Why Organic?

That’s why I buy organic, cage-free, and all those other seemingly trendy labels.  The only one to watch out for is NATURAL, which is very different from USDA ORGANIC, mainly because anyone can say their product is NATURAL even when it is still full of chemicals.  A great example is natural flavoring.  That is just flavoring chemicals from a taste that occurs in nature, as opposed to an artificial flavor which is like the taste of root-beer.  They are both chemical flavor extracts.  Natural flavor does not mean there was actually an orange in that orange soda.


Neurosophy wrote, “The word ‘organic’ is stupid. I am fairly sure that none of my foods, no matter how distustingly processed and re-processed, contain silicon or rocks.

“That said, possessing a desire to not eat potential carcinogens seems reasonable. Organic—much as I purchase it—seems to me like the new “fat free”. Capitalizing on hype and missing an important distinction.”

“Certified Organic” is something of a term of the art. It does not mean that the food is organic (because…duh, obviously) so much as that the process used to grow the food complies with a set of standards in the way it is grown. Most of this has to do with pesticides and fertilizers.

There is really no evidence that I’m aware of that an organic apple is any safer than an well washed conventional apple. With something like banannas there probably aren’t any real health benefits since you’re not eating the skin. However, there should be a significant difference to the people picking the banannas. If the banannas are not sprayed with a whole lot of particularly nasty chemicals that cause birth defects and all sorts of other environmental problems. Run off from a lot of farming operations is a major source of water pollution (and because farms are not “point sources” they largely get around the clean water act). Organic meat and milk means, among other things, that the animals only get antibiotics when they’re actually sick, which cuts down on those antibiotic resistant bacteria. Additionally, the cows get a chance to get out more which means fewer confined feeding operations, more preserved farmland, and less animal waste running into people’s drinking water.

The organic label is about knowing who or what your food killed on the way to the table. If you want your conventional bananna—great, so long as you know that a number of unsavory things may have happened to bring you that bananna. If you’re willing to pay an extra dime a pound for your banannas, the organic label allows you to have a bit of confidence that you aren’t paying somebody to poison other people’s drinking water. The label is another bit of information you can use to understand the impact of your consumption habits.