Is Organic Produce More Nutritious Than Conventional Produce?

September 7, 2012   63 Comments

It is with great trepidation that I address the subject of “organic produce” on this site. Last time I wrote about it, there was a lot of controversy.

Organic versus Conventional Produce

I am not a fan of controversy when it gets ugly - so I will ask you all to remain respectful of each other and me.

Stanford University scientists worked for four years with 237 studies comparing the nutritional benefit of organic versus conventional produce. Guess what they found?

They concluded that fruits and vegetables labeled organic were no more nutritious than their conventional counterparts. I found this result to be surprising as did the study authors. I thought that the use of organic fertilizer versus chemical fertilizer would have led to more nutrients in the food that the soil produced.

There was a study done in Washington state that found that organic strawberries contained more vitamin C than conventional ones. I wonder if lumping all the studies together for all the produce and meat may have just missed out on the benefits or organic for certain foods.

For example, I cannot imagine that the local organic corn that I buy could be comparable to the factory farms in Iowa that use large amounts of petroleum based fertilizer. I can tell you one thing - I have noticed that organic produce tastes better than conventional produce.

What I know for sure is that the Stanford result depresses me. I want organic produce to be the Superman of produce that will save the world from pesticides AND poor nutrition. If it had gone the other way, we could rise up and demand all of our food be organic and maybe the price would come down.

On the other hand, every day I make choices based on my budget about what foods I can buy. I did my own study about how much organic produce would cost me here: The Price of Organic. I found that my produce bill would be TWICE what it would have cost me if I just bought conventional produce.

My point has always been that the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.

Do I want pesticides in my food? Of course not. But I’m not going to stop filling my shopping cart with fruits and veggies because I can’t afford organic produce.

I get e-mails from readers who feel guilty about not being able to buy organic produce. You know, I think you should be proud that you are buying produce!

Do you ever look at the shopping carts around the store? I do this and am always blown away by how little produce people are buying. Sometimes, I want to wear my cape to the store and just shake these people.

For some of you, the path to healthy does mean buying organic. For others, the journey is just about putting down the Snickers bar and picking up the apple.

Just keep picking up the apple and don’t let “organic” overwhelm you.

Please share your thoughts on organic versus conventional produce.

Other posts you might like:


How Important Is It To Buy Organic?

Snack Girl finally watched "Food, Inc." - and it made her think. She immediately wanted to go out and buy all her food at Whole Foods (where almost all of the produce is organic)....


Eat Your Fruit and Veg, Don't Avoid the "Dirty Dozen"

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out a list every year to help guide shoppers on which produce to buy. Their "Dirty Dozen" is a list of produce that contains pesticide residues....

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I to always look at different peoples shopping carts and am just amazed at what people have. A bunch of 2 liters of pop, chips, cookies, ice crea. It makes me feel pretty good about my cart filled with greek yogurt, veggies and fruit :)

The main reason I buy organic is to protect my family and farm workers from the unknown effects of chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. I know this is a privilege and I experience it as a responsibility. I think the actual level of nutrition is more related to how long the food has been off the plant which is just one reason that the "buy local" movement is so important.

My family buys a mixture of conventional and organic produce and proteins. One of the main reasons we buy organic produce is for the quality/taste. Whether I buy conventional or organic, I always make sure I wash my produce with bio-kleen produce wash. You'd be amazed at how much dirt comes off food you think you rinsed well!

Following the Environmental Working Group's suggestions (, I:

Go with organics for the "Dirty Dozen" (always buy organic): apple, bell pepper, celery, cherry, grapes, nectarine, peach, pear, potato, raspberry, spinach, strawberry.

And go conventional for the "Clean Sixteen" (low-pesticide foods): asparagus, avocado, banana, broccoli, cabbage, corn, eggplant, kiwi, mango, onion, papaya, peas, pineapple, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon.

