Friday, February 6, 2009

Organic Produce

A friend asked me why I do not buy organic produce and products. For me it comes down to several things, cost, benefit and labeling.

I like my produce to be of a good quality for a reasonable price. I am not willing to pay more for a product that is of lower quality. Wilted organic lettuce is not good eats. Paying more for less is simply wrong to me.

I am also not convinced of the benefit of organic produce. Do I feel better for eating it? No. Do any studies show a benefit over the longer term? No. Does it make the world a better place? No. Does it make farming more productive and food more affordable? No. Does it create a paperwork nightmare for the farmer? Yes.

Finally, the labeling of organic does not convince me the products are what I think they should be. Organic standards are different all over the world and in the case of the USDA, they are much lower than I think really makes a difference. Processed foods with organic on the label can mean almost anything. I do not have the time to review the standards from every country around the world to make sure that what I am buying is really what I consider organic.

Some of the things included as a given in most organic standards are no GMO foods and no irradiation. In both cases I do not see the reasoning as both of the technologies are designed to reduce the chemical dependency of agriculture and have no impact on the consumer.
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