious world built on lame evidence and atheism.

    He's also always trying so hard to embarrass those who disagree with him, probably because his "science" and "research" are largely fabricated, and he really has no argument. He just wants to post his little blogs and shut down anyone who disagrees.

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    1. It's very revealing that you view critical thinking concepts, skills and books as being bad.

      You can make up any little story you like to rationalize away my arguments, but the fact is that all of my views are exactly in line with the majority of experts.

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  19. My problem is not with critical thinking it's with the fact that you use the dunning-kruger effect to shut down dialogue, and as just another way of saying that those you disagree with know less than you, ESPECIALLY those who are sure of their beliefs, even though this is also the effect of being RIGHT, which most people are when they disagree with you.

    And "Don't Believe Everything You Think", you USE this book to convince people not to believe ANYTHING they think, even though you are a hypocrite and believe everything YOU think even though you are constantly wrong in arrogant and blatant fashion.

    Once again, I don't like the way YOU use the dunning-kruger effect or "Don't Believe Everything You Think", not the effect or the book. IE the problem is with YOU not with critical thinking.GREAT BOOK, GREAT CONCEPT, BUT YOU MISUSE AND ABUSE THEM.

    Saying "all of my views are exactly in line with the majority of experts" (YOUR WORDS) is pretty anti critical thinking and very "revealing" of your extreme arrogance. You tout critical thinking skills yet YOUR ONLY CRITICISMS ARE OF OTHERS AND NOT YOURSELF.

    !!!>>>SO AGAIN WHEN DID >I< SAY I "view critical thinking concepts, skills and books as being bad."???<<<!!! I know you're not going to answer me because the answer REVEALS HOW DISHONEST AND ASSUMPTIVE YOU ARE, but I'm just hoping people will read this and realize what an assumptive simple minded liar you are.

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  20. Yeah, I said I was done emailing you and I would post on your blog at my convenience, as soon as I read the first line of your post I can tell your still an idiot and are predictably twisting what I say so I'm stopping there, that's part of not wasting my time, I'm only going to read your posts until I spot something stupid (IE the first 3 words), explain it to you again in very simple terms so you can understand, and then wait for your next idiotic post.

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    1. I'm so honored you would continue to grace me with your incoherent, convoluted ideas and run-on sentences.

      Delete
  21. Oh no! run on sentences on a blog post! you got me.

    So you're a sarcastic liar and a slanderer who doesn't know how to respond or answer questions, and I have run on sentences, ok you win.

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    1. Actually it would be libel... slander is spoken. Though, in either case, I would have had to defame your character. Pointing out your ignorance doesn't qualify.

      I realize that like most well meaning Christian teenagers, your zeal doesn't match your knowledge... so I suggest you just stop digging yourself into a hole. You aren't doing yourself any favors.

      I have answered all of your (single) questions. You just don't like my answer. And the reason I am so sarcastic with you is because you have given me no reason to take you seriously. Heck, you haven't even read a single book on any topic we have discussed. You are a joke.

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  22. First off, you're an intellectual poser. Libel may be specific to writing but SLANDER IS NOT SPECIFIC TO SPEAKING. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/slander?s=t

    2nd, I never said you were slandering ME, I said you were a slanderer. (notice the difference smart one)

    3rd, you DID NOT answer my question, give me SPECIFICS there genius, what PART, SPECIFICALLY, of what I said, suggested that I view critical thinking as bad. >>>QUOTE ANY PART OF WHAT I POSTED<<<.

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    1. Bwahahaha, your jimmies are so rustled that it's incredible! http://i.imgur.com/PaqVWKo.png

      Again, here you are losing your mind over a non issue (slander vs libel). I actually don't care what the definitions are, I only pointed that out because I knew you would go crazy. But thank you for providing the link, which specifically states that slander is "defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing." Bam!

      If you weren't referring to me slandering you, then why did you list slander between "lie" and "not answering questions", which are both things you are accusing me of doing to you? Even worse, why mention it at all, if it isn't relevant to our "discussion" (and I use that term very loosely)?