This study has a LOT of holes!! Cancer, MS, allergies etc from chemical-foods are nothing to sneeze at. This study did not look at anything other than vitamin content. I'd highly wonder who funded this study? Monsanto-the biggest cause of cancer in the US, banned in every other country but the US due to their frankenstein-foods they produce (GMO) and chemicals they develop? The pesticide companies? Follow the money trail. There's trillions of dollars wrapped up in factory-farming and the chemicals/'foods' they make-this is allowed to influence a lot. Organic, or rather 'food' (our foods grown without harmful chemicals should just be called food, and chemical-sprayed/fed produced foods should have the different name. Anyway, organic foods will always, always be MUCH better for all of us, ESP children. They will have better taste, won't contribute to cancers or other diseases and yes-will have significantly higher percentages of NATURALLY occurring vitamins and minerals. That's the key word-naturally occurring. This study is hugely flawed, just wait until its methodology and financial backers are exposed.

My fitness journey started a little over 2 years ago and I agree that shifting from processed foods to whole foods has made a huge difference for my health. The next natural step was to move towards buying organic. I do purchase organic when it is available at a reasonable cost. One thing that I have done to add nutrition into my family's diet is to supplement with a healthy shake that gets it nutrients from whole foods. This has definitely made a difference in our energy levels and overall health. Here's a link where you can do more research on this product.

I was also surprised by that study which really tells you the similarities In what you're getting in each. The differences are important. Re fruit and veggies you are not getting pesticides and genetic modification. Re meat-you're not getting steroids and antibiotics which, personally, I think is a key to the national obesity "crisis" considering how popular and inexpensive " fast food" has become. CSAs ( community-supported agriculture) or "local" have become very popular. The produce is not only fresher, but it provides a certain amount of immunity to the human system being raised and exposed to the same flora and fauna of the area. Local Honey in particular is desirable. Thanks for bringing up the topic.

I try to buy organic because of all the e coli and salmonella that is going around, but I buy what looks best and I always buy local from the Farmers Market! Plus I have my CSA boxe which is organic and my own vegetable garden. Sheesh, I like my produce.

I think you make some great points; produce over processed wins hands down. Like others, I buy both organic and non, just as long as I avoid packaged crap. Another benefit to organic and local is supporting the smaller businesses and farmers instead of Big Company X. Great post!

As a working mom of a kindergartner, and someone who is trying to move more, this whole conversation is overwhelming. I appreciate organic and try to focus my money and energy into buying some key products that are organic (milk, meat) but honestly, I feel like super mom if I can get something on the table that doesn't come from a box. I have taken to canning so I can give my daughter her favorite food without opening a bunch of cans (BPA lined cans) but beyond that is just too hard to balance. I love living close to the Amish community. Without them, I'd be serving lower quality food to my family.

Nutrition issues are not complete addressed by this study, in my view (I had previously read of it from other sources). In many cases, if one wants a product without certain ingredients, choosing organic can be the solution; sometimes the only solution. Ketchup without high fructose corn syrup, I have found no brand the meets this criterion save Heinz Organic. Want to avoid GMO soybeans, the only way you can do that is buying organic because the industry spends millions upon millions of dollars a year lobbying to avoid being required to label this ingredient. The jury may be out on GMO, but U.S. industries have proven themselves perfectly willing to sell products that cause cancer, cars that explode when struck from behind, and pills that increase the chance of heart attack, long after learning of the risks involved. We have to take care of ourselves--caveat emptor, the economist battle cry--and one way is to buy organic foodstuffs. At least with organic, you know what standards the producer had to meet.

I spent a good part of yesterday reading about this report and the timing of it as well. Smart shoppers know the difference between organic and conventional produce. Its never been just the nutritional content, its always been what isn't in the organic which makes it better for growing children and us adults. There are scads of ideas for buying and preserving organic/local produce when plentiful and on sale. When not available why not go without? If we eat seasonally plus what we freeze, we can eat economically too. Its very empowering to meet this food challenge and vote with our grocery dollars every week. I do not trust the timing of this report with California's prop 37 coming up and Monsanto and their ilk already spending over 25 million to oppose it; this is propaganda to confuse voters.

I still don't believe it and here's why: they didn't see a difference in what they were looking for. That doesn't mean that there is no harm in all those chemicals or irradiated or GMO (genetically modified) foods.

