Organic Food No Better Than Conventional Food

Discussion in 'Organic Gardening' started by Millet, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Readily discerned residues are often present on avocados and apples, two heavily sprayed crops.
     
  2. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Would that be after they were properly prepared for consumption or just as they are shipped to the grocer?
    We are looking at equipment today capable of measuring down to 3 parts per billion.
    There was a British study done that suggests that more than 96 percent of harvested fruit and vegetables are below the suggested guidelines for residual traces of applied chemistry.

    MRL is not the same as the MDI set by Food and drug.
    I note they are often confused in forum chats.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2009
  3. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Janet, if your interested in residues, and most anything to do with the law and food, it is a very simple matter just to use your computer and search for what you want on the FDA's and related web sites, for any and all information you desire. On another note, in actual world wide foodstuff consumption, the extremely minute volume of organic grown foodstuffs, when compared to the volumes that big agriculture produces, is such a minuscule amount as not to be worthy of all the time and effort expended in this type of debate. Grow organic, or not, it is a personal decision. However, the world's population must rely on big agriculture, utilizing conventional methods, or starve. There is no other way. I'm sure, by now, Eric is tried of reading all this. Have a good day. End. - Millet (1,253-)
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2009
  4. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Seems like on this forum, if you have an opinion that differs from someone else's, you are subjected to all kinds of judgements, obnoxious comments, and downright rude responses. It sure is a real turn off, but it appears to be acceptable.

    It just makes me want to not even bother posting, because 'superior' people will just pick at my comments. Maybe this thread would be better off as a monologue instead of a dialogue...

    : (




    Anyway, I enjoyed your post JanetDoyle - thank you.

    : )
     
  5. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member

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    We have had problems with safety of prepared meats from one of the largest and most seemingly professional of suppliers recently in Canada, Millet, and although I regularly purchase a wide variety of mass-produced food items I do it with a certain amount of doubt and care -- I don't think I am prepared to trust the food supply because of the simple existence of a regulatory agency or the size or volume of the producer -- both in your country and in mine, the trend seems to be reduce the regulatory bureaucracy [of inspection agencies and their staff] and not to strengthen them. Excesses and mistakes happen such as the absurd classification of the ornamental plant deer repellent Bobbex made in the USA -- under review for import by Canada Health which because of inadequacies in our regulations or the personnel, has been classified as a "pesticide". It is not a deer-killer, it is a garlicky compound of, apparently, some of the more odoriferous substances from the plant and possibly animal world. And deer don't want to eat it. I guess it could be rationalized, though, that it needs to be tested to make sure its residues don't poison anything or anyone.

    I agree that the more one studies the details in these matters, the better-informed one is, however. I agree with you in many respects. Everyone should be able to discuss these issues without getting peeved. I would not want to necessarily make posters to this forum worry too much about expressing strong opinions, as long as they are careful to watch some of the language and epithets they use to avoid sounding condescending if not insulting -- Hollyberry Lady is correct there. It only stimulates others to reply in kind. Information-broadcasting is a good thing, though. This forum is pretty good this way, actually, not that I have time to bother with others but I have seen some dillies in passing.
     
  6. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    The subject of taste and flavour of vegetables and fruit pales in the wake of recent warnings regarding world food shortages.
    Who will disagree that increasing the food harvest is a priority right now and that for these people the amount of pesticide residuals are the least of their worries?

    So lets find better farming methods after we put out the fire!

    Quote from article:

    We estimate that about 130 million people were pushed into poverty from the food crisis and if you add the financial crisis on top of that we are estimating that about 53 million more people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the financial crisis,”

    http://blogs.reuters.com/shop-talk/2009/03/19/food-shortage-financial-crisis-bleak-outlook/
     
  7. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member

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    It is this latter information that unfortunately we have to think about but also act quickly upon, in providing food for our own use and for export and for aid programs. New developments in fertilizers, pesticides and genetic modifications will help starving nations but at the same time we have to deal with the facts regarding longterm build-up of residues or hormonal changes in the human organism... maybe it's going to be like publicly-provided medical care: a basic if not always perfect level of care for all, and for those who can afford the time and the money, or who are able and willing to put out the effort, a better more fault-free product for them. The altruistic purpose is there, but also the challenge and the stimulant for individuals and for have-not nations to strive harder for better...
     
