Lu Norton

Organic Foods

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I have been curious on the purpose of eating organic foods.

Does anybody have any reliable source on the reason of eating organic foods? I am very skeptical of all the "hogwash" on eating organic foods.

Thanks in advance!

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I have been curious on the purpose of eating organic foods.

Does anybody have any reliable source on the reason of eating organic foods? I am very skeptical of all the "hogwash" on eating organic foods.

I can tell you that organic produce tends to taste a lot better than the so-called conventional stuff. As for nutritional content: I don't dismiss the claims made in favor or organic produce, but this is such a political issue that it's hard to know who to believe (I'm being very generous here, as the Greens tend to lie even when they doesn't say anything.) I'm just glad that, with a little effort, I can get produce that's harvested more or less at the ideal time (farmers markets.)

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I have been curious on the purpose of eating organic foods.

Does anybody have any reliable source on the reason of eating organic foods? I am very skeptical of all the "hogwash" on eating organic foods.

Thanks in advance!

Organic means grown in ######-fertilizer.

There is nothing wrong with organically grown produce. Traditionally, produce and crops have been fertilized by doo doo. I used to raise the best tomatoes grown in chicken droppings and bovine exrement (properly dried and neutralized with lime). Just make sure you wash your organically grown produce thoroughly before consuming same.

ruveyn

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I have been curious on the purpose of eating organic foods.

Does anybody have any reliable source on the reason of eating organic foods? I am very skeptical of all the "hogwash" on eating organic foods.

Thanks in advance!

I look at it this way. We are a litigious, highly risk averse culture.

So two things suggest to me that organic food cannot be in some way “safer” for people to consume.

First, pesticides have to be licensed usually by some state body. These people are not exactly gung-ho with public safety. Sure they can and do make errors, but the lean towards over captiousness.

Second, if any ambulance chasing lawyer could find any pesticide that could be shown to cause harm, he would be suing all and sundry today. This has not to my knowledge occurred. Compare this to say, smoking and you see tobacco companies being sued left and right.

Thus we can be reasonably sure that in the absence of evidence to the contrary, non-organic food is perfectly safe.

I would also point out that so-called organic food is not always pesticide free; it is just modern pesticide free. Older pesticides, at least in the UK are acceptable

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I think it's a mixed bag, because the 'organic' moniker is not the essential to better quality, better taste, etc. It just says that the produce was grown without the use of [as Stussy88 says, modern] herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and preservatives. As such, it may have more insect infestation, may have more fungal infection, may smell like the above-mentioned bull-#$%&, etc. Stussy88 is right, though, that, so far, almost all the pesticide scares have turned out to be bogus. Red apples were taken off the shelves several years ago, thanks to the Alar scare: The pesticide Alar was claimed to be a carcinogen and was found in trace amounts on Washington apples. It turned out that it [a] washed right off, was in non-toxic minute quantities, and [c] was not a carcinogen. But it wrecked some smaller producers.

But another concept, the boutique grower idea, that of smaller lots of higher-quality, hand-picked produce, especially varieties that are not grown commercially because the automated picking machines would destroy or bruise, can definitely be of higher quality. Go to any local farmer's market and you'll often find superior products. For example, tomatoes grown commercially are generally varieties that have been selected for their thick skins that can survive the equipment and harsh handling, rather than flavor. They're picked green, so they're even harder and more damage-resistant, then stored and gassed with ethylene to turn it red.

Smaller-volume boutique farmers can gow them to vine-ripe condition, then handle them in smaller batches, more carefully, and deliver them to a farmer's market stall, or the fancy section of an upscale supermarket, in good condition and they will have much more flavor and juiciness.

So, yeah, where "organic" farming and "boutique" farming overlap, you can find a much better product. But it's better to go for the quality product and not assume that "organic" means better necessarily.

And there are varying standards and great variation in methods for organic farming, so some products are much better than others in that sense, too.

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Organic produce does not always taste better. It is simply that supermarkets will use very high quality produce in their organic lines, because 'organic' is a label that is bought by the fashionable and more affluent middle classes.

tomatoes grown commercially are generally varieties that have been selected for their thick skins that can survive the equipment and harsh handling, rather than flavor. They're picked green, so they're even harder and more damage-resistant, then stored and gassed with ethylene to turn it red.

Yes, that is true. This is the case with pretty much all fruits, unless they are locally grown in season. One thing the healthy-eating fanatics haven't cottoned onto yet is that the vast majority of nutrition is put into a fruit while it is ripening. So if its picked before ripening, then artificially ripened, it is far less nutritious (and that is clearly reflected in the taste). Which is why oranges taste nicer in Florida or the Mediterranean.