Cancer? Autism? Were they looking for those things? And also, in all studies, it would be hard to REALLY test well because you'd need people who ate organic diets only vs. those with chemically treated foods. Good luck doing that!

There are SO many chemicals in our world today. You can't tell me this isn't impacting our health. This one article wants us to think it's okay to let Monsanto do what ever it wants. "Go back to sleep, everyone. Everything is fine. Keep eating those chemicals. They are perfectly safe."

I don't want to sound negative and I am not an alarmist. I am just frustrated that it's hard to buy food without chemicals, food that isn't GMO (because most super market food is now GMO in the United STates. It's banned in Europe!)

I am done ranting.

hi lisa

i buy meat eggs milk organic ,i feel it is a better source. but fruit and veg. i dont i wash everything very well with a solution sold in the grocery stores .

Don't assume that b/c you see someone with a cart of junk-- that that's all they ever buy. I do buy above my fair amount of chocolate covered almonds, ice cream and potato chips. But on my big shopping day (once a month) I do buy organic strawberries (or local if not organic), organic apples, and other fruits and vegetables (not necessarily organic) like cabbage and collard greens, beans, etc...

I agree with the overall theme of your message: it's the pesticides I think about on certain foods (i.e., recent report/article tauting the 10 [or was it 20?] fruits and vegetables you should by organic... I think these were at the top of the list:apples, strawberries, blueberries, spinich and lettuce.

I maintain that if something isn't healthy for the world, it isn't healthy for me either. I live in an area where I can't get everything organic, but what I can, I do. It is a myth that organic necessarily means more expensive. If you go to farmer's markets, you can often pay far less than supermarket prices for locally grown, fresh, organic produce. CSAs or farm share agreements can save you even more.

Best of all, grow your own! Gardening is a fun and productive activity, and there's no better way to know where your food came from. And "I don't have time" is not a very good excuse - I planted and grew a garden while studying for the bar. After the initial startup, which was a couple of hours of work, it took me ten minutes a day to maintain.

We too buy organic as much as possible because of CHEMICALS! I never questioned what had more nutrients, just that I wanted my family to have the least amount of chemicals in their bodies. We eat the at little as possible of pre packaged foods.

@ Martin Trader Joes organic Ketchup is HFCS free

@ Jennifer trader Joes also has BPA free canned items, but not all of them. you have to google it tells you what cans are and not

also do some research on the USDA organic foods, they lowered the standards of the requirements so they could get their mitts on the money!

I end up buying as much of my veggies and fruits from our local farmer market's or from my own garden - I also buy my meat - from a local butcher - this may run a bit more than going to a super store :) - but I feel better about supporting my local community...

I can't afford to buy organic all the time but organic has allowed me to eat fruits I haven't been able to touch in years. I've had allergic reactions to certain fruits and discovered I was allergic to the pesticides on the fruits that were still there no matter how much I washed them. I almost cried when I discovered I could eat an organic peach without having a reaction (I LOVE peaches!). Nothing feels better. I've had the most success buying local from farmers who use organic practices but are not necessarily certified organic. In the end, I agree with Snackgirl, eat more fruits and veggies and buy what you can afford.

What i want to know is where is the study proving that eating PESTICIDE-LADEN food is good for you?! Why is the burden of proof on organic food? it defies common sense.

@Peggy No amount of washing is going to remove the chemicals in fruits and veggies where you eat the whole fruit. ie: strawberries, peppers, apples. If you are going to remove the outer skins in things like avacadoes, bananas and onions then you can greatly reduce the risk of eating harmful pesticides and chemicals.

I stick to the Dirty Dozen list myself. What hurts my budget more than anything are peppers. I love red peppers but in my part of the world organic peppers are more than twice the price of their counterparts. I've ended up eating a lot less pepper. It's very frustrating when I'm trying to feed three people on $350 a month!

My response is to Jennie McKenna -- your response states perfectly why I buy organic and local whenever possible. We have a greater responsibility than just our personal stomach or table.

