May 18, 2010


I've been sitting on the fence on the whole organic movement for a while now. I have nothing against those who go totally organic, but here's what's been holding me back:
  • It's expensive. You can buy 4 lbs of beautiful, huge, sweet strawberries at Costco right now for $5. Four pounds of the pesticide free costs $15.96.
  • It's not as abundant. The selection is small.
  • It often doesn't taste as good. When Costco switched to organic frozen corn our entire family lamented it for a year, because it simply was not as good.
  • I worry about the bacteria that slip through the organic cracks. The e. coli outbreak a few years ago (in which 3 people died and 31 developed kidney failure) was traced to organic spinach.
  • I am a prospective, double-blind, randomized controlled trial kind of girl. Give me some data. I don't want anecdotes, I don't want someones crazy blog or quack book. I want data telling me that going organic is worth the above mentioned hassle. And until recently, data has been seriously lacking.
Which brings me to my change of heart. This week a study was published in Pediatrics (the gold standard for pediatric literature) showing an association between the level of organophosphates in children's urine and the risk of ADHD. It wasn't a perfect study, and did not show causation (it wasn't prospective) but I think it is valid and makes some good points. (You can read more about it here or on my work blog).

Obviously, more research needs to be done, but my guess is that it is going to tell us that pesticides aren't good for us. So...I am begrudgingly becoming a Whole Foods kind of girl.



Jessica said...

We try our hardest to go organic. A while back we went ALL organic. It's hard in a small town where this trend has not "hit" yet. So we do what we can when we can. I hope it helps some how.

Alissa said...

So Jess...what do you do about potatoes?

Thayer said...

gotta shop the least UT costcos sell organic produce

Amelia Hohl said...

justin here: i totally agree with your comments, as we talked about in NZ. deep down inside i don't think it really matters that much, but it makes you feel healthier or safer somehow. the thing that bugs me is when people are strictly organic and refuse nonorganic food or bring their own food to your house when you invite them over . . . that's extreme. that being said, we just signed up for an organic CSA so we'll be eating 20 lbs of local veggies each week that are organic and grown within 45 min of our house. maybe we should look for funding to conduct a prospective study . . .

Jessica said...

To quote my Dad Al "It hasn't killed us yet."

Jane said...

I'm a little bit on the fence about organic food, too. I've started trying to prioritize which things are worth it to me to buy organic and which aren't. (Like the whole business about some produce absorbing higher amounts of pesticides than others like those with thick skins, etc.)

I tend to be more of an idealist when it comes to food, but my husband is skeptical of any scientific claim lacking solid evidence, so I will definitely check out this article...thanks for posting it!