      Here is a tip. Instead of trying to back out of things you say, as to avoid looking foolish... just don't say foolish things to begin with.

      I also already responded ad nasueum in old comments (which have since been deleted) about why it seemed like you were suggesting critical thinking was bad. Please explain what my answer was, so I know that you read the posts. If you do so, and I agree that you can accurately represent my position, and you still don't agree, then I will explain more. Until then, I am convinced you are just trying to weasel out of a corner you got backed into.

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  23. Hey guys, just want to chime in. I am a RN with a family who is concerned about their health. I have recently been doing some research on "safer eating" and have found quite a bit of evidence that shows that most organic food is in fact much safer than processed foods and the like. And I am a big fan of cured meats and processed foods, lol!

    Processed foods (cured meats, refined grains, most anything in a box or can or frozen) use additives that are linked to cancer, ADHD and other illness when consumed in large quantities (artificial colors dyes and sodium nitrite)

    Now, when it comes to meat, the non-organic varieties often feed the animals antibiotics and hormones, which can make their way into your body, leading to resistant bacterium and health issues. With regards to plants, while the pesticides seem to be fairly safe, its the genetically modified foods that might be of concern. From the readings iv found, the GMO plants can develop mutations that can cause adverse reactions to humans, such as food allergies. And the fact that there just isnt enough information about the GMO effects on humans yet because its only been started in the 1990's and genetically modified is not the same as "cross breading".

    Now, I am no scientist or advocate either way, and cant site the references I pulled my info from, nor can I attest that it is all accurate and truthful, But, after having done my research, I am definitely going to start looking for organic foods and reading the labels on things I buy to avoid the above stated "concerns" just to be safe. Also, from what I can tell, organic is not that much, if any, more expensive.

    All I can say is, google and do your own research if your septic one way or the other.

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  24. My jimmies are rustled, really? are you serious? on that short post? You're such a clown.

    So here's another question I doubt you'll answer: How am I losing my mind? All I did was briefly explain your error and cite dictionary.com.

    THE BIG LETTERS AREN'T BECAUSE I'M "RUSTLED" THEY'RE SO YOU'RE 12YR OLD MIND CAN UNDERSTAND.

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  25. Oh, and I called you a poser, ooh so rustled.

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    1. See the guy who posted on May 4th? See how he seems to disagree with my thesis, but posted a relevant, respectful post? THAT is what you need to work on.

      Anyway, here is the problem with creationists like yourself… you have no ability to communicate clearly, honestly or coherently. You constantly ask questions, and refuse to even acknowledge any questions that are asked of you. You jump from topic to topic, unable to make any real points, and hyper focus on non-issues.

      For example, my blog post mentions that creationists are science deniers (since they deny evolution). Instead of discussing the actual topic of organic food, you obsess and flame my blog with nonsense about OEC and YEC—which is irrelevant, as they both deny evolution (as you have so strongly confirmed). And then when discussing evolution, you show you don’t even know the basics of biology to understand it. Yet I am the intellectual poser. Right.

      Another example would be your predictable reaction to me pointing out that slander is spoken and libel is written. You attempt to refute me on that by posting a link which specifically says I am right. None of this matters, but I knew that if I mentioned it, you would react with predictable hilarity (with the appearance of losing your mind. I can’t imagine some reasonable person actually worrying about that and taking the time to attempt to refute me—only to prove me right). <--For clarity, that is me answering your irrelevant question.

      Earlier, you asked me to explain why I thought you didn’t like critical thinking. I did. You asked me to explain again. I did. You asked me to explain again. I did, and then deleted the posts, since it was clear you weren’t reading them. So now, I have asked you to explain what you understood my position to be… yet you won’t do it. <--You still need to answer this. And then you have the gall to ask me MORE questions, suggesting I won’t answer them. I have been answering your questions; you just apparently don’t read them. Evidence for this comes from the fact that you can’t explain what my answer was in regards to me thinking you don’t like critical thinking. If you think I am wrong, then prove it. Tell me what my answers were.

