As I walked the few aisles of the Organic Food Show in Chicago last week looking for interesting new packaging, I again pondered one of the mysteries of the universe—why do people buy organic foods? It brings me back to the dim dark days when my kids were in elementary school, and one of the other parents constantly was beating on my wife to buy “healthy” foods. (They didn’t call them organic then.) The woman would make a special trip to Wisconsin to buy fertilized eggs and unpasteurized milk directly from a farmer. I never was comfortable with the idea of fertilized eggs. I always had the picture in my mind that I’d crack the egg and a baby chicken would fall out. But having spent years around the dairy industry, the thought of unpasteurized milk really set my teeth on edge. The U.S. government doesn’t require milk to be pasteurized for nothing!
Now, there’s a huge movement touting ORGANIC. Rather than give you my thoughts on the topic, I’d like to include some points on organic foods I found on the Mayo Clinic web site.
Nutrition. No conclusive evidence shows that organic food is more nutritious than is conventionally grown food. And the USDA—even though it certifies organic food—doesn’t claim that these products are safer or more nutritious.
Quality and Safety. Organic foods meet the same quality and safety standards as conventional foods.
Residues. Most experts agree that the amount of pesticides found on fruits and vegetables poses a very small health risk.
Cost: Most organic food costs more than conventional food products. Higher prices are due to more expensive farming practices, tighter government regulations and lower crop yields.
What really astounds me is the amount of money people are willing to spend for organic products—some cost twice as much as conventional products or even more. The whole thing brings to mind the famous quote attributed to P.T. Barnum: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Actually, he didn’t say that. It was said by his competitor. Here’s the story of how this quote came about.