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I decided to try an organically grown apple. I bought one red delicious apple with several of the regular apples I normally buy. After about 2 days in the frig, I decided to try it and when I bit into it, it had a whole bunch of brown areas inside. After about 2 bites, I decided to throw it away. Was this just one "bad apple in the bunch" and I was unlucky, or is this common with organically grown apples? I think I'll stick to regular apples if this is common.

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I decided to try an organically grown apple. I bought one red delicious apple with several of the regular apples I normally buy. After about 2 days in the frig, I decided to try it and when I bit into it, it had a whole bunch of brown areas inside. After about 2 bites, I decided to throw it away. Was this just one "bad apple in the bunch" and I was unlucky, or is this common with organically grown apples? I think I'll stick to regular apples if this is common.
Well, I've had that brown-spot experience more than once with WalMart commercially-grown apples, looking superficially shiny and happy, so it may just have been bad luck. You do often see organic produce with blemishes on the surface, because they don't coat them in wax, as producers or distributors do for the commercial product. And, many times, the organic methods don't stop the insect pests from doing their thing with your fruit.

I think, again, a higher-quality boutique orchard might actually give you a firmer, more flavorful apple, but the 'organic' label, in and of itself, doesn't guarantee anything.

Another procedural point, though: You kept it in the fridge for 2 days. The Battered Apple Shelter would probably cite you for that. Technically, a few days in the fridge and fruit can become more grainy, mushy, and generally less attractive in texture. That's known as "cold-storage" fruit. In the Netherlands, when I was there, years ago, that was the only kind of apple you could get and they were almost all mealy and unpleasant, except in season. Keeping them at room temperature allows them to continue to ripen and spoil a little faster, but they should stay crisp for 2-3 days that way. Tomatoes, definitely, don't fare well in a refrigerator vs. the counter. As long as you don't enclose them, as with keeping them in a bag, they shouldn't ripen much more. If you stick a greenish banana in a brown paper bag, for instance, it will raise the level of ethylene and they will ripen and turn yellow (then brown, then black, then... yuck, and the fruit flies will find the larger holes in your screen and join your picnic).

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I personally think the whole "organic foods" thing is a scam. The use of pesticides, preservatives, etc, is what allows for mankind to grow vast quantities of clean, affordable food. I have heard a lot of frustration pertaining to organic foods from a manager at a popular supermarket because the organic foods are so expensive and because they go bad so quickly. I've also heard a farmer regard it as a scam because of how expensive it is to produce organic foods.

I think of is as the same as the "natural" movement in foods or other products, where something being made purely from natural ingredients supposedly bestows on the product some mystical super-enhanced qualities.

When someone says "It's all natural!", I think "Yeah, so is poison ivy...". There is a reason why farmers use the modern growing methods they do.

Organic foods probably ranks up there as another environmental feel-good do-goodery that only the rich liberal elite can afford to do (whereas the world's poor would probably starve to death if everything were grown "organically").

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I look at it this way. We are a litigious, highly risk averse culture.

So two things suggest to me that organic food cannot be in some way “safer” for people to consume.

First, pesticides have to be licensed usually by some state body.

Second, if any ambulance chasing lawyer could find any pesticide that could be shown to cause harm, he would be suing all and sundry today.

Yeah, but think of it this way -- there's nothing more deadly out there than your friendly neighborhood McDonalds. It literally, if you start eating it more or less regularly, will kill you.

Yet no lawyers are chasing 400-lb people with horrific coronary problems caused by McDonalds food. The best they can get away with is if someone burns themselves on the hot coffee, that's about it.

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I look at it this way. We are a litigious, highly risk averse culture.

So two things suggest to me that organic food cannot be in some way “safer” for people to consume.

First, pesticides have to be licensed usually by some state body.

Second, if any ambulance chasing lawyer could find any pesticide that could be shown to cause harm, he would be suing all and sundry today.

Yeah, but think of it this way -- there's nothing more deadly out there than your friendly neighborhood McDonalds. It literally, if you start eating it more or less regularly, will kill you.

Yet no lawyers are chasing 400-lb people with horrific coronary problems caused by McDonalds food. The best they can get away with is if someone burns themselves on the hot coffee, that's about it.

Totally false. I eat McConalds weekly and have been since I was a child. I have absolutely no medical problems that stem from McDonalds food nor have I ever. What is going to kill us, in general, is eating and breathing. Every time a person eats any type of food their metabolism must turn it into usable energy which always leaves behind toxins. It does not matter if you eat a McDonalds french fry or an apple there will always be a build up of toxins. When done in rational amounts one's body (especially the liver and kidney) can handle the toxins and flush them out of one's system. A person's body cannot tell nor does it make ethical decisions when one puts a piece of food in their mouth. To much of anything will make a person fat and cause ill-consequences.

