In this week’s arts section of The Badger Herald, I came across an article that claimed, in spite of concrete evidence, that organic food was somehow beneficial to one’s health. Now, for those of you who buy organic food for its unique taste, I have no problem with your logic – I myself enjoy some organic products just for their flavor. However, for those of you who buy organic food because you believe it is better for your health, I want to let you know that you have given into one of the biggest scams since bottled water.
The article cites a recent study done by Stanford University doctors who found organic food is neither healthier nor more nutritious than food grown from traditional methods – it is only more expensive. Low-Fat Tuesday Columnist Rachel Werts spends much of the article trying to discredit the study and blames the media for over-indulging in it.
Stanford, Oxford and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have all done studies or made claims that organic food is no more beneficial to one’s health than food grown by traditional methods. So, this Stanford University study should not be shocking information, as for years now many studies have found organic food is no better than food grown with pesticides and antibiotics – I think it’s about time we listened to them.
After growing up and living my entire life on a small dairy farm in rural Wisconsin, I know firsthand the safety and efficiency that comes with using approved pesticides and antibiotics on plants and animals. I remember finding myself extremely annoyed when people would come around and press us or our neighbors to grow organic. Heads up: Without any pesticides or antibiotics, no food source can be self-sustaining.
That being said, for those of you who actually believe there are absolutely no pesticides or antibiotics used in the cultivation of your organic produce, meat or dairy, you would be wrong. Organic food growers use pesticides on their food – the U.S. Department of Agriculture only states the pesticides cannot be derived from unnatural sources.
The Stanford University study found organic food, while containing less detectable pesticides, still contained pesticides. Ironically, there was evidence in one study suggesting the pesticides detected in organic food may have come from household sources, not the food.
Now, in spite of all this evidence, many people will still say organic food is better for them, which I am fine with since I support the agriculturist – but I feel it’s my duty to just clue people in on how the scam of organic food works. Producers and I know many people believe organic food is healthier for them, and it is this connotation associated with the word “organic” that producers are after. In fact, USDA gives out an organic seal of approval to products that use 95 percent organic ingredients in their products. This makes me laugh as it reminds me of a moment in the movie “Tommy Boy” when Tommy says, “Hey, If you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I’ve got spare time.”
But beyond the USDA, many foods claim to be organic without actually being organic. For example, it is nearly impossible to get organic meat, milk or any other products that come from animals, since animals will at some point need an antibiotic to live or come into contact with feed treated with pesticides. But producers know if they can market their products with the label “organic” on them, they will be able to sell their produce for 50-100 percent higher prices – which people will blissfully still pay for.
Wisconsin is a state built on agriculture. By buying organic food, people are making it more difficult on the farms that are billed with the challenge of efficiently sustaining the population at a reasonable price while still managing to financially support themselves. So by all means, continue to buy organic food, continue to support the business of the local co-op, but please don’t try to justify your smug attitude by trying to convince everybody you didn’t just waste a whole bunch of money on something ordinary.
Jared Mehre ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in political science.