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Organic foods - Hoax or are there true benefits?

Discussion in 'Society and Culture' started by Biker, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member


    Your insistence on using such hyperbole such as invoking Limbaugh when I have never heard Limbaugh address the topic, is frankly just an attempt to stop the debate before it even gets started. Has he addressed it? If so, I don't care. If he has, even Limbaugh can be right some of the time.

    Your post rambles on and on but doesn't really reach the science of the matter. Here's a PDF that does at least briefly discuss the chemicals that are actually used in "organic" foods. Hint - Organic food isn't necessarily more environmentally friendly. There are certainly chemical pesticides and fertilizers used. You know, chemicals do appear in nature. And they CAN harm you. Do you know what the first rule of toxicology is? I'll tell in a quote later...

    Did you know that 20% of all "organic" food comes from China? The same place that sends lead based paint toys to our kids? Are you sure you know how it's grown?

    Here's an article from the Hudson Institute -

    Claim: organic foods have lower pesticide residues. Reality: Nobody knows. Consumers Union reported that 25 percent of organic fruits and vegetables carry detectable residues of synthetic pesticides, and one-third of the 25 percent had residue levels higher than the average of the conventional produce. But all were within allowable federal limits.

    The Food and Drug Administration’s widespread annual testing finds that U.S. foods carry less than one percent of the synthetic pesticide residues allowable, which are 1/100th or 1/1000th of the “no-effect” level in animal tests. (The dose makes the poison is the first rule of toxicology, since everything—Including sunlight and water—is toxic in massive doses.)

    Neither the government nor industry, however, tests for organic pesticides, which organic farmers tend to use frequently and heavily. Rotenone, for example, is a natural nerve toxin that causes symptoms like those of Parkinson’s disease when injected into rats. Copper sulfate is banned in Europe and toxic to virtually everything from people to earthworms. Pyrethrum is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a “likely human carcinogen.” But the “independent certifiers” who will affix the USDA Certified Organic Seal do no testing for pesticide residues of any sort.

    But look, feel free to eat the organic side of the same banana. It's your money you're wasting.

  2. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    But, but, but!!! Organic pesticides are organic, right? ;)
  3. mikeky

    mikeky Member

    Yeah, hard to take seriously articles that only generically discuss "toxins". And let's face it: does a tomato plant care that it got its nitrogen from ammonium nitrate or cow manure? And is that very, very low concentration of carbamate more risky than the other decisions we make every day (smoke, drink, breathe smog)? There comes a point where there are diminishing returns in what we try to cut risk with. Certainly if one likes the tastes of organic better, go for it, but don't feel obligated due to perceived differences in risk and "toxins".
  4. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    There is a theory that minute amounts of toxins are actually beneficial. There is a whole healing concept based upon giving small amounts of toxins.
  5. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Exactly. When you start breaking it down to real sciences and real practices, the organic notions of less chemicals being a good thing really tend to fall apart. When you start looking at it from the perspective of which plants are healthier, producing more food per acre (lowering cost, feeding more of the world's hungry), delivering a more tasty product, then the argument REALLY falls apart. Organic produce does not taste better - at all. The plants are not as robust, and they do NOT supply juicier, more succulent produce. It's quite the opposite.

    And then when you start talking about engineering food, the argument becomes almost comical. ALL food is engineered, since the beginning of time people have cultivated different characteristics out of their gardens. They have ALWAYS bred their plants to be bigger, more juicy, more robust. So what is different now? The answer is nothing. We simply know much more than people did then, and so are able to engineer a superior product faster. That is a good thing, not a bad thing.
  6. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    (1) Why would organic food taste better? I'd like to hear just one person argue for that.

    (2) We have been "engineering" food by selective breeding for eons, but it is only recently that we started inserting insect genes (etc.) into "Frankenfoods." This is human intervention at a whole different level, a whole different scale, like nothing we've ever done before.
  7. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Taste an egg from a free-range chicken fed on worms and other grubs. It's SUCH a huge difference in taste (eggs are larger too). And as I've said, everytime I go to Ukraine the tomatoes are just unbelievable. You can smell the juice before you even bite in to it.

    I won't go in to the whole toxins, it's just common sense that we are adding something to kill insects. The result? Negligible, and certainly won't harm in the short term. Long term? I would rather side on the side of caution. But hey, you can load up on that stuff and preach it, brother. I am not the type to force my way of life on to others. Live and let live says I. If you want to take that chance, by all means. If not, then allow others to do the same without the holier than thou bs.

    But risk nevertheless.

    In my personal experience, people who bash organic products (the real stuff not the mislabeled bs) tend to try and convince themselves that they are not missing out--usually that comes from economic decision of bypassing organic products.

    Anecdotal evidence alone is that I've started being lactose intolerant from 20-30years of age. When we switched to organic milk LI disappeared, as in gone, not a trace of it. I can drink the milk from the cartoon, whole gallon if I want to. Regular milk and you would have so much crap that Staten Island's dump would be envious.

    Must have been a hoax though, or a placebo.
  8. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    I've always been on the fence with the whole issue. Especially since we are living longer in spite of all the crap we are putting into our food. And the fact that I'm literally in food plants (both organic and regular) a few times a week and there isn't a whole lot of difference in how they are processed.

    That being said, I do buy certain things that are because I do think they taste better.

