Organic foods…are they worth the cost?

Kelsey found this article on USA Today earlier this week, and I thought it was definitely worth sharing. It discusses the findings of a study which evaluated the nutritional value of organic foods versus conventional foods. After an extensive review of literature (the researchers looked at 240 studies), they concluded that there was no nutritional difference in between the two. I have heard results similar to this before, and I have to say it does not surprise me. While I certainly believe chemicals can change the genetic makeup of a piece of fruit or vegetable (how many times does the conventional produce item look so much bigger and juicier than the organic?), I never really believed it altered the nutritional value. As Tim pointed out when we were discussing this, “an apple is an apple”. I think it would be difficult to grow a product in a manner that actually removed nutrients. So why do I (sometimes) pay extra for organic? It goes back to two factors:

1) My inner tree hugger. While I believe them when they tell me the chemicals found in and on fruits and veggies are below the limit where they would pose a threat (for the most part-see factor number 2), I do not believe they don’t cause harm to the environment. I think growing organically is better for the farms, rivers, lakes, animals, etc., and that I am willing to pay a little more for. This is not including a discussion of organic meat and eggs, which I am willing to pay quite a bit more for knowing the differences in how the animals are raised and fed.

2) I am not convinced there are not health risks associated with the cumulative effects of these chemicals and toxins. I can accept that they are not going to cause me to wake up tomorrow with an extra arm-although these days I feel like I could use one, but I digress-but I am not so sure that ingesting these chemicals over many years will not affect me down the road. Especially considering how much produce I eat on a daily basis.

Those are my thoughts on the topic. What do you all think? Do you buy organic? If so, what makes you consider it worth the extra cost? Does the release of this article change anyone’s opinion?

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