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Old 14 May 2014, 01:51 AM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Icon23 Why You Can Feel Guilt-free Buying Non-Organic Produce

There are several different reasons people are willing to pay more for organic produce, but many consumers do so believing that it is a way avoid pesticide residues. That widely held belief is unfounded. Here is why:

There are definitely pesticides used in the growing of organic crops. There are residues of those materials on the harvested products.
Residues of synthetic pesticides are also frequently found on organic produce, even though they are not materials that are approved for use on organic.

The reason I feel the need to challenge the "avoid pesticides via organic" myth is that it causes many consumers to feel unwarranted marketing and peer pressure to spend more for organic. The guilt tripping is particularly intense for moms. The not-so-subtle message is, "if you really cared about your family or your health, you would spend the money for organic." Whether this leads people to spend more than they should, to buy less total produce, or just to feel bad, it is a destructive outcome based on disinformation. Yes, there are low level pesticide residues on both categories of produce, but in neither case should those residues dissuade you from enjoying all the health benefits that come with eating lots of fruits and vegetables.

http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com...uying-non.html
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Old 14 May 2014, 04:41 AM
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Honestly, I thought organic foods were total BS until I met my husband. Being a mere 32, I'm not terrified about cancer, but damn the organic fruits/veg/dairy/protein we eat taste so much better than the other stuff.

When staying at my mom's house (non-organic buyer) I pretty much eat junk food. The fruit and veg she buys is just not up my field, though I eat it cos I should.

At our house up in Toronto, we buy organic as much as possible when money allows. The apples we bought this morning are so damn tasty I've had 3.

We also have huge gardens and plant what we can -- usually kale, chard, berries, beets, apples, peppers, rhubarb and I'm sure much more hub could fill in. Those are our eating staple, even though we live in suburbia and have about .75 acre.

Yes, pesticides drift and nothing, in reality, can be completely 100% organic. But I used to think organic buyers were morons until I tasted some of the produce.
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Old 14 May 2014, 05:02 AM
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I buy organic not for my health, but for the health of the people living downstream and downwind of the farms where pesticides are used.
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Old 14 May 2014, 06:33 AM
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If organic foods taste better I wonder why that taste difference doesn't show up in scientifically designed taste tests.
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  #5  
Old 14 May 2014, 06:36 AM
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Because the science tests aren't using straight-off-the-shelf produce from a grocery store where the organic produce is often much riper than the standard fare?

I got nothing.
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Old 14 May 2014, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I buy organic not for my health, but for the health of the people living downstream and downwind of the farms where pesticides are used.
What makes you think organic farms don't use pesticides?
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Old 14 May 2014, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Because the science tests aren't using straight-off-the-shelf produce from a grocery store where the organic produce is often much riper than the standard fare?

.
It would not be hard to design a double-blind test with both organic and non organic food, with both at the normal age they appear on the market.
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Old 14 May 2014, 03:05 PM
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Flavor is affected by a whole horde of conditions: soil type, soil condition, nutrient availability, specific variety of plant, weather during the season as a whole, weather shortly before and during harvest, amount of irrigation water if any, degree of ripeness at harvest, length of time between harvest and processing and/or eating, handling during that length of time (temperature, humidity, ethylene exposure, etc); even time of day of harvest can affect it.

There's no way whatsoever to control for all of that by buying samples at the supermarket.

You'd need to grow the same varieties of the same crops in adjacent fields of the same soil type, plant on the same day, irrigate (if at all) in the same fashion and amount, harvest at the same time, handle identically: and then run your taste tests. If anybody has done this, I don't know of the study.

-- as far as pesticide residues: didn't Consumer Reports do a study a few years back and conclude that there are indeed fewer residues on organic produce than on conventional? -- yup, just found a cite:

http://consumersunion.org/news/cu-re...ss-pesticides/

And while it's true that there are some pesticides allowed for use by organic growers, they're only allowed to be used as a last-resort technique. So not only is the list of permissible materials a lot shorter, but the actual amount of use in practice is generally a lot lower.
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Old 14 May 2014, 03:15 PM
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Yeah, the glaring thing that was missing from the OP article was quantification. He says there are pesticide residues on both conventional and organic, and both use pesticides, but never mentions if the pesticides residues are of equal quantity. Instead, he argues that quantity doesn't really matter as long as it's at a safe level under federal rules. But it does matter to people who care about the total environmental impact, and to people who want to minimize exposure for children.
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Old 14 May 2014, 03:28 PM
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Taste has a lot more to do with they were picked. Most bulk produce you see in the stores is picked green and ripens on the way to market without the extra help of the sun. Locally grown produce like you find tend to be ripened on the vine out in the sun before picking. Thought ethylene can be used to forced ripened organic fruit it does not look to be used.

The best oranges I have found are not organic but use minimal inorganic fertilizers and herbicides. The real trick is the oranges are not genetically modified and most importantly pick when they are ripe. The problem is you can only get them during picking season and they have a short shelf life. Also they are twice the cost of other oranges when I see them at the supper market, 3 times when I order and ship them online.
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Old 14 May 2014, 05:09 PM
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I also believe that taste has to do with ripeness rather than organic/non-organic.

When I moved from a farm region to suburban Southern California, I did notice that the vegetables did not taste as good and my college friends reported enjoying the produce more when they came out with me. For me, it was always easiest to see/taste it in tomatoes. The tomatoes are hard and bland in city supermarkets. When they are ripe, they are juicy and flavorful. My family got all of our produce from the closest supermarket.