      Meanwhile, you now are focused on me saying your jimmies are rustled. The mere fact that you continue to comment on this blog post, and now are seriously trying to discuss your jimmies proves I am right—your jimmies are DEFINITELY rustled! http://i.imgur.com/sDzqpXD.jpg

      You also claimed I was a liar, slanderer and wouldn’t answer questions. But when asked for examples of me slandering you, you stated that you weren’t saying I slandered you—just that I am a slanderer in general. As I asked (and you refused to answer) before, why say it then? And why list it between two things you ARE accusing me of? And then if you think that attacking someone’s character is bad, why did you call me an intellectual poser and 12 year old clown? <--You need to answer these questions.

      Anyway, I am sure there is something I said here of little importance that you will respond to, and continue to ignore my questions. Are you able to respond to my questions clearly, honestly and thoroughly? I doubt it… but maybe you will prove me wrong.

      Delete
  26. Thank you Zachary for the great post. Like every one, I'm not against healthy eating, but I really do believe the "organic" scandal is a nice way to get more money and when this ends the people behind this will find another way. If the regular food we are consuming right now is toxic, then what is FDA and other organizations doing? Shouldn't they ban the use of the regular stuff? Or is the new policy is that the poor should get toxic and die and the rich should have organic food and live longer!

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    1. It just goes to show that it's not just conservatives who are anti-science (with creationism and climate change denial, etc), but now liberals are jumping on the anti-science train as well.

      Another recent example is the anti-fluoride folks in Portland, OR. More hippies, not knowing what they are talking about :(

      Delete
  27. I'm an organic poultry farmer. Reading the above comments in defense of organic food was like listening to my neighbor ferociously defending his Christian faith. I think I'm going to start feeding my chickens Roundup in the morning.

    Mr. Kroger, please keep up the awesome writing.

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    1. Yeah it's really quite striking. The same goes for homeopathy... the people that defend it sounds just like conservative Christians. It's very revealing.

      Delete
  28. I find it quite amusing that the study anti-GMO folks love to cite was done on rats genetically predisposed to cancer development.

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  29. Zachary you still haven't answered my question

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    1. What was your question? There are 25 "anonymous" posts here, so I have no idea who I am responding to.

      Delete
  30. You still haven't shown how I hate critical thinking.

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    1. I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

      See my comment on May 12, 2013 at 10:36 PM, paragraph five.

      Delete
  31. Wonderful article.

    I have actually been performing research on this topic for one of my college courses. I selected the topic simply because I wanted the scientific evidence to tell me the real outcomes, without bias, and without a personality. Some of the published studies I read will put a caffeinated toddler to sleep, but I had to plug through them for my grade. Scientific evidence shows that you are correct on the points you touched.
    - There is very little difference in nutritional value. Only a few studies have shown a small difference with only one or two nutrients, and the even fewer studies that have shown a moderate difference have been generally discredited based on methods or conflict of interest.
    - The pesticide residue sounds much more scary than it actually is. Did you know that the human body is made up of chemicals? Technically water is a chemical, and every medicine invented is a chemical. I have found and read studies that test crops through their entire growing season and the levels of pesticide residue found on the product. The results are that when harvested, the residue is well below safe levels, and that level dramatically drops even lower or removed completely as the food is processed (aka washed) by the farmer, distributor, and vendor. Some studies have actually made organic food look bad, as manure is a common organic fertilizer and commonly carries bad bugs we don't want to eat.

    I am curious though on the topic of conventional fertilizer environmental hazards. upon doing a quick bit of research, the US EPA have a TREMENDOUSLY HUGE study on just a single type of fertilizer and it's effects on dirt, humans, vegetation, insects, small animals, fish, birds, and I think they may have tested bigfoot himself with this. (yes, the last one was a joke) The point is that there are agencies that do this kind of research, and a certain amount of trust needs to be put in the government. The scientists that conduct these tests collect a paycheck, regardless of which political party controls the white house.