    Bottom line for me is that I'm trying to eat more "real" food instead of all the processed stuff.
  9. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Same here. I can't afford everything organic but dairy stuff is 100% organic. Milk, eggs, cheeses, etc... MUST have. And it's sooooo fucking good too.
  10. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    Living in the dairy state, we have tons of good milk and cheese, organic or otherwise. Especially cheese!! :)
  11. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Yeah, it's probably the only reason I like where you live. ;)
  12. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    Don't forget about the beer, vodka distillery and wonderful people like myself. ;)
  13. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Woah! You have made an unwarranted assumption that free range implies organic. I see no reason why cage chicken could not be fed an organic diet and satisfy the requirements of organic labeling, nor any reason why free range chickens are somehow immune to environmental toxins and fertilizers.

    Yes I have had free range chickens and their eggs and they are better, a bit, but not in my opinion so much better as to justify the huge premium in price. If I were a millionaire I would probably order my cook to buy nothing but free range, if for no other reason then just in case they might be better.

    And if you cook your chicken or eggs using any but the lightest sauces then the sauce is going to mask any free range flavor.

    And tomatoes? You're confusing freshly grown vine ripened tomatoes with refrigerator truck tomatoes picked before they're ripe and then gassed. Anybody who grows their own tomatoes (me) knows that they sell plastic imitation tomatoes in supermarkets. You don't have to go to Russia to discover that. Try Home Depot. :)

    Perhaps you are addressing somebody else's comments. I never argued that toxins aren't bad for you. That is obvious.
  14. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    I have for a very long time used many whole foods in my cooking but in the last year I have gone radically so. At this point I'm probably down to less than 5 percent of my diet from processed foods. I have no doubt that whole ingredients are better for you and that processed foods are bad for you. It even stands to reason.

    But this is whole vs. processed, not organic vs. ... ... inorganic. :)
  15. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Right? I grow my own out back as well. They're probably not organic by the food regs, as I hit them with pesticide if they get bugs. But they are marvelous flavor, plump and juicy, vine ripened. And I don't harvest them for some time after I spray them. And of course I wash them first.

    Toxins are bad for you, but here's the caveat... Toxins are only toxins in certain quantities. Like most chemicals, even organic chemicals that they DO SPRAY ORGANIC VEGGIES WITH. Even water and sunlight, in quantity, can kill you. That's the whole point. You could have 25 times more pesticides on your food than is typically found (even on organic veggies) and it still won't be close to harming you.

    You can say you want to pay X amount more to avoid toxins, but you're just not. You get a crapload more toxins having a car pass you, and somehow you manage to survive it, because? Because it's not toxic until you get a specific dose. Buying organic to avoid toxins is simply paranoia, IMO.

    In fact, I'd wager "organic" veggies in open air markets in cities have more toxins on them than regular produce in open air country markets. I'm not going to commission a study on it, but if someone does, I know where my money would be bet.

    In the meantime, the "organic" versions of veggies do not taste as good because they're simply not as juicy, not as plump, not as perfect a veggie because they are not cared for as well as the regular produce. The Penn and Teller taste tests proved that, and also proved that people want to believe organic is better, and so insist it is despite eating the same banana.

    Hey, whatever! I certainly make enough to buy organic, I just prefer to be smart with my money, and I think empirical evidence backs me up.
  16. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Copz, I hope you're not debating me. If so you've confused me with the other side of the issue. I do not buy "organic" foods because I'm not willing to pay the premium for what may or may not be any benefit.

    And I don't use pesticides in my own garden. Sometimes the bugs win. I still get some pretty good tomatoes. The bugs around here like the leaves not the tomatoes.
  17. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Nope. Free range, I mean free range, not the labels in the US free range.

    As I've said numerous times, I am not debating mislabeling.

    So there you go. There IS a difference. Price is not the issue here, but people like Copz are saying there is no difference in taste, texture, etc... Price is something that's applied with supply and demand and how the US farming industry is subsidized, etc... Unfortunately, while there are still massive "organic" farms in Eastern Europe, they are picking up the Western approach to mass production of produce.

    But before you said that you do taste the difference and that free range are better?
  18. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    You keep taking that risk, Copz. No one is forcing you to eat anything but the "toxins in certain quantities".

    You'd lose your pants on that bet.

    Horseshit, the organic type.

    Penn & Teller is not "empirical evidence". As Joe mentioned years ago, they are usually right but their bend is on entertainment first, facts second.
  19. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    To the thread as a whole: I am not worried about all this organic vs. conventional food debate. There's no debate on mandating anything and at this point it's more about affordability and preference in taste, etc... Whatever the arguments are for or against they are nothing in comparison to the debate of processed food. I'm much more worried about getting people to eat fruits and vegetables in general than I am about getting fruit and vegetable eaters to switch to organics.
  20. mikeky

    mikeky Member

    Think this through. If you were truly lactose intolerant, then lactose is lactose no matter whether from a hand-milked cow fed nothing but grass and hay or from the typical dairy farm. Could there be something in commercial milk that caused you problems? Possibly, but chemistry is chemistry, and if lack of lactase is the problem, then whether straight from the cow's teat or from the store shelf, the lactose is still there.

    In the same way, a good tasting variety, vine-ripened tomato produced the traditional way (pesticides, fertilizer) can be every bit as good as the organic vine-ripened tomato. It's not the organic part that makes a difference, it's when it's picked and the variety.

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