I would prefer to buy organic when I can because I feel that the pesticides can be harmful to my health over time and also because supposedly if it says organic there are not genetically altered materials in it. Unfortunately, I have trouble finding fresh organic fruits and veggies. We don't have a large health food store in our area. I try to pick the organic produce in Walmart but often the organic produce there is rotting on the rack. I do buy a lot of my produce from a local farm though, but they don't have everything I need and they are not open year round, so I end up mixing organic and non-organic for now. I like the idea of buying organic for the dirty dozen and of using produce when in season as some posters mentioned above.

I think that through blogs like yours that people are becoming more educated on the importance of consuming a variety of fruits and veggies. I know your blog has had a huge impact on me and the choice I made recently to become Vegan. I'm thinking that over time there will be more of a demand for the healthiest fruits and veggies that are not contaminated with pesticides or altered genetically. The big business will pick up on that demand and organic will become more available and less costly. I also think that the more people buy, over time the less it will cost. But we shall see.

Thanks for the info.


I'm not surprised that organic is not more nutritious. I would have never considered it would be. The reason I buy organic when I do is to avoid un-known/unseen chemicals on my food. I don't eat prepackaged or processed foods because I want to be in control of what goes into my body, which is why my cart at the super market is brimming with fruits and veg. However, I want them to be chemical free! A study like this should have focused on the presence of chemicals in/on food, organic vs. conventional. That study would have been more profound.

Thanks for a balanced article on this topic, SnackGirl! Yes, organic is better, although maybe not as much better as we thought, but nonorganic fruits and veggies are better than processed food.

BTW, if you looked at my grocery cart you probably wouldn't see any produce because I get it last, right before I check out. :)

For me it's never been about nutrition, but always about taste. Organic simply tastes better. Call me crazy, but I don't like the taste of bug spray and antibiotics...

Now without doing all of the research to back this up, from what I understand the experiment was working in ranges of nutrients - This would be similar to the ranges the doctor uses when he or she tells you your 'iron levels are within the accepted range'. Now the problem with this is that the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need are in such tiny amounts that the minuscule differences they found between organic and non organic (and therefore concluded to be null) are actually substantial to our cells and therefore overall health.

And of course as most of the ladies above have commented, they forgot to look at the detrimental effects of the pesticides (and who knows what else) sprayed on our food. Our body has to work extra hard to detox the heavy metal causing additives, and therefore depletes our existing vitamins and other nutrients doing so.

AKA.. Organic is still better :)

I too was somewhat perplexed with the study data. I will contine to buy all leafy veggies, fruit, milk and chicken from the organic section. Since making a switch to a low carb lifestyle I rarely have any coupons for "good foods". In the long run hopefully I will not be paying medical expenses for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart related expenses. We all have limited resoures, for me it is an issue of when and what I choose to pay. I happily shop store perimeters and rarely see the inside isles. I do order a lot of items (no kelp noodles, pb2, almond flour etc) as it is not market available locally.

I don't know anyone who was buying organic because they thought it was more nutritious in the first place. The original article was just a ploy to trick people and make them think they've been wasting their money.

I buy organic because I don't want hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, or GMOs in my food. I buy organic because I want the farmers and ranchers to work in a safe, chemical-free environment. I buy organic because often that means supporting small, local farms.

Also, organic soil IS healthier. Take away the chemicals, and yes, it's going to be healthier. I have a hard time believing that as a result the plant wouldn't be healthier, too.

I struggle with that choice as well. I don't think as much about taste as I do lack of pesticides. Buying local definitely affects the taste just due to the freshness factor (and because I love supporting local farms just so I can look at them! BUT if you want to avoid those pesticides, there are some foods that organic matters more than others. Here is a link I googled about the most important foods to make organic in your diet.…

Like others I choose organic when I can, focusing on the dirty dozen, to avoid pesticides and GMOs. Farmers markets are generally cheaper but not everyone has access. For a lot of us money is a very real issue. When you're not working and you have people to feed then buy the cheaper produce. Yes, I know it has pesticides but if it's that or not having it I say buy it. It's still better than packaged foods or McD's dollar menu.