  8. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hello everyone,

    I am actually just getting back to this thread. I had a personal catastrophe on Tuesday after posting my reply and have not had access to a computer until now. I am actually fairly pleased with the mostly respectful way the discussion has gone. Issues like this are emotional. We are talking about important matters of public health and the future of the planet. It is so important to discuss the issue and not break down into insults and fighting. This forum has always promoted rational discussion and evaluation of issues with logical and scientific methods. I would like to think that researchers and decision makers could come to this forum to learn about and discuss these matters.

    I personally think that an Integrated Pest Management standpoint may be the best way forward. Use the least amount of chemicals possible, but realize that some may be needed to sustain our agriculture. Even habitat restoration projects sometimes turn to chemical methods to eradicate invasive species and pests.
     
  9. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member

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    I am concerned about the personal catastrophe, Eric... is everything ok now? There was no loss of pet, friend, or loved-one? No fire or flood or theft? Take care. If any of these happened, my sympathies and admiration for your getting back to such as us.
     
  10. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Oh, I am OK. We had a nasty little flood in our apartment. Had to move out suddenly.

    So, I am OK, end of that discussion.
     
  11. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  12. Vancouver Island

    Vancouver Island Active Member

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    Millet, you make some good comments and seem to be willing to believe a scientific journal as absolute. I have read a lot of scientific works. The devil is often in the details. Be sure to look at some of the studies on phytochemicals found in plants as well as just the bare bones chemical analysis of the fruit.

    What I have found in recent reading is some of the information coming out of the hydroponic culture. In BC many suppliers are for the "underground" economy. That said, they do have the profits to support research into producing the best product they can. There are three magazines I have read from the hydroponic supplier- - generally handed out free from suppliers -- with most interesting articles on indoor growing. I was surprised to read that they promote organic culture to obtain the best product.

    Science based? Well, you learn by reading and doing. Keep an open mind.

    Did you know that in Alberta nearly all tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are grown hydroponically. And that tomate plants can reach 40' tall in 9 months of production if allowed -- though they are normally kept down to 12'. Good reading is from the Alberta government about hyroponics -- though they tend to go the chemical way. Control of growing conditions for indoor growing is very precise to obtain good crops. Lots can be gleaned from reading about it to improve the quality of growing crops in home gardens.
    see: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/opp7957
    for more information.
     
  13. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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  14. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    I don't claim to have any expertise in the organic debate but the organization associated with the above link has a juvenile bent to its rants. Although they advocate scientific rigor they show no restraint proclaiming their own testy judgments.

    They do admit to being supported by the donations from over 100 unnamed companies. Monsanto, Bayer, Dupont, Nestle etc come to mind.

    In the organic vs conventional debate I take their report with a grain of Fleur de Sel.
     
  15. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Your comment is rather sketchy.

    Were you referring to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,Britain’s Food Standards Agency,Institute of Food Technologists’ Journal, the Mayo Clinic , the American Dietetic Association or the University of Manitoba?

    I can report the latest findings but I cannot debate the credentials of these insitutions to satisfy inferred doubts related to the veracity of their claims.

    Perhaps you could elaborate.

    Notwithstanding, you are entitled to your opinion, I'm just not sure what it is.
     
  16. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    I was referring to the tone and content of their statements for example:

    "In other words, the organic niche is just that—a niche, and a feel-good boutique system for those who can afford it. But the idea that its widespread use would bring widespread benefits to humanity belongs in the compost."

    Sounds like a cranky high school-er to me.

    Other head lines : Chef's daily special lousy advice" "Hollywood serves up food elitism" " "celebrity" scientists prescribe bad medicine"

    I'm not into conspiracy stuff at all but everything they say sounds like they are the mouthpiece for Pharma Co's that sell diabetes and cholesterol meds. There is little rigor or objective, disinterested factual reporting.

    This is directed toward "the center for consumer freedom". Even the name has a hokey self-righteous ring to it.
     
  17. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Then I suggest you skip the article and head straight to the data to form your conclusions.
    You are right that they are as enthusiastic about their position regarding production and dissemination of food products as are the organic movement but one must look past the rhetoric often to find the truth.
     