My family has tried both organic and pesticide methods on their nut trees. I don't remember any of us recalling a change in the taste of the nuts.

I remember also going to a fruit/vegetable stand next to a busy intersection near my family home and not being impressed with their selection there either. It seemed like they were passing off the same produce as a grocery store, but maybe that's also because they were trying to have a wide variety.

Part of the issue is trying to keep well stocked in things that are out of "season." Even in California, produce follows a season. Also, due to the severe drought, a lot of farmers can't afford the water or the more expensive pumps to drill deeper for groundwater (which has its own environmental consequence).

There won't be as much produce this coming year since some fields are being left fallow.

http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/03/19/...impact-of.html
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Old 14 May 2014, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Flavor is affected by a whole horde of conditions: soil type, soil condition, nutrient availability, specific variety of plant, weather during the season as a whole, weather shortly before and during harvest, amount of irrigation water if any, degree of ripeness at harvest, length of time between harvest and processing and/or eating, handling during that length of time (temperature, humidity, ethylene exposure, etc); even time of day of harvest can affect it.

There's no way whatsoever to control for all of that by buying samples at the supermarket.

You'd need to grow the same varieties of the same crops in adjacent fields of the same soil type, plant on the same day, irrigate (if at all) in the same fashion and amount, harvest at the same time, handle identically: and then run your taste tests. If anybody has done this, I don't know of the study.
Why? Why do you "need to grow the same varieties...." etc? Quite frankly, IF organic produce is tastier (and "tasty" is subjective), it could absolutely have less to do with variety, soil type, day/conditions of planting and picking, and much more to do with being grown closer to the purchase and picked as ripe (or, at least closer to ripeness).

I'm not poo-pooing the concerns of those choosing organics. The pesticide residues should be very low on all produce; proper cleaning should remove even more; however, are the long term effects properly studied? How much can build up in your system? That being said, the logical mind says that if you do use the same varieties, same irrigation, etc. etc. etc., the crops grown using pesticides should taste BETTER because the plant grew with fewer diseases insects, etc.

To some people, the fresher produce is worth the extra cost and the fewer pesticides is a bonus; to others, the fewer pesticides is the primary reason. I enjoy seasonal produce grown locally when I can get it; I enjoy supermarket veggies the other 9 months of the year.
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Old 14 May 2014, 05:16 PM
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The flavor difference, if any, is more likely to be a correlation with organic methods, rather than causation. But that is still a valid reason to buy organic if it's a source you kknow produces tastier food.
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Old 14 May 2014, 05:28 PM
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I can't wait for our local farmers to have huge tomatoes and candy sweet onions. I wish I could get this stuff year round. I don't know if they grow organic or not and I don't care. They are small farms that grow and sell fresh that day fruits and vegetables. They are awesome
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Old 14 May 2014, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Winston O'Boogie View Post
Why? Why do you "need to grow the same varieties...." etc? Quite frankly, IF organic produce is tastier (and "tasty" is subjective), it could absolutely have less to do with variety, soil type, day/conditions of planting and picking, and much more to do with being grown closer to the purchase and picked as ripe (or, at least closer to ripeness)..
Precisely because, if you really want to know whether there's a difference in flavor between organically grown and conventionally grown crops, you need to be able to control for how ripe the crop was when harvested, as well as to be able to control for all those other factors.

Many varieties are bred to stand up to long distance shipping, not for flavor or for nutrient value. Specific variety most definitely does affect flavor; in some crops the difference can be dramatic, even if the degree of ripeness is the same.

Ripeness at harvest is one of the factors, and for some crops (not all) it can be a major factor. It is far from the only factor.
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Old 14 May 2014, 09:17 PM
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I hope that not too many people are really feeling guilty about not buying organic. There were times in my life when the last thing I was going to budget for was organic produce, I was lucky to be able to manage regular veggies and fruits. It bothers me that moms always seem to be the target for some guilt trip or another. "oh you don't cook from scratch?" "you don't buy organic?" "you let your kids eat candy?" None of that is remotely the equivalent of "oh you let your kids play in traffic?" but sometimes it sure feels like that's the message you get.
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Old 15 May 2014, 04:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
What makes you think organic farms don't use pesticides?
What makes you think I think organic farms don't use pesticides? Do you think the amount and type of pesticides used don't matter, or do you just assume I don't know what I'm talking about?
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Old 15 May 2014, 05:43 AM
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My bad. The way you said it sounded like organic=no pesticides.

Thorny's link is interesting because it means fewer pesticides on the food but it doesn't support the claim that there are fewer pesticides on the farms. Not that I doubt Thorny's experience and expertise but it would be nice to see some data.
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Old 15 May 2014, 02:07 PM
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ganzfeld, I tried to find you a quick link to the relevant portions of organic standards; but USDA now seems to have a confusing layout of multiple pdf's and it's not clear to me which one has the right sections. We've got one dry day before the rain comes back so I can't really hunt through this today or take the time to type out that much from my print version -- I'll try to get back to this later.

I am not sure, however, why you think that a link supporting the claim that there are fewer pesticides on the food doesn't also support the claim that there are fewer pesticides used on the farm. Do you think that the conventional produce has a higher amount of pesticides added after the food leaves the farm?
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Old 15 May 2014, 10:22 PM
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No, it just seems there could be other factors at play, such as the type of pesticide used, the way it is applied, the way the produce is prepared, shipped, or packed, etc. (Not trying to pick nits but I suppose it's also just a difference between "supports" and "is consistent with" - which really is just a nitpick.)
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