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The Organic Food Myths


pkjane
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I stopped by organic when I became vegan. I know a lot of people in agriculture and a lot of "facts" about Organic food is a really a myth and redundant as a vegan.

 

WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT ORGANIC FOOD

 

IT'S MORE HUMANE.

Much of the country's organic milk and meat comes from small farms, where animals are often given more space to roam than those at larger factory farms.

 

Well, I don't drink milk or consume dairy anymore....soooo

 

IT MAY REDUCE YOUR RISK OF GETTING MAD COW.

Organic meat can't have any animal by-products in its feed, which is a primary contributor to mad-cow disease.

 

Well...I covered that.

 

IT'S GETTING EASIER.

Companies like Kellogg's and Kraft are rolling out organic versions of their cereals and mac and cheese, so it's hassle-free to convince kids and boyfriends to eat it. And with discount superchains like Wal-Mart (the country's number-one seller of organic milk) slashing the organic markup to 10 percent (it's usually 20 to 30 percent), organics aren't just for the Whole Foods elite.

 

That's probably because that cheaper organic stuff is from China, and they don't have a good track record for not poisoning livestock, pets or people

 

 

MYTH #1: ORGANIC FOOD IS ALWAYS BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

 

Organics don't contaminate soil and groundwater with pesticides and chemicals like regular farming does, but there's a surprising downside: Since organic farming is only about half as productive as conventional farming, it requires far more land to produce the same amount of food. Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues estimates that modern high-yield farming has saved 15 million square miles of wildlife habitat, and that if the world switched to organic farming, we'd need to cut down 10 million square miles of forest. Less-productive farming could also lead to even less food for the world's undernourished.

MYTH #2: IT'S MORE NUTRITIOUS.

 

Studies keep flip-flopping on this: One found more vitamin C in organic tomatoes than in conventional ones; another found more cancer-fighting flavonoids in organic corn and strawberries. But other studies haven't found organics to have a nutritional edge. What makes the biggest difference in nutrients is how long produce sits on the shelf. Spinach, for instance, loses about half of its foliate within a week.

MYTH #3: IT TASTES BETTER.

 

Nobody has been able to tell the difference except in one study of apples, where organics came out ahead. To get raspberries that taste raspberrier, buy produce that's locally grown, is in season, and hasn't been sitting on the shelf too long. Let's face it: Nothing is at its best when it's flown halfway around the world and waxed, then has to spend a week in the grocery store.

MYTH #4: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AS CAREFUL ABOUT WASHING IT.

 

All produce, whether purchased from a grocery megachain or your local organic farm, is susceptible to nasty bacteria, such as E. coli (the news-maker that's also been known to kill people). Soil and runoff water that's contaminated with E. coli-harboring animal poop can get onto produce — particularly melons, lettuce, sprouts, tomatoes, spinach, and green onions, since they grow close to the ground. Your best defense: Wash everything thoroughly under running water.

MYTH #5: YOU'RE SUPPORTING SMALL FARMS OR ECO-COMPANIES.

 

General Mills owns the Cascadian Farms brand, Kraft owns Back to Nature and Boca Burger, and Kellogg's owns Morningstar Farms, to name a few conglomerates basking in organics' glow (and dough). And with such high demand (in the past year, the market for organic milk outstripped the supply by 10 percent), these giant companies are importing organic ingredients as cheaply as possible — often from other countries. Whole Foods sold roughly $1 billion in produce last year; only about 16 percent was locally grown. So with all the CO2 spent in transport, some organics have questionable eco-virtues.

 

Cheap So-Called 'Organic' Food from China: A Bad Idea

 

* China's Hair-Raising Condiments, & Other Agribiz Atrocities

By Kerry Trueman

The Huffington Post, May 1, 2007

Straight to the Source

 

When we welded our wagon to China's economic engine, did we sign on to an environmental train wreck?

 

I'm glad the Chinese government's hired clean tech trailblazer William McDonough's design firm to create a green blueprint for six new cities and a village--who better to help China bind its ever-widening carbon footprint than McDonough, the internationally influential green architect and designer who turned Ford's River Rouge factory green and helped Nike create a biodegradable sneaker?

 

But China may have misinterpreted his "Waste = Food" concept. I'm pretty sure McDonough doesn't advocate putting pulverized scraps of plastic in pet food, or making soy sauce out of human hair (not to mention lard out of sewage.)

