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Do you buy organic food?

Moderators: Jenise, Robin Garr, David M. Bueker

Do you buy organic food?

Poll ended at Wed May 31, 2006 3:31 pm

Yes, religiously; I won't buy conventionally grown
0
No votes
Yes, I go out of my way to buy organic as often as possible
9
38%
Yes when I can, but I don't go out of my way for it
9
38%
Yes on produce, but I don't worry about meats
0
No votes
Sometimes, but I buy conventional if it's 'prettier'
3
13%
Rarely, because organic is rarely an option
3
13%
 
Total votes : 24
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Jenise

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Do you buy organic food?

by Jenise » Wed May 17, 2006 3:31 pm

Years ago we polled FLDG members about their preferences/uses for organic meat and produce. The majority point of view was that most of us bought the best looking produce be it conventional or organic, but most of us didn't have much organic available and we wouldn't go out of our way to get organic. Or to put it another way, convenience factored in heavily and organic was inconvenient.

I was one. But since then, the availability of organic has improved dramatically and cancer shattered my idyll. Now I must hedge our bets every way I can so I not only buy organic whenever possible, I go out of my way to find organic.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Robin Garr

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Re: Do you buy organic food?

by Robin Garr » Wed May 17, 2006 3:54 pm

My position is very much the same as yours, Jenise. I buy organic, mostly, to support the organic industry and because I think it's probably better for me.

If we define "organic" more broadly as the complex of foods under "organic - natural - free-range - hormone-free," then I'd say I get 100 percent of my meat, poultry and fish in that form and maybe 70 percent of my fruits and vegetables. That's based more on philosophy and ethics than health. I know I'm not going to be a vegetarian, but at least I can make a commitment not to buy animal products from factory farms. For fruits and veggies it's a little more iffy, because if I pay to buy produce from Whole Foods in particular, they offer both organic and conventional, and by and large, I trust them to do a reasonable job of vetting quality for both types and I feel reasonably satisfied that the conventional product won't be dripping with DDT. On the other hand, if organic and conventional are side by side, I'll pay a reasonable premiuim for organic for the reasons stated above.

On the other hand, I think I posted previously about a weird situation at Whole Foods with bananas: The "conventional" bananas are produced by an educational cooperative in Costa Rica that turns its proceeds back to scholarships. The "organic" are made by mega-corporate Dole. Which option is more ethical? Damfino!

In any case, organic is HOT in this blue-town-in-a-red-state. Whole Foods and Wild Oats are both big here, and even hypermarkets like Kroger's are catching on and offering a lot of organic product. We have local farmer's markets all over town in season, including a huge one on Saturday's that's a big social event; numerous quality small grocers that feature organic/locally grown meats and produce, and a couple of restaurant-industry providers that open to the public at least some hours. So lack of access is no excuse here. It really comes down to whether you care enough to pay a premium price. We've decided that we do.
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Ian Sutton

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Re: Do you buy organic food?

by Ian Sutton » Wed May 17, 2006 4:55 pm

It took us a while to find a decent local organic greengrocer, but as well as the one we eventually found, I was told this week that there's another good one in town :D
Our village bakery is also aimed at as much organic produce as possible, preferably local food as well.
I quite enjoy hunting out good food, but I will buy good tasty food whether it's organic or not. Strangely the mass produced supermarket rubbish tends not to taste that good...

Ian

p.s. a well thought out and worded poll (it make a change from someone criticising what's there or not!)
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Re: Do you buy organic food?

by Stuart Yaniger » Wed May 17, 2006 9:13 pm

I can't really find a choice that I would agree with (again). I'm just difficult.

I buy the best produce I can find. "Organic" is pretty much political goo-goo and doesn't enter into my decision-making. I just don't see any justification on health grounds, and no correlation one way or the other on quality.

"Pretty" is nice, but not essential. Flavor and freshness are everything to me.
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Re: Do you buy organic food?

by MichaelJ » Thu May 18, 2006 12:02 am

I buy organic as much as possible, but what is more important to me is to buy locally as much as possible. In most cases, this is organic, but if the choice is between something local (in season) and something with the "organic" label, I'll go with the local.

This includes both meat and produce. In the summer, my produce comes from a local CSA, and I get my meat from a butcher who is committed to sourcing locally. Pretty fortunate, if you ask me.
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Re: Do you buy organic food?

by Francesco » Thu May 18, 2006 2:45 am

I have not really seen much organic food in Belgium. So, I cannot say I buy organic.
It seems less widespread the "organic" label on the main part of Europe ... UK is a different story.
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Bob Henrick

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Re: Do you buy organic food?

by Bob Henrick » Thu May 18, 2006 9:44 pm

I agree with you Stuart. I don't go out of my way to NOT buy organic, but it had darn sure be visually better than the regular, or the regular is going into my basket. Like you I see "organic" as a political statement, or even a scam commited on the public at large. But we all know what a curmudgeon I am.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Do you buy organic food?

by Bill Spohn » Fri May 19, 2006 11:48 am

I'm a fellow curmudgeon - I go out of my way to avoid organic and buy that inorganic stuff presumably made from chemicals....wait - we are all made from chemicals, aren't we....

