Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Organic Food Not Healthier

NPR ran a story yesterday about the lack of evidence for organic foods healthfulness. Not much to my surprise, scientific studies have failed to show that organic foods have greater mineral or vitamin content, or any other nutritional properties often attributed to them. What the story misses is the environmental health issues surrounding the production of conventional agriculture-particularly the health risks for migrant farm laborers and the issues of fertilizer and pesticide run-off. The story mentions that the pesticide levels on organic produce have been found not to be harmful or toxic. But the long term effects of pesticide/herbicide/fungicide/hormone ingestion from conventional products is inconclusive, the story notes.

The angle taken by NPR regarding organics and health fits well into the "Not In My Body" ethos of many organic devotees. Many consumers buy organic as a health preventive measure and think little beyond that. What's missing  in their analysis are the threats to workers and the environment which are certainly about health, just not about the organic shopper's bodily safety.

And anyway, this is old news. There has never really been any evidence for the nutritional superiority of organics. That was just one of the desires of advocates and marketers subtly peddled that bit in organic advertising campaigns.

Maybe it is time to start thinking less about organics and more about reforming the conventional foods system- the whole big monster for the benefit of all eaters!