 

The premise of McDonough's environmental manifesto, Cradle to Cradle, co-written with Michael Braungart, a former Greenpeace activist turned sustainability scholar, is that every product we make should be non-toxic and biodegradable, or else endlessly recyclable. It's a utopian vision for a garbage-and-pollution-free future.

 

Maybe McDonough's tilting at wind turbines, but his ground breaking, earth saving designs have been hailed by environmental activists and not-so-crunchy corporatists alike. Steven Spielberg reportedly wants to do a documentary about McDonough's heroic eco-endeavors.

 

And Chinese officials recognize the need to tackle the problems their overheated economy poses for the planet. In fact, while we fume about all the greenhouse gases China's spewing, they may actually leave us in the dust when it comes to cutting carbon emissions.

 

But while the Chinese government may be leaning green, its business sector has been caught red-handed pumping up its profits by dumping chemicals into our food supply. The confirmation that melamine has been routinely added to animal feed to cut costs makes you wonder what else they might be putting in the food they're shipping to our shores.

 

The other day we asked our friend Sue, who's been to China several times, whether she would trust Chinese produce that's labeled organic. "No way!" was her emphatic response.

 

And yet, more and more of the organic food we buy in the U.S. is coming from China. Supposedly, our food manufacturers have to rely on imports because American farmers simply can't grow enough organic produce to meet the ever-growing demand.

 

I accepted this notion at face value until my friend and fellow NYC Food Systems Network colleague Christina Grace, a farmers' market maven, pointed out that it really comes down to the fact that Big Food would rather cut corners and buy cheap from China than support America's small family farms.

 

After all, it's a terrific boon to the corporate bottom line to be able to do business with suppliers who can manufacture their products without the added expense of such niceties as worker safety or environmental protection.

 

Of course, here at home, the agencies entrusted to protect us aren't doing such a bang-up job of things, either. It doesn't help that the FDA's budget keeps shrinking even as food imports rise. Welcome to Small Government, a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Food.

 

The USDA's going to compensate the pork producers for the millions of dollars they'll lose when they euthanize those 6,000 melamine-tainted hogs. Bereaved pet owners, on the other hand, will get nothing.

 

So taxpayers get stuck with the bill for Big Ag's habit of salvaging substandard pet food and feeding it to the pigs. The dead dogs and cats? Just collateral damage. You know, like all those Iraqi civilians.

 

Open for discussion, but I'm finding a lot of evidence suggesting that the environmental aspect is a huge myth. Prior to 1970, all crops were organic and people starved, and food was healthier? Unhealthier?

 

GM food is modified for heartiness, and health. How is it bad?

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Open for discussion, but I'm finding a lot of evidence suggesting that the environmental aspect is a huge myth. Prior to 1970, all crops were organic and people starved, and food was healthier? Unhealthier?

 

GM food is modified for heartiness, and health. How is it bad?

 

Now that most food is not organic, people are still starving. Millions of people are dying of hunger or malnourrishment despite the promises of Monsanto and other gm crops producers that have been saying for over 15 years that their gm cron and soy will save the world. How come its not happening? It is the opposite. It ruined thousands of Indian farmers, now one indian farmer commit suicide each 7 minutes or something like that. Farmers around the world are now just slaves of those gm crops, companies and their insecticides. I recommand reading the book The World According to Monsanto, much better than the film. You don't see the big picture, see the GMO's issue with a holistic eye and from the point of view of Nature, don't forget that things were created and evolved the way they are and not the way we made it, now we are changing this, and we are against the law of nature, it is inevitable that it will turn against us in the future or right now. Just one example: we noticed that bees are dying; less and less bees, for mysterious reasons but experts suspect it is linked with GM crops. Albert Einstein said that the day bees will disappear, mankind will be able to survive just a few years longer.

Unbelievable, now we mix genes of pics in strawberries or fish in tomatoes, we unleash some genetically modified mosquitos in nature, we give gm food to cattle along with grownt hormones and antibiotics and we are planning on genetically modify the cattle itself so that they produce less methane, etc...

 

You think GM food is better for health? You must be kidding. So when you buy food you search for genetically modified stuff. If, as you say in your post, organic food is not so much better for the environment (which I highly doubt, since its more natural, requires less toxic chemicals, etc), it is impossible that non-organic food is superior for health; full of health-hazardous insecticides and pesticides, and the fact it is genetically modified is not good at all, the body is not designed to deal with something that does not exist in nature - and then we wonder why there's 1000% more allergies, cancers, asthma, diabetes etc than a few decades ago.

