Skepticism and “Organic” foods

Skepticism and “Organic” foods September 11, 2012



Are “Organic” foods better for you? On the surface, it feels like one of those “everybody knows” or gut feeling type questions, that should be easy to answer. That we can just assume that those foods marked as “organic,” for having been grown with specific farming methods, are better than those sprayed with insecticides/herbicides.

But is it true?

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.


Skepticism and adherence to the scientific methods means we follow the data. In this study, the researchers found that there did not seem to be any specific benefit from eating “organic” foods over the non-organic variety.

Organic foods tend to cost more, so challenging the assumption that they provide benefits is important

Eating organic fruits and vegetables can lower exposure to pesticides – often a concern when feeding children – but the amount measured from conventionally grown produce was within safety limits, the researchers reported Monday.

Nor did the organic foods prove more nutritious.



However, it’s important to note a few things the study does NOT claim:

-That non-organic foods are better

-That pesticides have no risk; the data only suggests that the amount of pesticides on non-organic foods did not appear to pose any harm.


Is the higher cost of organic foods worth it? The study casts some doubt on that, suggesting it’s always a good idea to use skepticism on “what everybody knows.”


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