When it comes to food shopping, I do the best I can and shop within a fairly tight budget. I don't buy a lot of canned or boxed foods. At supermarkets, I tend to shop the perimeter of the store, venturing down the aisles for only a few necessities -- oatmeal, brown rice, fair trade coffee, spices, oils, and vinegars. Butter, cheese, and milk come from a local dairy farmer. Produce comes from my garden or local farmstands and, in the cold months, the greenhouse at the community college. Seafood comes from a fishmonger in town and poultry from a farm about half an hour from here. Beef is certified grass-fed by the butcher on Main Street and we are lucky enough to have a bison farm in the county. We don't drink soda. Most of our snacks are homemade. I don't stress about the organic label preferring to shop locally and sustainably.

The health benefits of NOT consuming a life time of pesticides and hormones/antibiotics (meats) is the reason to buy organic. It is cost prohibitive in the store. I TRY to get to farmers markets when I can and local natural food stores will often have local ranic options tat can help the wallet. I'm not perfect, many items in my fridge right now aren't organic. There s a list I've seen with fruits and veggies that are best to eat organic because of the pesticide concentration. I can't remember them ll but strawberries and apples were at te top of the list.

Thanks for the organic vs. conventional. I always never knew which was best, and mentally felt guilty when I bought a pesticide ridden apple. But I think fruit that isn't protected by an outer layer like bananas or oranges are more at risk. Anyways, I pictured you in the cape doing healthy good for the rest of the world... And I vote you do it and blog it!

This is a very controversial study, and it's such a shame that in our world we should have to QUESTION EVERYTHING. But who sponsored this study? That is the first thing that interests me. Is the study being funded by a large gmo company like Monsanto? Likely. The fact is pesticides are harmful. Organic produce, according to this study contains overall AT LEAST 30% fewer pestisides and you mean to tell me the findings say "no significant significant difference?" 30% is huge. Not to mention this number is likely larger than reported. Monsanto wants to poison all of us with their garbage, and a little research on them will prove to anyone they are a bad company. In addition the way things are worded make a difference: "no significant nutritional difference"....or to be real, this product ia filled with pesticides to harm you and your family, but hey the NUTRITION is the same. BS. Monsanto's goal is to have the proposition defeated in the November ballot to force GMO foods to be labeled. Interesting time for this "information" to be released.

Look, the reality is, don't believe everything people want you to believe. There is almost always an agenda. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize fruits and vegetables with less or no chemicals will be better for our bodies and especially our growing children. It is all I will give my 4 year old, and the extra price is hard, bit worth it.

Good point of view, but remember to always look at the authors of these types of studies, and ask what's in it for them. Check out this article:…

I am not strickly organic. At this point, I am trying to increase the fruits and veg and that is the goal. I do not like the idea of the pesticide laden food and honestly THAT is the main reason I desire organic food. I do struggle with the non-shelf life of such foods. I realize that I'm part of a generation that grew up on packaged food and how "nice" I found that. Part of the process. I'm getting there!

The first thing I wondered was who paid for that study?

Yea, maybe organics don't wallop conventional produce nutrional-value wise but it's what about all the pesticides and other chemicals that are used for conventional and GMO produce? Surely organic is a lot healthier then! And you don't have to buy EVERYTHING organic - someone posted the dirty dozen list - that's a good place to start.

Umm...ouch on the Iowa slam. :-(

The research being drawn from is not new research. It is simply a compilation – a meta-analysis – of other studies. This means the researchers created a process for analysis that tried to compile a large number of studies into a neat and tidy conclusion. The problem was, the broad swath of research all but allowed for a neat and tidy conclusion.

The meta-analysis was broad. It reviewed 17 human studies and 223 laboratory studies – a huge number that in itself increases the chance of error as an analysis method is configured and applied. A cohesive result from any meta-analysis requires that confounding factors be eliminated – which can skew the results and even eliminate solid research data.

While some meta-analyses can be quite easy to compile and very accurate, the Stanford four-year long review required limitations to data scope and the elimination of confounding variables in order to develop computable formulae.

