A study recently determined that organically-grown food doesn’t contain more nutrients than conventional food. Um… okaaaay… I don’t think I’ve ever seen any advocates of organic farming making that claim. I’m sure there are a few, but the major themes generally seem to be:

  • More sustainable in the long term (less negative impact on the environment).
  • Less unhealthy residue from pesticides, fertilizers, etc.
  • Better taste.

And, of course, none of these points were addressed by the study.  In short, it’s a classic straw man fallacy.  Sure, I’ve got problems with the terminology used by the organic food sector (foremost: overloading the term “organic”), but this is just missing the point.

(Hat tip to Katie for pointing this one out.)

7 thoughts on “Missing the Point of Organic Farming

  1. One powerful reason for eating organic food is not even mentioned in this story – and that is organic food does not contain the walloping pesticide load of conventionally grown produce. Consumer Reports reported a few years ago that one conventionally grown peach contained enough pesticides to be toxic to children, according to FDA guidelines. I’m with Consumer Reports on this one, nutrition or no.

  2. I agree completely! The researches who did this study should be embarrassed. I have never been concerned whether my non-organic apple has the the same nutrients as an organic apple. I have been concerned about whether traces of pesticides on the non-organic produce I eat is healthy… duh!

  3. I haven’t heard that claim either. What I definitely have heard is that heirloom vegetables are more nutritious than modern hybrids that were developed mostly for ease of shipping and handling. And since organic farmers are more likely to grow heirloom veggies, theirs would in that case be more nutritious than the varieties typically found in the grocery store. But probably a scientific study would have compared the same variety grown under different conditions, without taking this into account.

  4. Does anyone else notice that trace mineral quantity is not the sole determinant of nutrition? Antioxidants, vitamins, anyone? Mr blueberry not having to produce as many protective chemicals (which become the antioxiandts and vitamins for us) because it’s living “the good life” with pesticide protection?

    I can’t believe more people aren’t pointing this out on cnn.com’s comments box.

  5. I am also very annoyed with this article and don’t see the point of it. I have NEVER heard claims that organic foods are more nutritional, and no one I know who buys organic foods have told me that they believe they have more nutrients. What most people seem to think when they buy organic foods is that they are avoiding pesticides. Foods grown without pesticides are thought to be healthier because of the lack of those chemicals. That is certainly my reason for buying organic foods.

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