Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:35 am

Some uses for nanoparticles in food are indicated in the link below. Illustration is not to scale - I added a link below this one to better represent the 50 nanometer size particles in the study.

"Healthy foods are considered as the major objective of the international community over the next 10 years.
The nanoparticles are used to deliver vitamins or other nutrients in foods and beverages without affecting taste or appearance. These nanoparticles offer protection many nutrients that cab be destroyed in the stomach by degradation, which allows an effective delivery of nutrients to the body." http://www.bionanoplus.com/english/sist ... ulares.htm

http://www.cellsalive.com/howbig.htm

Nanoparticles are going to play a big part in extending human lifetimes way off of the current scale and that is coming right up so if one wants to last way on into the future, one needs to start by taking good care of one's self now. The last thing that is needed, is to create new health problems on the nanotech scale in the rush to commercialization of the budding technology. Consumer caution is prudent in these early stages of nanotech, particularly in regard to generalized food additives.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:56 am

ForestDweller wrote:Some brand names - Fluoresbrite® yellow-green and plain polystyrene, carboxylated and non-ionized 50 nm. These study particles were acquired from Polysciences, Inc. (Warrington, Pennsylvania). They also got particles from Sigma Aldrich (St. Louis, MO), PerkinElmer (Wellesley, MA), and others. They all have links but without a chemist or industry insider the info is tough to interpret.

Right, I saw that too. I didn't see anywhere that they are labelled as food additives.

ForestDweller wrote:Non-food additive particles are used in chewing gum, cheese, as coating on raw fruits & vegetables, as a defoamer in food (& assumedly, defoaming in commercial food processing). Non-food additive particles are also used as flavor and as color additive.

What do you mean by "particle"? Which of the ingredients contained within the links you've provided are nano-particles?

I see plenty of waxes, polymers, gum bases, and other fun chemicals. But these are merely compounds. Which of them are specifically nano-particles?
ForestDweller wrote:I expect that they are also used anywhere else that commercial food processing finds them handy, though from a regulatory perspective this is STRICTLY CONTROLLED with such RESPONSIBILITY-COMPELLING, SELF-LIMITING terminology as "in an amount not to exceed good manufacturing practice".

Links divulging specific use of polystyrene nanoparticles in brand formulations of specific processed foods, I have not located - these formulations likely being protected by "trade secret".

Perhaps. And perhaps invisible pink unicorns live in your butt. Without evidence supporting the claim it's kind of pointless to discuss either one.
ForestDweller wrote:Some links, just to get us on the road of acceptance as to non-food additives being in food in the first place. There's plenty more out there though, and more food types, vitamins for instance, and then there's cosmetics.

Who here doesn't accept that there are additives in our food? Strawman?

ForestDweller wrote:Plastic - get it on the food!
http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/21/172/260

Yup, they often coat our fruits and veggies with waxes and such. Note however that the food items listed all have their own natural shell or skin which is discarded before consumption. Should we really consider these compounds as additives that go IN our food?

ForestDweller wrote:Chewing gum base
http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/21/172/615

Are any of the bases listed in nano-particle form? I didn't see polystyrene on the list.

ForestDweller wrote:Synthetic flavorings
http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/21/172/515

Were any of the compounds listed used in the study you're citing? No? Are any of them nano-particles?

ForestDweller wrote:Pizza - for best flavor, cook until wax is melted.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/21/172/230

Again, no nano-particles and no polystyrene.

ForestDweller wrote:I think that there is enough here to suggest that there's plastic in the food. The non-organic food, that is.

When did we get off on this topic? Who was questioning whether or not there are synthetic polymers in our foodstuffs? Oh right, no one.

ForestDweller wrote:I hope that we can now accept that I am not trying to deceive the hive mind of the skeptic collective.

Are you still claiming that nano-particles of polystyrene are a food additive?

ForestDweller wrote:[...]it is an illustration as to just how little we know about what is in the foods that we commonly eat, or what goes on behind the scenes before it gets to us.

I know, right?!? Some crazy people think food makers put nano-particulate polystyrene in our food.
ForestDweller wrote:In terms of risk management though, one can avoid the question entirely by eating organic.

Well, not entirely. You'd also have to ensure your organic food never touches polystyrene or some other plastic containers or packaging before you get it.
ForestDweller wrote:A potential risk avoided, reduces a potential risk, to a defined non-issue. I should think a skeptic could accept that.

Eh? No, I don't understand. Why would I get freaked out or alter my behavior because a study that used a compound I'm not likely to find in my food? Skeptics require evidence. You've not provided any that show organics are any better for my health.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:01 am

ForestDweller wrote:Some uses for nanoparticles in food are indicated in the link below. Illustration is not to scale - I added a link below this one to better represent the 50 nanometer size particles in the study.