    Science works, even if politics don't.

    I'll put my faith in the science geeks that dedicate years of their lives to testing the saftey of products, vs someone who just wants to sell me a $5 head of lettuce because it's "better".

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  32. Zachary Dunning-KrogerJuly 6, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    10 Nerd Dreams That Will Never Come True for Mr. Kroger

    10) Star Wars Post-Quels (Episodes 7/8/9)
    9) Pokemon MMO
    8) Richard Dawkins becomes president of new world government
    7) The Complete Dr. Who
    6) For Nathan Fillion To Become A Huge Star
    5) Sci-Fi Shows To Return
    4) Kickstarter to Replace the Publisher/Developer Model For Videogames
    3) Monty Python To Reunite
    2) Christians stop proving the Bible to align with science
    1)People become stupid enough to believe the mythical hoax of macro evolution

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    1. Yep folks, this is the high-level of argument that creationists are forced to use. Take it all in, cause it doesn't get any better than this.

      Delete
  33. Hi Zachary,

    I appreciate your post, as I find nothing but negative comments regarding spraying in general. Unfortunately, the public will get started on an idea and run with it, without any research, or knowledge. The public generally will also only research the topics that substantiate their view.

    I guess my opinion is biased, since I own a company that does aerial application, however, I will state that I am one who cares greatly about the environment.

    I get people approaching me all the time saying "oh, spraying is bad!" and it's usually followed up with "I only eat organic". I hate to burst their bubble, but organic crops generally are sprayed with pesticides significantly more than an inorganic crop. Reason being is that they are very limited in the pesticides they can use and generally the pesticide doesn't target the specific pest.

    With inorganic spraying, significant research is in place, so we use IPM (integrated pest management). That means we focus on the specific pest and apply the product in a way of minimal impact, and minimal concentration.

    It's not the farmers, or big companies that dictate the spraying. At the end of the day, it's the consumer. I'm certain a consumer would pick the clean and fresh produce, over the moldy, bug infested food anyday.

    Scott

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Scott! Yeah, it's unfortunate that the pro-organic crowd have created a nice little reality in which anyone who disagrees with them is obviously paid off by some big corporation. It's like religion, in which anyone who disagrees is clearly just being deceived by the devil.

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  34. I have no problem with any of the evidence or opinions presented here. My response is going to be very biased, not toward organic vs. non-organic, but toward my own experience.

    For the longest time, I bought food from whatever supermarket had the best prices in my area (Market Basket). I worked out and lived an active, healthy lifestyle. I felt great, I looked great, everything was great.

    Recently, I decided to try this organic thing. Not for any other reason than the fact that I'm not sure I personally want to continue eating genetically modified anything or meat pumped with hormones so much that one chicken breast is almost 2 lbs.! I will say this, whether my mind is being tricked or not, the food tastes better. It literally tastes better. Juicier fruits, meats are more tender and flavorful, veggies smell fresher. Like I said, tricked or not, this is my experience. Another beneficial side-effect that I'm experiencing by eating organic is an overall elevated energy level. That's the trump card I'd play, I have more energy. Is it because I'm not eating yellow #5 anymore? Is it because I'm not eating altered dna? Is it because I'm not eating food that's jam-packed with processed sugars? Is it a placebo effect? I don't know, but I do know that I have more energy and it was almost immediate after I made the change.

    My conclusion is this, based on my own experiences, not taking anybody or any company's experiments into consideration, I feel better all around. As great as I felt before, I feel even better now. I spend a little more, yes, but man is it worth it. No matter what the data says, I will never go back. I encourage people to do the same. Just try it for a week, if it doesn't work for you, go back. I don't see why people need to argue over this stuff, haha, it's a personal choice, but I feel it's important that people have that choice to make.

    -Ron

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    1. Hi Ron, thanks for the comment.

