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Organic Foods
Old 03-18-2014, 01:35 PM   #1
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Organic Foods

Seemingly simple questions:

Where do they come from?
What standards exist to differentiate organic foods? Who enforces? NOP budget under 5million.
How has production changed to fill the rapid growth?
Why the large price differential?
Any studies to prove better health results?

I look, but don't find good answers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_certification
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:48 PM   #2
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Dirty Dozen List show which plants you should consider buying organic.

I do not understand vegetarian chicken feed listed on eggs - chickens are supposed to eat bugs!
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:13 PM   #3
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A good read is 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' which discusses the organic farming industry among other food industry topics. I read it some time ago so not sure if it has answers to all your questions.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:25 PM   #4
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I have never been really sure whether buying organic is worth the extra money or not. The ethnic markets by us have produce for 50 cents or less a pound. It is hard to justify budget-wise spending 5 times that for organic produce. I bought a few peppers at the local over-priced retail store and had a shock at the register. I thought the price was $2.49 a pound. It was $2.49 for a single organic pepper. I can get a whole hand basket of non-organic produce at the ethnic markets for that price.

We buy cage free eggs and produce according to the dirty dozen list. I buy what organic meat Costco has to offer, but I don't buy the $9 a pound organic beef at the regular supermarkets.

Sprouts has organic produce on sale often but I stopped shopping there when a lot of it was looking kind of older and moldy. I am not sure pesticides are worse than not too fresh looking produce with mold and fungus on it.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:37 PM   #5
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Joel Salatin makes an interesting case for more natural food production, though not always organic.

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Old 03-18-2014, 04:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
I have never been really sure whether buying organic is worth the extra money or not. The ethnic markets by us have produce for 50 cents or less a pound. It is hard to justify budget-wise spending 5 times that for organic produce. I bought a few peppers at the local over-priced retail store and had a shock at the register. I thought the price was $2.49 a pound. It was $2.49 for a single organic pepper. I can get a whole hand basket of non-organic produce at the ethnic markets for that price.

We buy cage free eggs and produce according to the dirty dozen list. I buy what organic meat Costco has to offer, but I don't buy the $9 a pound organic beef at the regular supermarkets.

Sprouts has organic produce on sale often but I stopped shopping there when a lot of it was looking kind of older and moldy. I am not sure pesticides are worse than not too fresh looking produce with mold and fungus on it.
I am very similar - lots of produce and fish at the asian/ethnic markets (ranch 99, zion marker, h-market). Buy organic at costco (whole chickens, hamburger, lots of produce.)

I haven't seen an issue with the organic at Sprouts. My main shopping is at Costco, Sprouts, and Zion Market (ethnic). But I don't always buy organic at sprouts.... some of their mid-range stuff is good enough for me. Example: Milk. Sprouts milk is from drug free cows (no growth hormones or antibiotics). Cheaper than organic - but still free of lot of things I worry about.

I recently found out my son has a mutation of the MTHFR C677T snp. One of the effects of this mutation is his lessoned ability to flush toxins out of his body. So if I can buy food that's not tainted with toxins/drugs/dyes... we're ahead of the game.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:24 PM   #7
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To me organic chicken tastes a lot better.

I'm strictest about meat - organic or not treated with antibiotics and other chemicals. Avoid farm-raised fish.

I buy a lot of organic produce, but subject to availability/quality.

Organic milk only.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Seemingly simple questions:

Where do they come from?
What standards exist to differentiate organic foods? Who enforces? NOP budget under 5million.
How has production changed to fill the rapid growth?
Why the large price differential?
Any studies to prove better health results?

I look, but don't find good answers.

Organic certification - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Here are a couple of answers.
Organic Foods- What's New — Nutrition, Diet, and Health — Penn State Extension
One of the reasons for the higher price is having to do more weeding and mulching and pest control.
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Old 03-18-2014, 05:03 PM   #9
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I buy organic when I can but will choose non-organic supermarket fruit and veg if it looks fresher. I always buy organic milk and free-range eggs and wild caught fresh or frozen fish. I don't eat any canned fish from Southeast Asia. My favorite sardines are Portuguese. I don't eat much meat but try to source it locally. The same with whole grain breads (local source, about 1 loaf a week). My diet gets a huge boost during the summer farmers market season.
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:03 PM   #10
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I never buy food just because it's organic.

I do buy farm fresh eggs from a farmer who lets the chickens out to forage and eat real bugs (when the weather is warm).

I like the taste and (possibly the better nutrition) of grass fed beef, though I only buy it sometimes.

But I buy these things because it provides me some value for the extra cost.

It's hard to see that buying food just because it's "organic" means it's automatically better.

Organic food no more nutritious than conventionally grown food - Harvard Health Blog - Harvard Health Publications
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:34 PM   #11
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So let's take the first question....

Where do organic foods come from?

Like the sections of your local store that display organic foods. In the stores in my neighborhood, organic foods didn't even show three years ago, and I don't remember seeing signs that said "organic" in the farmers' market in Florida.

Who checked the "3 year rule"?

Were the big producers sneaking around for years... not using fertilizer? Is it possible that I could have been eating organic foods and didn't even know it?

And those organic bananas that sell for almost double. Where do they come from?

Now, did you really know that there were 3 levels of "Organic" Identification?