Organic is a buzzword used by retailers to make you buy lettuce with more holes in it for twice the price, or feel guilty for not caring for the planet, your children, and all other things good and beautiful, warm and cuddly, becuase YOU, you cheap bastard wouldn't shell out an extra buck.

Well hear this you flackmeisters of the advertising industry - you can fool the rest of these sheep, but your guilt line ain't working so well at Ch. Spohn, where we tend to eat whatever tastes best. 'Organic' or not.

And Jenise, your poll lacks a category for people like me/us. Image

PS - I hope I wasn't too wishy washy about that, but I'm sure you get my drift.
Last edited by Bill Spohn on Fri May 19, 2006 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bill Spencer

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Organic does NOT necessarily mean either healthier OR safer ...

by Bill Spencer » Fri May 19, 2006 12:39 pm

[quote="Bill Spohn"]I go out of my way to avoid organic ... and Jenise, your poll lacks a category for people like me/us. Image

%^)

A bit of info from a "conventional" farmer -

From Dennis T. Avery in American Outlook, Fall 1998 copyright by the Wall Street Journal ...

"Organic food ? No thanks !

According to recent data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people who eat organic and "natural" foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli bacteria (O157:H7). This new E. coli is attacking tens of thousands of people per year, all over the world. It is causing permanent liver and kidney damage in may of it's victims.

Consumers of organic foods are also more likely to be attacked by a relatively new, more virulent strain of the infamous salmonella bacteria. Salmonella was America's biggest foodborner death risk until the new E. coli O157 came along.

Organic food is more dangerous than conventionally grown produce because organic farmers use manure as the major source of fertilizer for their food crops. Animal manure is the biggest reservoir of these bacteria that are afflicting and killing so many people.

Organic farmers compound the contamination problem through their reluctance to use antimicrobial preservatives, chemical washes, pasteurization, or even chlorinated water to rid their products of dangerous bacteria. One organic grower summed up the community's attitudes as follows: "Pasteurization has only been around a hundred years or so; what do you think people did before that ?

The answer is simple. They died young."

And from Steven Milloy writing for FoxNews.com in a copywrited 2000 Fox News story ...

" ... The USDA just issued regualtions defining what foods may be labeled 'organic.' The regulations provide that fruits, vegetables and meat and dairy products may not be labeled as 'organic' of they are produced with the use of pesticides, irradiation, genetic engineering, growth hormones, or sewage sludge. Said Secreatry of Agriculture Dan Glickman in announcing the new rules, 'Let me clear about one thing. The organic label is a marketing tool. It is not a statement about food safety. Nor is 'organic' a value judgement about nutrition or quality.'

No data indicates legally applied pesticides have caused even one health problem despite more than 50 years of use on agricultural crops - a fact that has been acknowledged by leading pesticide critic Dr. Phil Landrigan of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

Organic foods cost an average of 57 percent more than conventional foods, according to Consumer Reports."

And in a presentation by Gregory Conko, Director of Food Safety Policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute in April 2002 ...

"According to cancer researcher Bruce Ames at the University of California at Berkley, 99.99 percent of all pesticides in the human diet occur naturally in plants. And, ounce for ounce, natural pesticides are a least as potent - if not more so - than synthetic ones.

Interestingly enough, plants that are grown organically tend to have even higher total levels of carcinogenic chemicals than plants grown with synthetic pesticides - because the plants produce more of their own chemicals when they're bitten by insects.

I'm not trying to scare you away from organic food. The point I'm trying to make is that the background rate of chemicals in both organic and conventional produce is so small as to be inconsequential."

Conventional American farmers raise the safest, most abundant food in the entire world. Having set on a Federal Advisory Committee that is overseeing the implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, I can tell you that our conventional food supply is the safest in the world. Kathleen and I buy American and ONLY American. No other farmer outside of the U.S. has to jump through the safety hoops that us U.S. farmers do. And we don't buy organic for the same reason - it REALLY is NOT as safe as conventionally grown !

Just my $0.02 ...

Clink !

%^)
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Bob Ross

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Re: Do you buy organic food?

by Bob Ross » Fri May 19, 2006 1:39 pm

I buy organic selectively, primarily to avoid pesticides and also to support local producers who grow orgainics. I also grow a fair number of organic vegetables myself.

CU has a useful list of various products that are best organic to avoid pesticides:

Apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries. It is often difficult to remove pesticides from these foods.