 

There,s absolutly no benefits from gmo for the people, only for those who make and sell it.

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This is the result of chemical fertilizers used in conventional farming (admittedly, chemical fertilizer is used in organic farming but to a lesser extent) -

 

Nitrogen that runs off croplands into the Mississippi River and its tributaries has been implicated as a major cause of a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico (14). This zone suffers from hypoxia—a dearth of dissolved oxygen (< 2 mg/L). Excess nutrients fuel algal blooms by speeding up the algae’s growthand- decay cycle. This depletes oxygen in the water, killing off immobile bottom dwellers and driving off mobile sea life such as fishand shrimp.

 

The organic food I buy is certified California Organic so I know it isn't grown in China. I've never heard anyone claim that you get more vitamins from organic foods. People just worry about the stress it puts on your body to consume food that's been treated with chemical pesticides. Apart from that, conventional farming is much more disastrous than organic farming environmentally. Conventional farming relies on a very destructive monocrop system that erodes the earth. Most organic farms (though not as many as conventional farms) rely on a monocrop method as well but at least they don't use chemical fertilizer which is harmful to humans and a myriad of other creatures. You can read about some of the dangers of pesticides and conventional farming generally here (though many of the arguments apply to organic farms as well) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240832/pdf/ehp0110-000445.pdf

 

GM food is addressed too. I see a lot of upsides to GM foods but there are many downsides too, mainly related to food security and the exploitation of poor farmers at the hands of multinational gene patent holders like Monsanto.

 

Ultimately, the ideal is vegan permaculture gardening/forestry. There are people who practice it now, but it's mostly very small scale. In the meantime, choosing organic is better for animal and human health. If you have access to a CSA with more sustainable growing practices, that would be about as good as you can get short of growing food yourself.

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I still think organic fruits and veggies taste way better to me than conventional GMO stuff. Seriously, I taste a world of difference between the two, and don't buy conventional produce any longer because of it. Cooked, it's definitely tougher to tell. But raw, I can easily say that I've yet to find conventional that has the same flavor as organic, to me it is very noticeable.

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I will grow most of my food this year, with no pesticides and from organic seed. It is the only way to know what you are eating. Work in your garden and plant orchard, that is the way! Hopefully I will move to countryside and leave this polluted city very soon

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Open for discussion, but I'm finding a lot of evidence suggesting that the environmental aspect is a huge myth. Prior to 1970, all crops were organic and people starved, and food was healthier? Unhealthier?

 

GM food is modified for heartiness, and health. How is it bad?

 

Now that most food is not organic, people are still starving. Millions of people are dying of hunger or malnourrishment despite the promises of Monsanto and other gm crops producers that have been saying for over 15 years that their gm cron and soy will save the world. How come its not happening? It is the opposite. It ruined thousands of Indian farmers, now one indian farmer commit suicide each 7 minutes or something like that. Farmers around the world are now just slaves of those gm crops, companies and their insecticides. I recommand reading the book The World According to Monsanto, much better than the film. You don't see the big picture, see the GMO's issue with a holistic eye and from the point of view of Nature, don't forget that things were created and evolved the way they are and not the way we made it, now we are changing this, and we are against the law of nature, it is inevitable that it will turn against us in the future or right now. Just one example: we noticed that bees are dying; less and less bees, for mysterious reasons but experts suspect it is linked with GM crops. Albert Einstein said that the day bees will disappear, mankind will be able to survive just a few years longer.

Unbelievable, now we mix genes of pics in strawberries or fish in tomatoes, we unleash some genetically modified mosquitos in nature, we give gm food to cattle along with grownt hormones and antibiotics and we are planning on genetically modify the cattle itself so that they produce less methane, etc...

 

You think GM food is better for health? You must be kidding. So when you buy food you search for genetically modified stuff. If, as you say in your post, organic food is not so much better for the environment (which I highly doubt, since its more natural, requires less toxic chemicals, etc), it is impossible that non-organic food is superior for health; full of health-hazardous insecticides and pesticides, and the fact it is genetically modified is not good at all, the body is not designed to deal with something that does not exist in nature - and then we wonder why there's 1000% more allergies, cancers, asthma, diabetes etc than a few decades ago.

 

There,s absolutly no benefits from gmo for the people, only for those who make and sell it.