"Healthy foods are considered as the major objective of the international community over the next 10 years.
The nanoparticles are used to deliver vitamins or other nutrients in foods and beverages without affecting taste or appearance. These nanoparticles offer protection many nutrients that cab be destroyed in the stomach by degradation, which allows an effective delivery of nutrients to the body." http://www.bionanoplus.com/english/sist ... ulares.htm

http://www.cellsalive.com/howbig.htm

Nanoparticles are going to play a big part in extending human lifetimes way off of the current scale and that is coming right up so if one wants to last way on into the future, one needs to start by taking good care of one's self now. The last thing that is needed, is to create new health problems on the nanotech scale in the rush to commercialization of the budding technology. Consumer caution is prudent in these early stages of nanotech, particularly in regard to generalized food additives.

The first link is to research being done to develop nano-particles as a vector to deliver various compounds. The second has some nice pictures.

I note a distinct lack of evidence showing nano-particle polystyrene as a food additive.

So we're still back at square one. The study you presented says nothing about the relative safety of organic vs non-organic food no matter how much you'd like it to.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:13 am

Answering your q's Blacksamwell, am I certain, never, and though it's the study supporting my "hypothesis," I do not see a practical difference in this instance between the article referencing the study & the abstract of the study in your link.

I can't quote a passage from your link to the abstract, if that's what you mean. I can review the study tomorrow and see if I can improve my answer to this one.

Your presumption, if I understand correctly, is that these researchers were using particles that might not be food additive-related. My assertion is that the very particles that they used, were chosen because they are food additive-related, and also, this seems to be the spin that Cornell has put on it.

Their study is not as to whether or not the nanoparticles are food additive-related, so it is not surprising that you did not find this specifically in the abstract of the study. If you have read the whole study, then you already know more about it than I do. It should be easy enough to validate that the researchers believe the nanoparticles they tested, to be common food additives. That is my working understanding, if I learn otherwise I'll post it.

I inferred your presumption that this stuff isn't added to food, from your post #33.

In regard to "acute" vs "chronic" yes they published research on a couple of tangents there, but as to whether either of these relative concentrations would realistically occur in a body, that is out of my field to comment on. It is compelling research to myself as a layperson in this area. I suppose it would be better if it were a field test on a vast number of human subjects but it is not and I do not mean to suggest that it is conclusive. I do regard it as what it is - yet another bit of compelling evidence in support of organic food as the better choice.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:03 am

Blacksamwell wrote:I note a distinct lack of evidence showing nano-particle polystyrene as a food additive.

So we're still back at square one. The study you presented says nothing about the relative safety of organic vs non-organic food no matter how much you'd like it to.


The article that I presented, referenced a study. Have you read that study, or just the abstract? It suggests that iron absorption of cells can be negatively affected by nanoparticles in lab tests. Your entire criticism of this research as it pertains to food and health, seems to hinge on whether the researchers tested with known food additives, or with something else. Apart from the necessary cherry-picking apart this or that line of text. Have I got it about right?

So, you're saying that the Cornell University reporter's premise paragraph in the Cornell Chronicle, of this basically Cornell research, is flat out, bold-faced lying when it states to the world that:

"Billions of engineered nanoparticles in foods and pharmaceuticals are ingested by humans daily, and new Cornell research warns they may be more harmful to health than previously thought."

So, back in your world, where this is not actually happening, engineered nanoparticles in foods and pharmaceuticals are NOT ingested - therefore, this research is not valid. Okay that is square 1, I'll give you that.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby fromthehills » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:45 am

FD, If you haven't seen this , no, seriously this time. It doesn't address this entire argument, but I think it is apropos to the conversation, and may persuade you to lo look into this a little more. Or, it's just cool, and something to think about.

When we talk about "Organic" foods, we are talking about those of us that have the luxury to choose. In reality, the majority of the world doesn't have the choice. If you want "Organic", fine, that's your decision. My wife buys it, I don't.

The thing is, it has been a very well sold concept. To show an example, off topic, I quit recycling. When someone asks me " Where's your recycling?" I say that I don't recycle, except for metal. The horror that they express is priceless. It has become a dogma. With "organic", and maybe it's a local thing, it renders the same reaction in people when I say I don't think I need to buy "organic".

Skeptics are correct in demanding evidence that shows "organic" to be superior to "conventional" or even genetically engineered foods. But, please, watch the TED video. It's not evidence, but it does explain things better than I can.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:52 am

fromthehills wrote:FD, If you haven't seen this , no, seriously this time. It doesn't address this entire argument, but I think it is apropos to the conversation, and may persuade you to lo look into this a little more. Or, it's just cool, and something to think about.