Furthermore, the researchers' conclusion was not that there was not any difference between nutrient levels of conventional and organic foods. Their conclusion was that: "All estimates of differences in nutrient and contaminant levels in foods were highly heterogeneous."

"Heterogeneous" means the various study data were not uniform enough to make an accurate conclusion. Because a meta-analysis requires uniform results so that a composite may be calculated, heterogeneity means a true meta-analysis could not be made.

Scientifically, the study, while a bit "holey", makes sense. The nutrient content of organic vs. non-organic is probably the same or similar. Fine. I get that. But what the study doesn't say is how much other crap we're getting in our non-organic stuff - pesticides, fertilizers and other synthetic chemicals. And what the effect of consuming that junk has on our systems, long-term. That's probably an entirely different study and I think that's needs to be kept in mind here. They just don't know and there are a lot of companies that have a powerful interest in not finding out. I just always think it's ironic that we pay more for organic stuff, even though it has "less" junk in it. It should be the other way around. Maybe that's the starting point for the revolution.

PS - I think you did a great job of being sensitive and diplomatic with this post. Well done.

Just wanted to add, that if you look at our grocery cart in regular chain grocery store, you'd not see much produce in our cart. You'll probably see milk, crackers, cereal, etc. That's because we make separate trips to farmer's market for all our produce. You can just assume people buy everything at one store.

Great post! I also try to buy organic when I can but sometimes it's hard to find or too costly. So you just do the best you can...conventional fruit is till a better snack than a candy bar or fruit roll up by any means. I also try to buy from local farms because it supports local business and is fresher often with less pesticides used than the big company commercial farms.

I'd like to see them do a study on local food vs. non-organic food that's been shipped 500-1000+ miles. Or even local organic vs. local non-organic. The issue of vitamins is really one of freshness.

As far as organics go, I used to be super-militant about buying only organic produce all the time, but I ended up literally running out of money. And I was getting stupid, like my son would ask for grapes, but they didn't have organic, so I told him he couldn't have grapes. I've moved toward definitely buying organic for stuff you can't peel and "dirty dozen" foods whenever available, but I'm not going to tell my kids they can't have grapes or strawberries anymore if they aren't organic. One exception for this is milk and dairy - many of the chemicals used in factory dairy are fat-soluble, so any milk product with fat in it needs to be organic, imo.

I think we should all do as much as we can, because as another poster said, if something isn't good for the earth, it isn't good for me. And while there might be debate over how much vitamin C is in an organic vs. non-organic piece of fruit, there's no doubt that corporate agribusiness and their "farming" methods are devastating to the soil, air, and water. If I could afford to never leave the organic aisle, I definitely wouldn't. We vote with our dollars.

Thank you for this post I am one of the people you spoke of who often felt guilty about not being able to afford to buy organic fruits and vegtables. I do however fel that I can tell the difffrence regarding taste between organic and convetional fruits and veggies the rganic often tastes better to me.

Ive recently switched to buying as much organic as I can afford, but my biggest reason was to avoid GMO's!! I just can't afford organic produce all the time but I only buy organic cereal and granola bars because of all the awful chemicals in the normal brands, including HFCS and BHT's . My kids love it when I do get organic fruit for their lunch because it tastes better! This study missed the point entirely, for me buying organic had nothing to do with vitamins but instead not feeding my family GMO's and pesticides and growth hormones and whatever other evil things lurk in conventional food

I buy organic for what's on it, not in it. Or more specifically, what's NOT on it, ie pesticides and other chemicals. I'd rather rather not wait 20 years before the FDA admits they were wrong about what constitutes "safe levels" of toxins. I think we're mot too far away from a generation will be shocked and appalled at the garbage we as a nation are allowed and encouraged to ingest and to feed our kids.

I just hope this survey doesn't result in "Aha! See, we told you organics was all BS! Love, Big Ag" and the rest of America turning away from organics because "I heard it wasn't actually better for you."


