Organic vs Commercially Farmed Food
By Stephen Cox
A while back here in Australia there was a sudden storm of information in the media regarding studies into the differences, if any, between organic food and “regular” commercially farmed food.
At the time I was unaware, but later I was informed by my mother, who is a manager in a major supermarket chain here in Australia, that the release of the research findings and the media interest coincided with the major supermarkets testing consumers response to new organic products in their stores.
The results of the studies showed that there was no additional nutritional value in the more expensive organic produce. However, I have since learned that there are a number of rather underhand tricks so-called scientific studies in this area use to produce the results they want. For starters I would always advise caution regarding accepting the conclusions of any scientific study until you have ascertained some key information for yourself first.
The first question to ask is who paid for the research to be undertaken? Scientific research is big business and costly to undertake. Often the people paying the bills have vested interests and many things are open to manipulation so that desired results can be achieved. Imagine if your boss gave you hundreds of thousands of dollars for a project and you produced the exact opposite results he or she wanted. Chances are you wouldn’t have a job for long much less a successful career.
The second key point when it comes to accepting the findings of research is to ensure you take a close look at exactly what the process the researchers undertook to produce their results was. You will also want to take a look at the actual results pre the drawing of final conclusions by the researchers. I’m amazed at how often researchers make seemingly discontinuous leaps in their conclusions that do not appear to be supported by the results of their own study.
If all that seems a bit like too much effort then let me break down some of the things researchers have done to skew the results of their organic vs. commercially farmed produce studies. A number of years ago there were only a handful of organizations certifying organic producers. If you are going to pay for organic produce you need to ensure it is certified by an organization that requires stringent audits and at least a three year transition period during which only organic farming methods are used. This ensures any lingering residues from past farming practices are no longer present.
In the last couple of years organic certification bodies have sprung up all over the place. Some are little more then websites that require the farmer or company pay a fee before they then send out an organic certification. Such certifications are little more then a bad joke compared to legitimate organic certifiers who require rigorous on site audits and a transition period of three or more years before organic certification is awarded.
The end result is a situation where a large farming corporation or conglomerate of commercial farmers purchases a small test farm from some broke small time farmer. Then they buy a bogus organic certification for the farm, grow produce that by any decent standard isn’t organic and send that produce off to the researchers who are undertaking a study sponsored by that very same corporation. The results of the study are rather unsurprisingly that “organic” produce is no different to regular commercially farmed produce. In reality of course the results are completely bogus.
Other studies have made use of real organic food but transported it thousands of miles to research facilities at which time the quality of the food had degraded sufficiently for it to be declared no different to fresh food of the regular commercially farmed variety. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence could have predicted such an outcome given the facts.
In the second part of this article coming soon we will take a look at what factors actually do play a role in the nutritional and ultimate health value of your fruit, vegetables and animal products. We’ll examine some commercial farming practices and I’ll introduce what I feel is a very important idea – that for us to be healthy the food we eat, be it animal or vegetable, must itself also be healthy.
For more great articles by Stephen Cox you can visit BalancedExistence.com. Here are a few of my favorite must reads: “Juice Causes Diabetes”, “Are You Becoming Dumber?”, “How to Overcome Daily Fatigue and Tiredness”.