I believe that organic foods and gardening products are a silly and hypocritical fad.
According to Consumer Reports, “There is no definitive proof that organic produce offers a nutritional advantage over conventionally grown fruit and vegetables. Nor is it known how much risk is entailed in consuming the tiny quantities of pesticides on food over a lifetime.” (link to article)
Consumer Reports is a liberal publication. As a case in point, Consumer Reports was an outspoken advocate of single-payer, socialized medicine in the ‘90s. It’s especially poignant that Consumer Reports says this about organic products.
In the absence of hard proof, how do you justify paying the steep premium for organic products? You use junk science. A common premise is that everything synthetic is poison. Go read Howard Garrett’s Dallas Morning News gardening column. He squeals when anyone mentions synthetic stuff.
Everything synthetic is poison? I’d hate to live in a world without modern medicine, much of which uses synthetic products.
Everything organic is good? Go make some tea out of the cyanide that my (now gone) Carolina laurel cherry produced. Or talk to the residents of Greece, Corsica, and Turkey who use naturally available tremolite to white wash their homes. Tremolite is full of asbestos, another naturally occurring substance. Or go check out the environmental impact of organic chemicals like rotenone, sabadilla, or even soap. (Want to know a good way to kill a tank of fish? Add organic soap. Read this link.)
Even more humorous, “A study by the Southwest Research Institute found that the amount of produce containing detectable levels of pesticide residue dropped by half with washed samples. Where residue remained, levels were reduced by 29 to 98 percent.” This is again from Consumer Reports (link to article). This puts the pesticide levels of washed produce on par with organic products, which themselves contain a certain amount of background pesticide levels.
OK, so that argument fails. Aren’t carcinogenic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers causing cancer rates to rise? Not according to the American Cancer Society.
Well, aren’t organic products more environmentally sensitive? Not at all!
A mantra of the green movement is “use less.” Use less food, use less energy, use less paper, use less of everything. Inconvenient fact: organic products cost substantially more than traditional foods. It’s in large part because organic farming is substantially less productive than contemporary farming methods. Ultimately, organic goods’ increased price reflects the increased resource consumption required to produce the organic product.
Organic products have no clear health benefit and are more harmful to the environment. Why do people buy them? I suspect it’s in large part a fad and a social statement. The social statement aspect is misguided, like buying a SUV to give the appearance of being in touch with nature.