I don't buy fast food, junk food, packaged food, processed food or nutrition-less food. So with all that savings, why not avoid the possible poisons and just buy organic. I prefer the farmer's markets where possible, but in the winter, I buy organic at COSTCO, which is surprisingly good on ingredients even in their packaged stuff. I make green smoothies every day for breakfast and lunch, so I consume a LOT of organic greens. Thanks for the discussion. Love your blog.

This study isn't worth an ounce of salt. Firstly, how old was the produce(both organic and non-organic)? It has been proven that the longer produce sits the more the nutritional value is lost. Secondly, I agree with an earlier post that said follow the money trail. Monsanto is an evil company that is only interested in making money at whatever cost. Factory farming IS NOT real farming, there is no reason why everyone everywhere can't grow their own produce....even a little. Living in the city does not making having a small garden impossible, either on your balcony, roof top or community garden. Aw well, buying local is key and that is why farmers markets are so important. At the market you get to speak to the person who grew the produce and ask questions, which will allow you to make an informed decision. As far as I'm concerned, anything with GMO's in it or that have been sprayed with toxic pesticides or fertilizers should have warning labels. Living in Canada, I make it a point to buy local as much as I can, then organic from the grocery store and if I'm in a jam I'll buy the non-organic produce as long as it comes from Canada. We have become, as a species, so disconnected from everything and everyone-including our food. Just as Micheal Pollan states " everything you buy is a vote" and Dr. Terry Whals sums it up well when she says " you'll either pay for it now in organic healthy produce or you'll pay for it later in medical bills, prescriptions or care facilities". What you need to ask yourself is this: What do you want your vote to say and how do you want to pay for it?


"Dr. Terry Whals sums it up well when she says 'you'll either pay for it now in organic healthy produce or you'll pay for it later in medical bills, prescriptions or care facilities'"

Beautiful quote! Thanks!

i try and buy things organic in cases where im most likely to eat the skin, otherwise imagine what sprays youre digesting, even if u wash it!


I'm confused by this:

"I found that my produce bill would be TWICE what it would have cost me if I just bought conventional produce."

You mean that where you live, organic is actually cheaper? You are blessed. Out here in CA I find it really expensive.

The question I want answered by honest scientific research, which I have yet to see in a study, "is organic produce SAFER than conventional produce?" As an oncology nurse, it is extremely important to me that I feed my children/fam with foods that are SAFE and nutritious. I am concered with the fertlizer/pestside exposure over a lifetime what effects this has in our bodies on a cellular level. I am on a very tight budget so I buy organic as often as possible, but like you I wold rather buy conventional over boxed or processed foods.

September 8, 2012

Snack Girl,

I appreciate your moderation in taking this up.

The raging controversy about food in this country makes it hard for me to eat almost anything, and then I fall back into ice cream snacks or something.

The science is so inadequate here. I know I have read one obsessed journalist who claims with some support from what appears to be science that pesticides don't primarily cause cancers and other diseases but that factors like High Fructose Corn Syrup have transformed what we actually eat — I notice Fuhrman now points out that if your hamburger was a cow constantly fed junk food, pretzels etc swept off the floor of the factory, it isn't actually MEAT, it's junk food — into an indeterminate substance the body is not prepared to digest.

Which over the years destroys our health.

Since in our barbaric country we do not distinguish frankenfood from real produce, it is not clear, just to BEGIN with, what was being MEASURED in these studies, to what extent they involved FOOD at ALL.

Much of what now passes for scientific studies is propaganda manufactured by the vulture corporations intent on feeding us what profits THEM, not what is actually food for us.

We read skimpy sensational summaries and cannot study the research method, the design, whether the whole thing was absurd from beginning to end.

Many industries DESIGN experiments to succeed or fail, like proving saccharine cases cancer. My mother snorted and asked who paid for the study? I peered into the article and finally found it: the Sugar industry.

18 years later a retraction appeared on about page 78 of the same paper, saying that you would have to eat TRUCKFULLS of saccharine to keep up with the poor rats destroyed by big sugar to slime sweet'n'low.

As long as our country is like the earlier forms of organized crime but even worse, shameless and with the conscience of addicts and drunks, we can't believe anything our whore broadcast and print media report.

