My husband and I have concluded that our current home is way too small for our growing family, and so we have recently enacted what I refer to as “austerity measures” in my home, in an effort to conserve our funds so that we can buy a bigger place. This has meant that he has scrutinized pretty much every purchase we have made in recent months, and it led to a rather large, er, disagreement between the two of us when it came to the purchase of organic food.
And can I just say the recent study that came out of Stanford University stating that organic food may not be healthier for you after all hasn’t helped my case?
The Stanford study argues that there aren’t any significant health benefits to be had for shelling out the extra cash for organic food. The nutritional quality of the food, the study argued, was basically the same. And if that’s your only criteria for whether or not you buy organic, then you do have a reason to buy conventionally grown food. But there are many other reasons to consider buying organic.
Organically grown produce uses far fewer synthetic pesticides (if any) than conventionally grown produce. Over sixty different pesticides have been found on the skin of apples alone. The use of these chemicals means that there is runoff into our water supply, and impacts the health of the soil.
I am going to admit it, I am petrified of the widespread usage of antibiotics in beef and chicken products, because I personally fear that this will lead to the development of more “superbugs” (like the one currently plaguing the NIH). The usage of these antibiotics in food is too recent for there to be a large body of research of their effects, but it’s simply too soon to deem this practice “safe.”
One of my primary reasons for buying organic is to limit the exposure of my two sons to pesticides, and the study acknowledged that while pesticides were found in the urine of young children, they were considered to be within “safe” limits. This is all well and good, but again, the research isn’t there to determine whether or not the pesticide exposure will affect children later on in life.
Admittedly, I don’t buy everything organic, but I do try to buy local and I tend to purchase organic apples and other produce items that tend to be high in pesticides.
While it is good to know that conventionally grown foods tend to have the same nutritional value as organic ones, it’s also important to consider that this is (a) only one study and (b) the impact of conventional farming on the environment versus organic farming has been documented as being harder on the environment and causing more greenhouse gas emissions. There are many reasons to buy organic beyond nutritional ones.
Does the new study change your mind about buying organic?