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Are organically grown foods really healthier than conventionally grown foods?

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My humble experience--the pesticides used on produce are generally harmless in regards to humans, ecspecially if you wash/peel them well. I've been VERY ill from organic produce. And yes, I traced back through several days worth of food to pinpoint the culprit (fortunately, I was logging everything). The pathogens contained in manure are killed by pesticides--not so with organic food, and with even vigorous scrubbing and peeling, I still contracted salmonella poisoning. I was rapidly losing fluids from both ends, shaking uncontrollably, falling over when I tried to stand, and unable to keep even water down. I ended up in the er. This is stuff that KILLS in third world countries. It was the worst I've ever felt in my life, and I've suffered broken bones, been thrown from horses, hit by a car, suffered alcohol withdrawal, and given birth.

Considering there is absolutely NO difference in taste or nutritional value, I'm going with a very emphatic 'NOOOO!!!' on this question, though I know the classist, organic/sustainable/whateverthefoodfadistoday elitists will cry 'Oh yes, for xyz fabricated reason!'

I've never once, in my life, been sick from inorganic food. The labelling and marketing for organic food is far too sketchy anyway. My recommendation? Go with what is most cost effective/tastes/feels best to YOU. On the internet, there is always someone willing to back up any stance, even if that stance is that Mother Theresa was an undercover nazi spreading propanda to the world's poverty stricken by whispering pig latin in their ears whilst they slept under her care.







Organically grown foods are generally healthier.
Typically yes, because chemical pesticides aren't used on them. Several pesticides are known to be harmful to humans, but in larger doses than the average consumer is exposed to. However, there is no government standard for "organic," and it's a loosely used term in the US. In much the same way "free range" means chicken aren't in a cage but may be squeezed together in a tiny shed, organic can often mean that less pesticide is used or simply a different kind of pesticide.
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In Australia, and - I believe - New Zealand and the UK there are strict controls over what can be called organic, or - with eggs - free range (where the fowls are allowed to run loose and scavenge, as well as being carefully fed). At night they are usually confined to a roomy, closed barn to roost in order to keep them from predators.
Inspections of these farms are diligent and regular.
I typically use organic produce and free range eggs because I believe in supporting any efforts to avoid pesticides, or caging egg-laying fowls (and I feel better about the chickens!). Frequently I've been asked if the flavour or quality is better than conventionally produced foods, and to be perfectly honest I don't think there's much tangible difference, except in some types of meat.
It's a bit like using expensive salt when the same product is available for half the price - and I'm yet to hear someone say, Hey you've used cheap salt in this sauce!
However, I firmly consider children, from the time they begin solids, should be exposed to as few chemicals in food as possible; this also applies to the widespread habit of spraying chemicals around the home to clean surfaces, 'freshen' the air and so on.
We are seeing more and more cases of chemical allergies, and when children are exposed to various chemicals this can lead to later allergic reactions. And it can do no harm at if we all reduce our chemical intake wherever possible.
I grow some vegetables and herbs, and wouldn't dream of using pesticides on them. Instead I put out occasional snacks for local birds, who repay me by eating pests and, via their digestive systems, planting more food for us.
The fastest-selling eggs in our local supermarket are free range, and pesticide and other chemical-free produce are becoming hugely popular.
And the producers said it couldn't be done! These products have not been available sufficiently long for a proper study into the long-term health benefits, but I'd say better assume they are healthier.
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Cjonb 18:10, 2 Jun 2008 (UTC) I'd disagree. As "organic" has no defined meaning in Food Science (other than the indication that the compound in question contains a carbon atom), it's impossible to say if it's healthier or not. As to pesticides, the title "organic" implies but does not affirm that a food is pesticide free at all. Organic foods may also be thought to be preservative free. In not employing preservatives, one removes a generally harmless chemical and allows for an increase in decompostion, thus potentially rendering the food in question far more dangerous.
Of the sciences, I venture to say that food science is in many ways the toughest to apply in that the application is universal -- we all eat -- but the amount of scientific research is comparatively light (it's hard to get someone to fund a multi-year analysis of the composition of, say, brocolli) and the field abounds with variables (e.g. nutrient content in grown vegetables) and with non-specific terms (e.g. "organic").
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The term organic is very specific in those countries where this farming practice is policed diligently. Organic defines foods grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or hormones. There have been problems in countries where this definition is part of a stringent procedure which must be followed in order to be allowed to use the term in marketing, when neighbouring farmers' pest control products have spread to a nearby organic farm. Because produce is tested regularly, this can cause a farmer to lose their permit to use the term.
Check with your local food authority to discover how the regulations apply in your area.
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While it may be true that organic farming is regulated, it does not mean by any means that it makes it healthier. Just because a chemical is permitted for use in organic farming (for example: copper, sulfur, nicotine, cyanide) it does NOT mean it is better for consumption or for the environment. If someone says this, he is either lying, selling something or simply ignorant.
It is however true that by comparison today organic produce has FEWER pesticide residues but not nessecerily healthier residues!
As the consumer market is increasingly more aware of the use of pesticides and demanding its reduction, it is forcing many farmers to look for alternative methods, which is generally a good trend and may even result in healthier produce than organic farming. Although we are not quite there yet, we are heading in that direction.
For those of you into environmental issues, here's a little something to think about: If we were to gather and compost all the organic human waste in the world and spread it evenly over farmed areas, we would get less than a cubic meter of compost per dunam (1000 sqm) per year, while organic farming consumes 6-25 cubic meters of compost per dunam per year! One can easly see that in organic farming one needs 5-24 dunams of non-organic farming to give up their share of compost... not very sustainable now, is it?
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While organic farming may appear to be environmentally friendly one must first consider the full benefits of conventional farming using chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
The truth is that organic farming is far more costly, and produces less food and fibre per unit of land. Therefore if a significant proportion of farmers converted to growing crops organically we would need to utilise much greater areas of land and water resources to produce the same quantity of food. Resulting in the need to clear more native vegetation, divert more water from the environment and be forced to grow crops on marginal land.
The reality is that Earth would be unable to sustain its current population at current living standards without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
In addition, many consumers when buying produce will often discard fruit with cosmetic damage caused by insects or other pests which may have no effect on the actual taste.

While there are clear disadvantages for pesticides there are also some advantages that many people do not realise. For example, farmers wishing to grow wheat can spray herbicides to kill weeds, etc. and then plant ("direct drill") into the dead stubble. Organic farming would require cultivation and ploughing the soil, which has significant disadvantages such as loss of moisture, rapid breakdown of organic matter, destruction of soil structure and increased fuel costs required for machinery operation.


It may be true that organically grown foods may be healthier than conventionally grown foods. There are many issues and problems with conventional agriculture; however, in most cases the benefits generally outweigh the disadvantages.
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