 

 

First off, I make NO CLAIMS. I am asking questions. Just like every intelligent person should, and I never swallow on faith any facts that I might be spoon fed from one extreme to the next. I make my decisions based on scientific fact, logic, and regional laws and politics pertaining to me.

 

The bee problem is very very good point. There are quite a few plants that can only be pollinated based on where a bee is carrying it's pollen let alone by the bee. There are so many factors in nature, that to the run of the mill human it is improbable to mathematically consider all and any possible outcomes.

 

Making the right choice is daunting. Thank you for your input.

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An important factor with organic crops often overlooked is food security. Chemical fertilizers come from oil, oil is becoming more expensive and it is running out. Even before BP, oil wasn't doing favor for the environment, nor was the wash off of chemical fertilizers.

 

Oil will run out. Once a field is in production with chemical fertilizers it takes several years to make the soil productive without them.

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An important factor with organic crops often overlooked is food security. Chemical fertilizers come from oil, oil is becoming more expensive and it is running out. Even before BP, oil wasn't doing favor for the environment, nor was the wash off of chemical fertilizers.

 

Oil will run out. Once a field is in production with chemical fertilizers it takes several years to make the soil productive without them.

 

So what you're saying is that organic is more sustainable, and that conventional farming uses chemical fertilizers made from oil?

 

Do you have any links I can read?

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An important factor with organic crops often overlooked is food security. Chemical fertilizers come from oil, oil is becoming more expensive and it is running out. Even before BP, oil wasn't doing favor for the environment, nor was the wash off of chemical fertilizers.

 

Oil will run out. Once a field is in production with chemical fertilizers it takes several years to make the soil productive without them.

 

So what you're saying is that organic is more sustainable, and that conventional farming uses chemical fertilizers made from oil?

 

Yes.

 

Do you have any links I can read?

 

No.

 

These are standard practices. They aren't a secret. I suggest you try Google and possibly a public library, preferably a University Library if you have easy access.

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Google is how I've been getting my information. I guess I should mention I am NOT actually retarded but a NEW vegan, and I have lots of questions. Ergo this topic.

 

I wasn't being flippant.

 

Try this

http://tinyurl.com/5tu63g7

 

If you are serious enough to go to a library that will settle the issue for you. Any decent librarian should be able to set you up with a stack of books and magazines about conventional farming methods, as well as the dependence on oil for the fertilizers commonly used.

 

You might also try searching on "runoff of fertilizers" and other variations of that phrase. The oil based fertilizers farmers use farmers also allow to run off into the water supplies polluting it and the soil.

 

Other problems with non-organic farming are soil erosion and salt build up.

 

Then their is the issue of Gentically Modified Food ( GMO ) if you don't want to eat it, your only choice in avoiding it is to buy USDA Certified Organic labeled food.

 

Pesticides have also been linked to infertility in people and sexual problems in animals.

 

Search on variation of "pesticide, cancer and infertility".

 

USDA Certified Organic food has strict controls about the amounts of pesticides used. Whether or not those standards and labels are enforced is another issue, but the point is that choosing organic food goes well beyond only claims that organic food is more nutritious.

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I think organic tastes much better " title="Applause" /> though one thing is true, it's pretty hard to say these days that organic foods are completely rid of anything unnatural . Even USDA certified 100% organic are still contaminated with some form of unnatural stuff because it's just a fact that our air and land just aren't what they used to be , they have be over-used and polluted over the years from neglect.

 

I think that we breathe and put on our bodies so many chemicals (I'm writing a book about that) everyday that we might as well eat the most natural we can get to reduce how much crap we are putting in our bodies everyday. As I said I don't think it's 100% for sure natural but it's certainly far more natural than all of these GMO foods.

 

Personally I'm really scared for the future, bees all over the world are dying thus plants are pollenating less = less plant growth which = eventually less food (maybe). GMO foods are very scary, we are cross-breeding foods like rice, taking the pollen from rice in Asia and "mating" it with rice in Africa making new sub-species of plants. Then taking beta-carotene and injecting it into the rice creating this new "golden rice" for starving and vitamin A deficient Africans.

 

I am all for feeding the world, but we need to consider the long-term effects of what we're doing to our world's agriculture. Perhaps I'm paranoid but I believe that someday we are going to cross-breed or hybrid a plant that is going to screw up the whole world, that the pollen will spread and destroy all the plants in the world (or most of them). It's already been proven that new strains of bacteria and human illnesses have risen out of GMO foods.

 

Keep it natural, that's the way nature and food is meant to be.

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