In general, I also agree with Jordan, "Organic Foods" is a bogus concept. Did man just make a piece of produce out of nothing? NO. Everything is organic, if what those people mean when they use the term is, from nature. And it is only the people that make such large amounts of non-Organic produce that actaully feed most societies in an efficient way.

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To be more exact, I did not eat McDonalds during the time that I was in Boot-Camp nor while doing field training. But, beyond those few times I have enjoyed McDonalds hamburgers for close to 40 years and actually worked at a McDonalds for two and a half years.

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Unless it comes from synthetic materials in the form of a pill or out of a beaker or test tube, all food is organic. It seems to me that the so-called "organic food movement" is nothing more than a ploy to charge higher prices for stuff that goes bad quicker. It's about cachet, and nothing more.

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McDonalds

What Ray said. I've dined in McD regulary myself and, as far as I can tell, I am still alive. I especially like their salads. What is it about the nature of a salad that makes it deadly when sold in McDonalds, but healthy everywhere else? Or about the nature of beef or cheese or potatoes, for that matter?

I think this is an example of how, if you repeat a lie often enough ... even some Objectivists will believe it! B)

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I'll just add my bit here: I recall reading, from reputable sources, that, in general, organic food is actually worse for you than "regular" food. I can't recall exactly where I read that, but it was more than once (more than twice even, IIRC) and, as I said, from sources I found trustworthy. Due diligence is in order.

Personally, I've never found organic anything to be superior in any way to equivalent "regular" food. Therefore I never buy it unless it's less expensive than the alternatives, which is very seldom. Price is the dominant factor for me in choosing food, when all else is the same. For example, I always buy the Wal-Mart brand instead of Rice Krispies, because they're exactly the same as far as I can tell and Wal-Mart's costs less. OTOH, I never buy Malt-O-Meal's version instead of Cheerios, because there's a significant difference in the taste and I prefer Cheerios. (AFAIK Wal-Mart doesn't have a store brand for that, or if it does I tried it a long time ago and didn't like it.) For another example, tomato puree is tomato puree - whatever is cheapest is what I get.

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Unless it comes from synthetic materials in the form of a pill or out of a beaker or test tube, all food is organic. It seems to me that the so-called "organic food movement" is nothing more than a ploy to charge higher prices for stuff that goes bad quicker. It's about cachet, and nothing more.
Well, sure. And, in a strictly chemical sense, charcoal is 'organic' (i.e. carbon-based) Silicon-based life-forms that may be here spying on the human race may want to watch their intake of 'organic' food, as Carbon may be bad for their health.

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McDonalds

What Ray said. I've dined in McD regulary myself and, as far as I can tell, I am still alive. I especially like their salads. What is it about the nature of a salad that makes it deadly when sold in McDonalds, but healthy everywhere else? Or about the nature of beef or cheese or potatoes, for that matter?

I think this is an example of how, if you repeat a lie often enough ... even some Objectivists will believe it! B)

I also enjoy McDonalds, especially their iced coffees! :)

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Red apples were taken off the shelves several years ago, thanks to the Alar scare: The pesticide Alar was claimed to be a carcinogen and was found in trace amounts on Washington apples. It turned out that it [a] washed right off, was in non-toxic minute quantities, and [c] was not a carcinogen. But it wrecked some smaller producers.

Indeed. Although it's my understanding that Alar is carcinogenic . . . at certain dosage levels. The news media at the time didn't bother to inquire as to that dosage level, however. Had they done so before running with the story(ies), they would have learned that the dosages of Alar given to test mice were equivalent to a human's consuming approximately 14,000 alar treated apples every day for 70 years.

?#@!#@!!

I think's a good bet that a human eating that many apples a day would expire (explode?) long before Alar would have much effect.

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I decided to try an organically grown apple. I bought one red delicious apple with several of the regular apples I normally buy. After about 2 days in the frig, I decided to try it and when I bit into it, it had a whole bunch of brown areas inside. After about 2 bites, I decided to throw it away. Was this just one "bad apple in the bunch" and I was unlucky, or is this common with organically grown apples? I think I'll stick to regular apples if this is common.
Well, I've had that brown-spot experience more than once with WalMart commercially-grown apples, looking superficially shiny and happy, so it may just have been bad luck. You do often see organic produce with blemishes on the surface, because they don't coat them in wax, as producers or distributors do for the commercial product. And, many times, the organic methods don't stop the insect pests from doing their thing with your fruit.

I think, again, a higher-quality boutique orchard might actually give you a firmer, more flavorful apple, but the 'organic' label, in and of itself, doesn't guarantee anything.

