Or is it?
Green Daily has a very interesting recent post covering this very idea.
Some of the main points are:
* Organic milk requires as much as 80% more land use than conventional. This has the potential to raise global warming and release more nitrates into groundwater.
* Organic farms use more fuel per vegetable because each acre has a smaller yield than conventional farming.
* There is no correlation between pesticides and rising cancer rates. In fact, cancer rates are falling.
* There is no conclusive evidence that organic food is healthier. As soon as one study comes out claiming it is, another one is released rebutting it.
Of course, each of these is subject to contradiction. And doubt.
The Daily Green post is based on a recent article by Ronald Bailey, (which in turn is based on an article in the Independent), who admits in the lead up that, while he buys organic produce, he is “strongly against over-hyped sustainability and nutritional claims for organic foods.”
In other words, he is aiming to debunk much of what we - organic consumers - base our choices on. These aren’t hard to dispute: the jury has long been out on benefits of organic foods. While most studies find that eliminating pesticides is a positive, the other side of the coin is less clear.
As #4 of his “Myths”, Pesticide levels in conventional food are dangerous, Bailey lifts right from the Independent article:
The proponents of organic food – particularly celebrities, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, who have jumped on the organic bandwagon – say there is a “cocktail effect” of pesticides. Some point to an “epidemic of cancer”. In fact, there is no epidemic of cancer. When age-standardised, cancer rates are falling dramatically and have been doing so for 50 years.
This is all given with no further attribution, facts or evidence. What is the source for information? The U. S. National Cancer Institute, for one, has been accused of manipulating their cancer statistics. What is the likelihood that other countries have government agencies that likewise provide less than true information?
To be clear: the Independent is UK-based. So when information such as this is quoted:
Less than 1 per cent of the food sold in Britain is organic
consider that other non-attributed details in the article are likely to be UK-focused. Which makes me wonder if a US-based viewpoint would read the same.
The real question: will any of this information dissuade you from buying organic?
Or are you worried that those that are uninformed might decide to stick with conventionally-produced foods, causing that market to stabilize?
Or do you feel that this article won’t affect the organic market either way?