Quote:
In the United States, federal legislation defines three levels of organic foods. Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients and methods can be labeled "100% organic," while only products with at least 95% organic ingredients may be labeled "organic." Both of these categories may also display the USDA Organic seal. A third category, containing a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, can be labeled "made with organic ingredients," but may not display the USDA Organic seal. In addition, products may also display the logo of the certification body that approved them.
Now about certification... The NOP, has a budget of under $5million. Do they have the responsibility to oversee hundreds of thousands of producers with this size budget?
The USDA approves the state, nonprofit and private agencies who then approve or certify the producers. So did all of those producers who are now filling the organic shelves of the markets... stop using chemicals at least three years ago?
Quote:
Also in the U.S., the Secretary of Agriculture promulgated regulations establishing the National Organic Program (NOP). The final rule was published in the Federal Register in 2000. It restricts the use of the term "organic" to certified organic producers (excepting growers selling under $5,000 a year, who must still comply and submit to a records audit if requested, but do not have to formally apply). Certification is handled by state, non-profit and private agencies that have been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:53 PM   #12
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Any studies to prove better health results?
We had some mileage from this issue in the past. Opinions definitely vary.
Organic or not?

And the infamous:
Who knows about milk?
(I blame T-Al for starting that one!)

Everything we eat is composed entirely of chemicals. IMO, the ones we deliberately add are among the ones that we understand the best concerning their health effects. That doesn't mean they are all safe, but the thousands of natural pesticides (and growth regulators, etc) that plants and animals have in their systems seem just as likely to be harmful (some are known to be among the most toxic substances in the world).

And the food sold at the little farmer's markets? Who knows where it came from and how it was grown.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:15 PM   #13
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ooops....
missed that earlier thread completely... no wonder the my last attempt to discuss "organic" was stopped in its' tracks...
mea culpa...
bring out the bacon
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:41 PM   #14
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ooops....
missed that earlier thread completely... no wonder the my last attempt to discuss "organic" was stopped in its' tracks...
mea culpa...
bring out the bacon
Yep, organic seems more volatile than politics or religion.

For the record, I actively avoid anything labelled 'organic'. I think it is mostly a scam, and I don't want to perpetuate a scam, and I don't like being scammed.

And throw in 'eat local'. So easy to say, yet so meaningless. It might be in one of those threads, but samclem and I provided the links and data to debunk that one. The issue isn't 'miles traveled', it is 'how much energy was used per pound of food delivered', and 'eat local' loses by .... miles (gallons of fuel per pound of food).


Some will say 'organic' tastes better. If that is the case, they are not tasting 'organic', they may be tasting produce that is fresher, and/or 'heritage' varieties produced for taste over shipping stability. But they would very, very, very likely taste the same if grown with commercial fertilizers and pesticides.

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Old 03-18-2014, 08:19 PM   #15
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My understanding is that organic foods are those built primarily from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, capable of being digested for net positive energy production and not particularly toxic to most of the local carbon based life forms.

Inorganic foods are best avoided in more than trace quantities by most of the local carbon based life, as they may provide little nutritional value, and may interfere with biological processes in some cases.
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:49 PM   #16
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Organic produce in the stores comes from organically certified farms.

I've been gardening organically for over 22 years. I'm still eating stuff in cold storage and frozen from last season. I buy very little produce in the stores and most of the time it is not organic unless it is on sale.

Organically grown food is more labor intensive to produce therefore it costs more, it is not mass produced the way it is on large farms. Organic farms are seldom more than 40 acres with 1/2 or less under cultivation. Non organic farms can be thousands of acres in size.

I don't see any difference in the taste between organic and non organic but I know my food isn't sprayed with chemical poisons and in season it is fresher than what is in the store.
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:12 PM   #17
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A lot of young parents and parents-to-be are taking great pains to eat and serve pesticide and hormone free to their families (yeah yeah I know, everything contains everything everywhere but maybe limiting additional chemicals could be a good thing. A google search on pediatricians and organic yields some thought provoking hits, like this one http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...utism/5494649/). I would do the same if I were starting a family. I would just pay for the extra costs with all the money we would save in not buying fancy audio or photo equipment.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:35 AM   #18
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I am far more concerned about how limited our food choices are than if it is organic. In breeding various fruits and veggies that transport and store well, we have lost certain things like flavor and nutrients, IMHO. Where does one buy purple carrots for example? (Yes, carrots used to be purplish!)

That said, even the most commercially developed fruits and veggies are light-years ahead of processed, factory foods such as chips, nutrition bars, and the various sugary garbage sold as snacks.

None of the above means I want the 'gubmint' dictating what foods we should eat.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:49 AM   #19
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I am far more concerned about how limited our food choices are than if it is organic. In breeding various fruits and veggies that transport and store well, we have lost certain things like flavor and nutrients, IMHO. Where does one buy purple carrots for example? (Yes, carrots used to be purplish!)
There may be some benefits to buying organic but from what I've read there is virtually no difference in the nutrient content in organic vs. conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:10 AM   #20
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...even the most commercially developed fruits and veggies are light-years ahead of processed, factory foods such as chips, nutrition bars, and the various sugary garbage sold as snacks...
+1

If more Americans recognize and follow this observation, we will be way ahead.
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