Another procedural point, though: You kept it in the fridge for 2 days. The Battered Apple Shelter would probably cite you for that. Technically, a few days in the fridge and fruit can become more grainy, mushy, and generally less attractive in texture. That's known as "cold-storage" fruit. In the Netherlands, when I was there, years ago, that was the only kind of apple you could get and they were almost all mealy and unpleasant, except in season. Keeping them at room temperature allows them to continue to ripen and spoil a little faster, but they should stay crisp for 2-3 days that way. Tomatoes, definitely, don't fare well in a refrigerator vs. the counter. As long as you don't enclose them, as with keeping them in a bag, they shouldn't ripen much more. If you stick a greenish banana in a brown paper bag, for instance, it will raise the level of ethylene and they will ripen and turn yellow (then brown, then black, then... yuck, and the fruit flies will find the larger holes in your screen and join your picnic).

I'm not one to go running from one place to another looking for a good apple. I shop at the closest grocery store and I've rarely had trouble with regularly grown apples. Occasional one or two brown spots on the outside don't bother me: I can just cut them off. But the organic apple had many brown "volumes" inside the apple after I bit what looked like a good area. That very rarely happens with regular apples. If apples can't take days or even longer in the frig, then it's not for me. I like my fruit cold. Regular apples taste fine to me. So I guess it's back to "non-organic" apples for me.

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For those who think that McDonald's is OK food, I have one question. What constitutes "healthy" food for you? 1900 calories for lunch, 50% from fat is "healthy"? (Big Mac: 50% fat calories, 103 mg cholesterol; chocolate shake: 28% fat calories, 70 mg cholesterol; fries: 47% fat calories. Total calories: 1900). There may be a few who go for coffee or a salad, but that fluff is hardly what supports the McDonald's name.

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For those who think that McDonald's is OK food, I have one question. What constitutes "healthy" food for you? 1900 calories for lunch, 50% from fat is "healthy"? (Big Mac: 50% fat calories, 103 mg cholesterol; chocolate shake: 28% fat calories, 70 mg cholesterol; fries: 47% fat calories. Total calories: 1900). There may be a few who go for coffee or a salad, but that fluff is hardly what supports the McDonald's name.

Doesn't the dosage make the poison? I would estimate that I average perhaps one fast food meal per month. Not likely that that will have a significant impact in the long term.

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For those who think that McDonald's is OK food, I have one question. What constitutes "healthy" food for you? 1900 calories for lunch, 50% from fat is "healthy"? (Big Mac: 50% fat calories, 103 mg cholesterol; chocolate shake: 28% fat calories, 70 mg cholesterol; fries: 47% fat calories. Total calories: 1900). There may be a few who go for coffee or a salad, but that fluff is hardly what supports the McDonald's name.

But the issue you raise is one of healthful eating habits, an issue quite separate from the value of so-called "organic food". Everything in the McDonald's meal you describe could be made from so-called "organic food" stuffs and still be equally as unhealthful as the traditional items if eaten in consistent quantities and with regularity.

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For those who think that McDonald's is OK food, I have one question. What constitutes "healthy" food for you? 1900 calories for lunch, 50% from fat is "healthy"? (Big Mac: 50% fat calories, 103 mg cholesterol; chocolate shake: 28% fat calories, 70 mg cholesterol; fries: 47% fat calories. Total calories: 1900). There may be a few who go for coffee or a salad, but that fluff is hardly what supports the McDonald's name.

Who said that anyone had to eat the whole combo or sandwich. What I usually do when I go to McDoanlds with my wife is split one of their combos. Usually we get a burger and large fries with a diet soda. As a matter of fact I do this at almost every place I eat. When my wife and I go to Port of Subs we get a medium sandwich combo (the sub is 8 inches of which we each get 4 inches) with a cookie and diet soda. When my wife and I go to the Elephant Bar we get one meal, which we split and then have a drink with it. When I get Little Ceasars pizza, I eat two slices which are not very large and that is it. And guess what, I am a healthy, almost 40 year old person that eats, drinks and is merry in rational amounts.

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I'll just add my bit here: I recall reading, from reputable sources, that, in general, organic food is actually worse for you than "regular" food. I can't recall exactly where I read that, but it was more than once (more than twice even, IIRC) and, as I said, from sources I found trustworthy. Due diligence is in order.

Could you may be referring to the claim that the vehicles and warehouses used for organic produce are fumigated like mad? Supposedly, reports had shown that a good deal of organic produce had vast amounts of bug-fighting chemicals on it at the point of sale. (I just want to make clear that, to my knowledge, this claim has never been substantiated, but I've also never heard it denied or rebuffed.)

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