      The thing I find odd about comments such as yours, is that when biologists take one gene, of which the effects are VERY well studied and understood, non-scientists freak out (or at least are concerned). However, when traditional breeding techniques are used, in which hundreds of thousands of genes are swapped, of which the effects are completely unknown, no one cares. This doesn't make sense.

      I would also have to ask, what is more likely: that thousands of studies showing that organic food has no difference in any regards is wrong (and every scientific organization on the planet states that there is no benefit of any sort of organic over non organic foods is wrong), or that the subjective experience of one person is right?

      So, long story short, yeah, I would say that the effects you are feeling are a result of placebo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfRVCaA5o18

      Though, I agree. If something makes you feel good, and you are willing to pay for it... do it up! Though, I think that when people state that organic food is better when that is empirically not the case, is intellectually dishonest and irresponsible.

      Delete
    2. Everyone wants to have this debate now, but it is just impossible to have. People are still in the "I want it yesterday" mentality; every study I have seen is not long enough to come up with any valid conclusions. Studies should have been conducted years ago when processed and conventional foods were being littered with chemicals. We can't say for sure that these chemicals are/are not causing problems because the sample sizes and time frames will never be long enough. I study marine science, and it is only now, more than a half a century after we started dumping sludge into the ocean, that we are coming to the conclusion that POSSIBLY there is a link between water quality and pollution more than 50 years ago. While I am pro-organics, I am pro because pesticides and chemicals are bad for the environment. While I do eat organic foods myself, I do it because in my head it makes sense to not ingest chemicals and other additives. However, I do not shove my theory down anyone's throat because no concrete evidence has said one way or the other.

      Delete
    3. Well, as you know, in science, we can't say anything is 100%. However, based on all of the available evidence, there currently is no reason to believe that there is any problem with non-organic foods. There have been TONS of studies done, all of which come to that same conclusion.

      So, while you can say "but in the future, there might be problems found", that is an opinion not based on the evidence.

      Regardless, as I mention in paragraph 3, even organic farmers use pesticides, insecticides, etc. And just because they are organic doesn't mean they are safe or effective. For example, rotenone, copper, nicotine sulfate, and pyrethrums are all used in organic farming, and are not deemed to be all that safe.

      Delete
  35. I have studied occupational safety and health and through this I learnt that chemicals can have additive and synergetic effects when combined with other chemicals. Studies establishing safety exposure limits are for a single chemical only. There is very limited studies on the effects of being exposed to multiple chemicals. So if someone is saying it is safe to comsume 5 different pesticide residues during a meal they are lying because there is no studies that exist that prove that the additive and synergetic effects of these pesticide residues are harmless.

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    1. This isn't about whether or not pesticides are safe. Some are, some aren't (organic and synthetic).

      But to your point, it would also be a lie to say that consuming 5 different types of pesticide residue is dangerous, since like you said, there apparently aren't any studies demonstrating their effects.

      Delete
  36. For a lot of consumers, purchasing organic food is MORE than it being cleaner or tasting better. It's also about cleaning the land and the environment, it's about animal cruelty and higher standards for feeding and taking care of animals, it's about not eating an animal that has been eating chemical garbage rather than eating an animal that has been fed off the land -- which is organic and not a field of pesticide laden grass.

    I'm not a greenie or an environmentalist or a tree hugger but I am willing to put more of my hard earned money in organic farmers/manufacturers tills when I know that their business practices are in line with my definition of organic.

    I don't think there is any one clear definition of organic and what it means to everyone as a whole. It has certain guidelines and restrictions and farmers/manufacturers must be upheld to certain standards and comply with product labeling/packaging and certification, etc. But our individual goals for "going organic" are as varied as there are people on this Earth.

    You had me until the end when you said the only difference is in price. If that difference in price helps a farmer sustain their farm and grow food that can feed his/her community and do it with no malice against animals and land and I can purchase it locally, knowing where it has been grown and that it hasn't been picked too early and shipped 2,000 miles away (or more if it's from out of the country), then so be it. Hike the price up. I don't have an endless budget but I do know what I'm willing to pay for good food, organic or not.

