So Much for Organics

One of the biggest problems with certified organic food is that it costs so much money to get certified by the government that small farms that are organic can’t afford to do so, while larger farms that aren’t technically organic can do what’s necessary to secure certification. Certified organic signifies the use of synthetic pesticides, hormones, and additives weren’t used.

Now, an extensive study from Stanford raises another question about the value of organic produce. Namely, that organic produce and meat provide no additional health advantages, reports the New York Times.

Said Dr. Dena Bravata, the senior author of the paper: “When we began this project, we thought that there would likely be some findings that would support the superiority of organics over conventional food. I think we were definitely surprised.”

NPR notes that “organics is a $29 billion industry and still growing.” That means big, farming corporations have a vested interest in pushing the benefits of organics. After all, they can charge more for a similar apple.

So, the question becomes: what is the benefit to organics? Is it just corporate agriculture’s best marketing tool? Is it a word that has been co-opted past the point of any meaning? Does it still matter? And if you are a consumer how do you determine the best produce and meat to buy? We’re asking because we don’t really have an answer.

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