Organic is one of the more volatile words in the improved eating spectrum. Those who praise organic love finding the word whenever they shop for food. Those who scorn people who want better quality food especially turn their noses away from organic labels.
The reality, of course, lies somewhere where farmers practice organic but can't afford to be official to fruits that benefit from being organic while others don't have as much benefit.
This person was a bit more freaked out when the person accidentally bought organic bananas. When I read this blog post, I knew I needed to go through the argument to give information to this person and others to help them understand better what organic means on grocery store shelves and farmers markets.
The original text is in regular type; my response is in bold.
- I don't buy organic because I live in America and have so many choices for safe, wholesome and cheap food. I don't think that our food production system is perfect, but it's pretty darn good! I believe in the system that provides us with these choices, so I choose to support conventional production when possible. One of those choices is organic but not for her. Her bullet point would be true 45 years ago. The push for organic isn't as much about pesticides but working toward having food taste like it did 45 years ago with more nutrition than we get now.
- I don't buy organic because I know many farmers and producers personally and know that they care about the environment that our food is produced in. They have to be careful with everything that they are stewards for, from the air to the soil, water and produce. A lot of farmers that she knows may be practicing organic strategy but can't afford to certify organic. So even if the labels aren't there, she might be buying organic. Since she buys conventional production when possible, chances are she isn't buying from these farmers.
- I don't buy organic because I know what pesticides are and they do what they say — control pests! Our government sets standards and controls for the use of pesticides in food production and the levels that are safe for even the youngest humans to consume! My dad is a farmer and he had to take a strenuous licensing exam in order to utilize pesticides on his farm.The person who advises him on pesticide decisions had to take about 10 of those exams. Organic growers control pests in other ways. They don't involve pesticides. Funny how many people in this group don't trust the government on a lot of issues, but they trust the FDA and USDA to do the right thing. Paranoia is sometimes justified but her paranoia needs a 180.
- I don't buy organic because I understand the science behind it. When I see a recall or new labeling on food products I commonly purchase, I check it out from a reliable and scientific source. When dairy products boast they are produced from cows not treated with rBST, I know that BST is a naturally occurring protein hormone utilized in dairy production to increase milk production in cows so that more milk can be produced from the same number of cows. I also know that it's kind of sad that producers can't utilize this technology that helps keep milk prices lower for consumers because consumers demanded that it not be used anymore. I doubt many of the people who demanded that change in the industry knew that BST is species specific and does not change the hormone levels or affect growth in humans because it is a bovine hormone. She starts out talking about rBST and spends the rest of the time talking about BST because she understands the science (sarcasm). Her primary concern is about price since organic costs more. It's okay to not buy organic based on price, but you are getting a better product.
- I don't buy organic because I don't believe it is fair marketing. When people think organic they are thinking of small farms on the side of the road that are environmentally conscious and what not, right? A lot of organic produce is grown on huge corporate farms just like the conventional counterpart. When pests threaten to take over the crop, it is just transferred over to conventional practices and loses organic labeling rights. So it's basically the same thing, only pricier at times, so I don't choose to support it. Given the steps in the process to have the right to be labeled "organic," the organic products have earned that label. Some organic food is grown on larger farms but still being grown organic, so size of the farm doesn't matter. As to farms jumping easily back and forth between organic, given the steps in the process, skipping easily back and forth doesn't happen easily. Whatever she might think about organic, they aren't "basically the same thing."
This person knows farmers personally — her dad is one of them — but she seeks out conventional production when possible. If you personally knew a farmer, wouldn't you trust their food?
She applies how her friends farm to large-scale farms that don't care as much about the environment (e.g., runoff from farms) yet those farmers aren't likely to be the problem.
Her concerns are organic being more expensive are a fair point, though the product is often better quality with higher nutrition, especially dairy and meat products). Few people fall into exclusively organic, even if they get a lot of the press. Most shoppers who buy some products that are organic buy many more that aren't. This doesn't factor the number of farm products that are being raised organic but can't afford to certify.
Organic is still in the sharp minority of food products consumed in the United States but she sees organic as practicing biased marketing.