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  37. Screw all that. I'm allergic to fruits and vegetables unless they're cooked. I have come to the conclusion from 29 years of dealing with this that it's from pesticides. I've tried organic produce and although the allergic reactions aren't as bad, I still get them. This theory first hit me when I was in Puerto Rico and i ate mango from my grandmas garden and had no reaction. The second time was in Florida when I ate bananas from my dads garden which is the fruit I get the worst reactions from, and had no effects. Yes I have no real scientific proof but I sincerely believe my body is trying to protect me and all the produce available to us in this country is tainted and harming us all.

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    1. Sounds like you have Oral Allergy Syndrome.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_allergy_syndrome

      If your body is trying to protect you from trace amounts of pesticides and whatnot, it raises the question of why other people don't have the same reaction you do.

      Delete
  38. Zach; and the others: A long line farmer person here, some relatives actually went on to get college degrees in agricultural sciences (Purdue, etc.). A couple of my cousins have master degrees even. Some of the other posters have questioned your sights on 'modern' food being no different than organic; for the most part you are correct! What you left out - that I could see anyway - is the argument that 1) there is no way to totally get rid of 'chemicals' or 'pesticides' or anything nasty that we created recently on our history of adding science to the food and farm lifestyle. The truth is more than 99% of our farmland (both here in USA and other countries to be honest) is anything but natural. The so called tests from the FDA, USDA and others is highly biased. And quite a bit of what the government has told us is just plain crap. Butter vs Margarine; until we really found out what margarine is made of, just as an example! Your statements about 'we have been genetically modifying our food and animals for a long long time' is not really true. Actually we have been performing selective breeding, which is quite different from the actual genome manipulation via genetically alterations on food animals and plants. I know - I know, there is a consensus by a lot of people to interchange one for the other, but just like the 'political correct' group of people, well.............what you don't really know won't hurt you ............shall I (and others) shout back, with our own smiles towards you and your kind. Someone posted that they wanted to know how much Monsanto was paying you; are they? You sure are acting like you are moving up the ladder at that place. In case you haven't been aware, most of us are actually trying to remove anything and everything artificial, chemicalised, pesticide free foods and everything else. You made a comparison that we did not live longer in the past, well that is true, but however, some of us did. And the debate about whether or not there was cancer, and other illnesses, as there are nowdays in a preponderance, is still in the jury stage with a lot of people - and a lot of countries. The one thing you did state, which I will agree with you on, is that most of the testing that has been performed has yielded absolutely no difference in reality between organic and non-organic type foods - to a degree. The reason is simple; for most of us (farmers especially) know that there is no way that you are going to clean the dirt in a 12 month period. Hell no, a lot longer time frame is needed. But that is not stated anywhere in the testing processes no is it? Plus the fact that there is still a large debate as to what exactly is organic when you (and this is sadly true) cannot with certainy verify the wholesomeness of the food you are feeding to your cage free chickens. Cage free, once upon a time, not long ago, grandma and grandpa just let the chickens roan freely in the backyard! A point here! However Zach; most of us are tired of the government lying to us, and idiots following there appointed pied pipers; we want a better food source than the crap that has been crammed down our throats for the past couple of decades, period. Again, I do agree that there is still some debate, true, but overall, our present food source is not really that good in comparison to what it used to be. Another thing that was not brought up, the real reason for genetically modified foods; no to help us people, on no! It was originally created for weed control. Get off your video game, go outside, tell me and others what kind of tree is outside in front of your place - if you can!

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    1. Holy text wall, Batman!! Please use paragraphs.

      Anyway, a few points to address...

      First, you mention that people are tired of the government lying to them a few times. Sure, but this is about science--not about what the government is or isn't doing.