  18. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    The [WIKI]Center for Consumer Freedom[/WIKI] doesn't seem like the ideal source for a fair and balanced opinion. Seems more like an [WIKI]astroturfing[/WIKI] entity rather than a genuine consumer organisation.

    Regardless of any difference in nutritional value, the chief advantage of organic produce as far as I can see is the lower content of possible carcinogenic chemical substances (from pesticides etc).
     
  19. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'd say the chief advantage is that organic farming is compatible with maintenance of biodiversity; conventional intensive modern farming is not.
     
  20. bedixon

    bedixon Active Member

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    I second maf's comment, and add to it the point that (small "o") organic growing also means no petroleum based fertilizers or monoculture, causing soil depletion and imbalance of insect population and the need for pest control and herbicides.

    It's not all about the end product and comparing it to non organic's taste and nutrition, but the method(s) used to produce our food, and how sustainable and responsible to the environment those methods are.
     
  21. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    We all pretty much understand the "secret recipe" but just how does that make one food product more beneficial than the other?

    The products you suggest above (non organic additives and supplements) "could" be used and as is often the case might not.
    The real difference shows up in yields.
    Organic style agriculture relies on the abscence of intrusions on it's plants and can only produce modest harvests without depleting the scarce organic composts required to nourish the plant until it's harvested. The more plants grown the more compost required. Unfortunately that is a finite commodity.

    And finally, as pointed to by the original article the results where studied by 4 separate groups and the findings were identicle.
     
  22. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Be that as it may, it does not prevent you from following up the peer reviewed studies pointed to in the article.

    I suggest you do this before you comment on the findings.

    Like you I am not at all interested in the article and simply used it as a beacon to direct you to further reading and to speak to the original topic.

    p.s. I can't believe I'm saying this again in the space of 3-4 posts.

    From above: Posting #65

    "Were you referring to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,Britain’s Food Standards Agency,Institute of Food Technologists’ Journal, the Mayo Clinic , the American Dietetic Association or the University of Manitoba?"
     
  23. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I was not questioning the findings of the reports as such, just mentioning what they did not address. From the BBC article (linked to by the Center for Consumer Freedom) on the Food Standards Agency report:
    From the linked Reuters article on the review published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
    Surely two of the main reasons many people consider organic food to be "better" than conventional food, so entirely appropriate to the original topic.
     
  24. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    The reason they did not look for these bogey man residules is that they do not exist in sufficient quantities to study. Modern tests now detect chemicals in a few parts per billion and well below the level where the impact on biology would be sufficent to evoke a reaction.
    Just what do you think is contained in synthetic fertilizers that might be more pathogenic than what is contained in the soil and compost?
    To the best of my knowledge these products are primarly NPK with trace elements sometimes added.
    If you are aware of any more than this please present it as it would be news to me. Also show me if possible where plants have taken up these additional chemicals.

    In Great Britian organic farmers can treat fungal diseases with copper solutions. Unlike modern, biodegradable, pesticides copper stays toxic in the soil for ever. The organic insecticide rotenone (in derris) is highly neurotoxic to humans – exposure can cause Parkinson's disease. But none of these "natural" chemicals is a reason not to buy organic food; nor are the man-made chemicals used in conventional farming.
    As for antibiotics and hormones, you are most likely to transfer such molecules from manure urine or contaminated ground water. The majority of vegetable farms here are not proximal to these impacts.
    Granted there were some in the past but science progresses with knowledge.
    (In most cases)

    What else have you got?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
  25. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Bob, I was merely pointing out that the studies in question were only looking at part of the equation. I am not an organic evangelist by any means, my own food production gardening is semi-organic in that I avoid chemical pesticides etc, but do use synthetic fertilizers in addition to the organic ones.

    It stands to reason that if you spray poisonous substances (synthetic or organic) on food crops then some amount of that poison will be ingested when the crop is eaten. The level of toxins may be below recommended amounts but sometimes it takes decades to reveal the true harmfulness of certain substances.

    I would prefer not to play the Billy Goat Gruff role in this exchange, and for that reason I will not be posting in this thread again.
     

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