December 4, 2022
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The costs and benefits of eating organic

If you follow eco news at all you will have been bombarded recently by the publication of an extensive study on the pros and cons of “organic” foods.

The study, conducted by researchers from Stanford University, aggregated over 200 previous examinations of foods and their effect on humans. In the end, the team determined that:

“The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

That sounds about right, doesn’t it? I mean, no one expects organic foods to be more nutritious do they?

Apparently, people do. Several media outlets reported the new study as a blow to organic food lovers everywhere.

The New York Times ran with the headline “Stanford Scientists Cast Doubt on the Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce.”

Meanwhile, Businessweek went with “Organic Foods Add No Vitamins for Extra Cost.”

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like the important conclusion that the Stanford researchers came to was the second one. While the organics might not be more nutritious, they do use fewer pesticides in produce and growth hormones in meat. 

This means less dangerous conditions for field workers, healthier livestock and less emphasis on mass food production.

Is that worth the extra cost? That’s up to the consumer to decide.