      It's hilarious to me that people can't comprehend the evidence, and continue to suggest I am paid off by Monsanto. What if it is just that I follow the evidence? I would post a history of my bank account transactions for all the word to see, but then people would just say "oh, you are clearly just paid under the table." This is not an example of critical thinking.

      Yes, my statement that we have been genetically modifying animals via selective breeding is indeed true. Ask literally any biologist (I have). But more importantly, let me ask this: why is it that we insert one gene, a gene that we have put thousands of hours of study into, and know exactly the effect it will have when put in another organism, people lose their minds? However, when you cross breed two species, which then swap tens of thousands of genes, of which the effects are unknown, people don't bat an eye. This is not an example of critical thinking.

      I have no idea about the quality of the dirt that the studied plants are growing in, but you should holler at Kevin Folta (biologist from U of Florida). He is an expert on this stuff, and would be happy to give you info on it. However, seeing as such a major thing could ruin the studies, I imagine it is controlled for. Remember, scientists ARE critical thinkers, and the evidence truly matters for them.

      Delete
  39. You sir are a twat. A pseudo-intellectual bully that believes "facts" but has done no real research other than googling.

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    1. So when I respond with evidence and cite studies, that makes me a bully and pseudo-intellectual. But when you come here, call me names, make accusations and don't back up your claims, you are... what?

      Posting anonymously on internet blogs. So brave.

      Delete
  40. Thank you for a well researched, well written and concise article.
    As someone that is actually a farmer (albeit on a small scale) in Australia.......I am endlessly frustrated by the misinformation and misunderstanding that surrounds the organic food movement.

    I particular, I am exasperated by the blatant hypocrisy of it all and the head in the sand mentality of the pro organic clan.

    The single greatest lie that the "believers" tell others and themselves is that organic foods are somehow less chemical laden that commercially grown produce. Organic crops require FAR more land, more water and significantly more fertilizers and pesticides for less return. Just because those fertilizers and pesticides are "natural" doesn't mean that they are safer.......and they certainly aren't as bio-degradable as the new breed of improved synthetic alternatives.

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/henry-i--miller-exposes-the-disappointing-truth-about-organic-agriculture

    The vitriol and personal attacks you are experiencing are not overly surprising. It seems to be a common theme when the cultish and the brain washed have their dogma challenged and they have no facts or reason on which to base a rebuttal..

    It is very intimidating for these people when they discover that, in fact "the Emperor has no clothes".....

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  41. Human have destroyed everything that nature had to give and then it keeps coming up with shitty controversies about organic and inorganic. The bottom line is get close to nature have more bitter foods in raw state and herbs in natural form (no company manufactured herbal magical bullets). Keep you liver healthy, supply lots of Vitamin C and get out of this shitty pizza, burger,Pepsi,pastry and other processed shit. You wont need to argue further.

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  42. People who oppose this article and are extremely pro organic are ignorant and blind. As much as they hate to face it they are and they are BRAIN WASHED by society and food tags. Being a grower of grapes in the napa valley I can you that organic grapes are sprayed 2-3 times as much as conventional grapes just because the pesticides aint as potent and dont have the same lasting affect against pest and fungi. Organic pesticides have just as much carcinogens as conventional pesticides AND the organic foods generally have higher pesticide residue when tested because they are sprayed so much more with these "natural" pesticides. Also the carbon footprint is much higher with organic farming because all of the equipment used to spray is used 2-3 times as much as regular conventional farming. That is more diesel, oil, and exhaust put out just to spray the "natural" pesticides. It is impossible to have a 100% natural pesticide free crop nowadays because the demand is so high to feed millions and millions of people. Please open your minds and listen to those who actually feed you and grow your food

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    1. Well said. Unfortunately, the anti-GMO crowd has created a nice little non-falsifiable rationale, where they are right, and anyone who disagrees with them is just being paid off by Monsanto. It's like how historical revisionists (Holocaust Deniers) claim that every historian who agrees that the Holocaust actually happened is being paid off by the Jews.

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