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Is Organic Worth It? The Debate Continues ...

Ylan Mui

I posed the question of the value of buying organic last week after reading an article about the plight of organic dairy farmers, who have been stuck with excess inventory as demand for their higher-priced milk dropped when the recession hit.

Several of you wondered whether scientific research exists to show that organic food is really better for your health. I did a little digging and here's what I've found so far:

The Society of Chemical Industry published research by the University of Copenhagen that found no nutritional benefit to consuming organic food. Now, what is the Society of Chemical Industry? It is based in London and says it is an "impartial, independent" organization devoted to the intersection of science and business.

Meanwhile, the UK's Soil Association, an environmental charity, has compiled its own list of research that supports the argument that organic is more nutritious.

Trade publication Science Daily recently ran an article that interviewed a registered dietician who concludes that the existing research is, unfortunately, inconclusive. But the article does say that there may be other environmental benefits to buying organic.

What do you make of the dueling research? And what do you think about organic products that you don't consume, like clothing, bedding or even makeup and cleaning products? Are you willing to pay the premium?

By Ylan Mui  |  June 1, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Ylan Q. Mui  
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Comments

OK, it never occurred to me that organic food would be more nutritious. I would think that you'd look to organic food to avoid pesticides on fruits/veggies and grown hormones in milk and meat. Then again, most factory-farmed food is bred for longevity, and picked prior to ripening to account for the processing and travel time to get to my Safeway. If the organic food is local and picked when closer to ripe, it would make sense that it could have more nutritional value.

I bought organic milk when my kids were littler. But it's twice as much as the regular stuff -- and we go through about 3 gallons a week, so that got expensive quickly. I also don't buy a lot of organic food. But I do grow my own berries out back and use them for pies, jam, etc. Next year I hope to expand to some fruit trees (we need this summer to dig the trenches for the DIY irrigation system). But until those are in and grown, I'll continue our periodic visits to a local pick-your-own place (with a minimal pesticide usage policy) for a fresh fruit gorge. It may not be completely pesticide-free, but there's nothing tastier and more nutrient-dense than eating stuff the day you pick it.

Posted by: laura33 | June 1, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Organic may be more expensive but treating cancer is also expensive.

I would rather pay an extra 20 a week now instead of paying many thousands to treat cancer in 20 years.

Pesticides are chemical cousins to the nerve poisons used in World War I. You should avoid them.

Posted by: avraamjack | June 1, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

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