Front Yard Veggies

You can’t grow everything you eat, but you can eat everything you grow…

organic oreos – still bad for you – but better for farmers!

I was alerted to the existence of these:

by this post at the internet food association.  It raises, especially in the comments the entire issue of the “paradox” of organic junk food.

Michael Pollan has discussed this at length as well, using hypothetical “organic Coke” as an example.  He concludes that there will be positives and negatives. Likewise, I think that at one level, organic oreos are great! A ll those wheat and corn fields that will no longer have nitrogen and pesticide runoff really do translate into improvements for farmworkers and ecosystems. They will still be unhealthy as ever except perhaps the absence of some barely detectable levels of residual pesticides.  And they are still bad for your health.  However, it’s not as though organic Oreos are going to spark a sudden increase in the amount of junk food eaten.

I think the problem is that ultimately organic is a word that we think means “wholesome and good for the consumer”, when in reality it is a word that refers to a relatively dry list of technical regulations about how various foods must be grown. These regs have some implications for health of consumers, but in reality they have much more to do with the impacts of agriculture on those who do the growing.

Healthy eating really is largely a distinct issue from sustainable agriculture.  People who care about the latter almost certainly care about the former, but the reverse is much less true.  A lot of confusion comes from that relationship.


1 Comment»

  Organic Trade wrote @

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on organic foods. As you point out, it is important to consider the nutritional value of the foods you eat. Whether you are looking for produce or processed foods, organic is a great place to start as you seek to diversify and enrich your diet.

It is also important to recognize that not all processed foods are created equal. Federally regulated organic standards require that organic foods are produced without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and genetic engineering. Organic standards also mandate that organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food. Additionally, because certified organic growers and handlers are not only inspected by third-party independent certifiers in order to qualify for organic certification, but also follow strict guidelines for safe and hygienic food production, they offer consumers products in which they can trust.

For these and many other reasons, including a wide range of personal health benefits and the environmental benefits you outline in your post, buying organic is worth it.

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