Thanks for broaching this discussion.

And thanks to the poster of the dirty dozen and the clean sixteen.

Talk about ignorant armies clash by night!

This country seems too far gone to recover, to me, becqause the rich have so much power and so many would rather murder their fellow citizens that stop makiing out with the shoes of the obscenely rich, and it’s so much easier to obstruct and destroy than to build. But since it's become so evil, at least at the top where the vampires of the hundredth of one percent drink the blood of the poor and vulnerable and scream for more, that's probably really good.

But very dangerous.

A country unable and unwilling to guarantee that what is fed their citizens is actual food, is kind of sunk already.

God help us.

We lack the understanding and sense of entitlement to demand this from the lunatic powers that be.

Thank you again for taking this dismaying issue up with us.


I've often heard that "organic" produce is placed in the middle of regular produce sprayed with pesticides to keep the bugs off. The percentage for it to actually be labeled 'organic' is very low. Until I see actual studies showing me that organic is sooo much healthier I will continue buying regular US produce for my large family.

I always wondered about produce labeled "organic" and whether or not it was cultivated "organically". Does the "organic" producer of fruits and vegetables get regular visits from the agency that gave them the ability to tag their produce with an "organic" label? How do we the consumer know if what we are buying is truly "organic"?

While I agree that pesticides are horrible for you and organic is the health fad right now and rightfully so....I am a bit insulted by the "factory farms in Iowa" comment. I am married to an Iowa farmer (at least 4th generation farmer at that), and at no point in time have they EVER used pesticides on sweet corn. No one does. (Note: sweet corn is the corn eaten directly out of the field. Field corn is the corn sold to be made into other corn-based products.)Do they use pesticides on field corn? Yes they do. But guess what? The organic farmers are hiring illegal workers to 'weed' their fields because without a herbicide of some sort, that is what it comes down to. Someone, in this case illegal workers, has to get rid of the weeds in order for the organic corn (or other crop) to grow and produce properly. Personally I have a problem with that practice. Farmers are also yielding 70% more crop with the same amount of pesticide/herbicide that they were using 50 years ago. I will say it again, I have nothing against organic and I understand it is healthier because of no chemicals used in production. However, those of us who are actually producing non-organic crops on a family-owned multi-generational farm in Iowa where the profit margin is often minimal while supporting a family of 5 don't exactly appreciate being stereotyped as "factory farms". Please do not lump all types of farms in one category and make it sound like all non-organic farmers are out to kill the general population who cannot afford to or choose not to buy all organic foods.

Another interesting take on the pesticide debate:…. This is one farmworkers experience with pesticides; it appeared in the Toronto Star in Canada just this past weekend. His experience may be extreme since he was dealing with the pesticides directly, but he has turned things around with his organic lifestyle now.

It is completely logical that the nuthritional content is similar between organic and non - the plants extract the needed nutrients, regardless of the source. The problem with non-organic is the stuff you don't want - unnecessary chemicals, hormones, etc. Is organic more nutritious? obviously not. better for you? I think so, especially concerning produce that retains the chemicals (dirty dozen/clean 16 mentioned above).

Hello people wake up! I mean no disrespect but if you do some more research you will also find that these "Scientist" who did these studies where paid SEVERAL MILLIONS of dollars as well as Stanford given Millions from GMO Monsanto. Of course they are going to say that there is no difference because they are the one's supplying the poisons that they make a killing off of. Not only do they get paid for their products but they also get paid from big pharmaceutical companies who need the chemicals so people get sick and keep their evil business' alive and strong. I must say that I am deeply disappointed with this article and the lack of research on your part.

like many of you I couldn't believe in the Stanford study. Here's an interesting article that probably explains the real story...

Agricultural giant Cargill and others behind anti-organic 'Stanford Study'

Learn more:…

Well, as soon as I heard the study my first thought was, "ok, who is trying to pay who off so they can reap the monetary benefits of folks to buy more conventional since can't yet get government to lower standards on certified organic!" I still don't believe them but I do agree produce is more important and one should not be ashamed to buy it.

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