For those of us who prefer to go with facts over feelings when it comes to our food choices, we can save a few dollars at the grocery store. The Associated Press reports:
Patient after patient asked: Is eating organic food, which costs more, really better for me?
Unsure, Stanford University doctors dug through reams of research to find out — and concluded there’s little evidence that going organic is much healthier, citing only a few differences involving pesticides and antibiotics.
The pesticides that did show up were within the approved limits. (The article didn’t mention if the study looked at the pesticides that organic farmers use.) The only significant difference was that germs in non-organic meats were more likely to be antibiotic resistant, but “organic or not, the chances of bacterial contamination of food are the same.” In other words, wash your produce and don’t eat chicken tartare and save a few bucks.
The AP was still careful to give credit to those who go organic for “environmental concerns,” but failed to note if there is any support for that idea either.
The false panic over trace amounts of pesticides and the need to be “green” sounds more like sketch comedy fodder than reality. But despite the growing body of evidence to the contrary, it seems like the marketing of “organic = healthy” might be paying off.
Consumers can pay a lot more for some organic products but demand is rising: Organic foods accounted for $31.4 billion sales last year, according to a recent Obama administration report. That’s up from $3.6 billion in 1997.
Go ahead and buy some foodie-approved grub if you choose. But you’ll only feel healthier by shopping in the organic produce section—if only because your wallet is that much lighter.