We prefer organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy, especially poultry, eggs and dairy to avoid the contaminants that appear in the animal's feed. It is really important to know the supplier, though -- quality can trump organics.

We buy solely on quality, with strong preference for local producers, for asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples, and sweet peas. Pesticides are rarely used and easily avoided or washed off if they are present. (The whole organic/banana gestalt is very confusing to me.)

"Organic" seafood -- under current regulations, this is a meaningless label. It may change in the future, but for the moment anyone can stick an organic label on the fish so long as they don't use the USDA or certified labels.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Do you buy organic food?

by bgbarcus » Fri May 19, 2006 4:10 pm

Of the responses thus far I seem to sit somewhere between Stuart and Robin. Organic produce around here tends to be ridiculously expensive, poor quality or both. Given equal quality and comparable price I will lean in favor of organic under the assumption that it is more likely to be produced under benign conditions. The e. coli issue doesn't worry me because I always assume all produce is filthy and everything gets thoroughly washed so what I buy is no more likely to harm me than what I grew up eating out of the our family garden (fertilized with manure).

Much more important to me is to support local producers, humane practices (e.g., free range poultry) and general good citizenship in the companies that get my money. One example is coffee where I always look for the the fair trade logo.
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Re: Organic does NOT necessarily mean either healthier OR safer ...

by Bob Henrick » Fri May 19, 2006 4:22 pm

Hey Bill! I am going to change my name to Bill, because you two Bills are smarter than the average. I agree whole heartedly with whay both of you wrote. The $$ I save not buyin organic foods in a years time will buy me several tanks full of $3 gasoline for my Suv/Pickup.
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Re: Organic does NOT necessarily mean either healthier OR safer ...

by Bill Spohn » Fri May 19, 2006 5:47 pm

Bob Henrick wrote: you two Bills are smarter than the average.The $$ I save not buyin organic foods in a years time will buy me several tanks full of $3 gasoline for my Suv/Pickup.


Yes, (ahem), 'double billing' is an acquired skill....

And we are paying around $6 a gallon for premium here, which even after deducting for your limp currency (15%) and miniature gallons is still about 40% higher Image
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Re: Organic does NOT necessarily mean either healthier OR safer ...

by Bob Henrick » Fri May 19, 2006 6:10 pm

Hey Bill, America, the middle portion is NOT used to this $3 gasoline, and does NOT want to get used to it. I would not be too surprised if we hit $5 by Christmas. About that double billing though....aren't you a lawyer? :-)
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Re: Organic does NOT necessarily mean either healthier OR safer ...

by Bill Spohn » Fri May 19, 2006 6:14 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:Hey Bill, America, the middle portion is NOT used to this $3 gasoline, and does NOT want to get used to it. I would not be too surprised if we hit $5 by Christmas. About that double billing though....aren't you a lawyer? :-)


Sir - do you accuse me of committing barristry?? :oops:

And I think absurdly high gas prices are here to stay - in both countries, although yours will probably remain lower than ours.

Makes me want to float a loan whenever I take the old Lambo in for a tank up of super hi-test!
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Re: Organic does NOT necessarily mean either healthier OR safer ...

by Stuart Yaniger » Sat May 20, 2006 2:05 pm

You guys said it better than I did- local and fresh is number one. I like to support our artisinal growers. Some believe in voodoo, some don't, but if they grow great stuff, I buy it.
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Re: Organic does NOT necessarily mean either healthier OR safer ...

by Bob Ross » Sat May 20, 2006 2:11 pm

Stuart, scientific opinion, please. Are the concerns about pesticides valid? Over wrought?

(I'm referring specifically to CU's conclusions outlined up above.)

Regards, Bob
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Jenise

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Re: Do you buy organic food?

by Jenise » Sat May 20, 2006 3:56 pm

Bob Ross wrote:I buy organic selectively, primarily to avoid pesticides and also to support local producers who grow organics....We prefer organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy, especially poultry, eggs and dairy to avoid the contaminants that appear in the animal's feed. It is really important to know the supplier, though -- quality can trump organics....We buy solely on quality, with strong preference for local producers


Bob, you expressed my feelings perfectly. My objective is to get as close replicating the untampered-with quality we would have if we grew everything we ate ourselves.

And Bill Spencer--regarding the Fox news reporter, I would love to run that statement by the very person he quotes. I have a feeling that statement's a gross oversimplification of the kind that ends up implying the opposite of what he actually stated.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Organic does NOT necessarily mean either healthier OR safer ...

by Stuart Yaniger » Sat May 20, 2006 7:47 pm

Bob, I haven't read it and it's outside my area of professional competence.

My general rule is that if CU is involved, take it with large boulders of salt.
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Re: Organic does NOT necessarily mean either healthier OR safer ...

by Bob Ross » Sat May 20, 2006 8:52 pm

Thanks Stuart. Will do. :-)

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