When we talk about "Organic" foods, we are talking about those of us that have the luxury to choose. In reality, the majority of the world doesn't have the choice. If you want "Organic", fine, that's your decision. My wife buys it, I don't.

The thing is, it has been a very well sold concept. To show an example, off topic, I quit recycling. When someone asks me " Where's your recycling?" I say that I don't recycle, except for metal. The horror that they express is priceless. It has become a dogma. With "organic", and maybe it's a local thing, it renders the same reaction in people when I say I don't think I need to buy "organic".

Skeptics are correct in demanding evidence that shows "organic" to be superior to "conventional" or even genetically engineered foods. But, please, watch the TED video. It's not evidence, but it does explain things better than I can.


I glanced at the link you dropped. Sam Harris' name came up, so there must be an element of sanity to it.

I don't disagree on any particular point that you state here. Well, the question isn't whether populations get the opportunity to choose or not; it's whether organic is the better food choice. It is readily evident which is the better food choice when there is no choice. I recycle, as it is convenient. I am aware that there is no functional biological difference between two similar, well let's just call them "organic" seeds, for clarity; one grown conventionally and one grown organic. That is not a factor in my reasoning that organic is better than non-organic, in the first place. I know that unregulated marketing hype abounds. Not relevant.

I made some points here and there earlier in the thread that explain the various logic that sums toward the perspective that organic food is a better food choice than non-organic. Simple statement, but not a simple conclusion. That is not the point that I started out with either, but I'm willing to argue it. There are factors to consider, and there is risk to manage, in making decisions about food. It is not a gut feeling that I have, or a "non-science" argument; It may be pedestrian or simplistic but it is not unfounded or completely ignorant.

Everybody who can, makes up their own mind, skeptic or not. It comes down to the individual, or so it should. So conventional skeptic dogma pisses on the idea of "organic food is better." Or maybe the skeptic talking heads do. Clearly then, they did not look at the same data set that I did, in their having come to that conclusion. I don't really give a {!#%@} that they have glommed on to an ultimately wrong conclusion, if they have. I'll re-evaluate, after viewing the link. But I have to say, I'm a skeptical person. We will see if they slip of the logic wagon and into the common mire.

AFter looking a bit I've learned that most widely advertised nanoparticles are found in currently in vitamins, but there are food and drink products as well. I was not able to find anything with the specific particles mentioned in the research. That is note-able. Perhaps the article's 1st paragraph was sensationalized fiction - I doubt, it but it would be enough of a laugh if so to find that to be true, that it's worth looking a bit further.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:49 pm

ForestDweller wrote:Answering your q's Blacksamwell, am I certain, never, and though it's the study supporting my "hypothesis," I do not see a practical difference in this instance between the article referencing the study & the abstract of the study in your link.

Oops... I linked to the complete study paper. However, I have access via my association with the University of Missouri. Sorry, I didn't realize we weren't looking at the same complete document. I have the PDF copy of you'd like me to send it to you.

I've already pointed out the practical difference. The researchers never claim that the compound they are studying is a food additive whereas the article about the study makes that implication. I wouldn't expect you to simply take my word for it, but I am surprised that you didn't bother to verify this before posting the article and making claims about how it supports your position.
ForestDweller wrote:I can't quote a passage from your link to the abstract, if that's what you mean. I can review the study tomorrow and see if I can improve my answer to this one.

Yes, that's what I mean. The full study paper is available as a PDF through my university library and I used the text search tools to quickly determine that the researchers never make any statements about food additives.
ForestDweller wrote:Your presumption, if I understand correctly, is that these researchers were using particles that might not be food additive-related. My assertion is that the very particles that they used, were chosen because they are food additive-related, and also, this seems to be the spin that Cornell has put on it.

Having read the study paper, my assertions are not assumptions. I've already quoted to you the researcher's stated reasons for using the compounds they did.

Having not read the study paper, your assertions do appear to be assumptions.
ForestDweller wrote:Their study is not as to whether or not the nanoparticles are food additive-related, so it is not surprising that you did not find this specifically in the abstract of the study. If you have read the whole study, then you already know more about it than I do. It should be easy enough to validate that the researchers believe the nanoparticles they tested, to be common food additives. That is my working understanding, if I learn otherwise I'll post it.

If you need me to send you the PDF just let me know via PM.
ForestDweller wrote:In regard to "acute" vs "chronic" yes they published research on a couple of tangents there, but as to whether either of these relative concentrations would realistically occur in a body, that is out of my field to comment on.

That's not stopped you from making other claims that appear to be beyond your area of expertise. Why stop with this one?

I expected that if the polystyrene nano-particles were actual food additives that we'd be able to find sources on the web that show what foods they are added to and in what concentrations we'd expect to see them. No advanced degree is needed, just some effort to find readily available evidence. Since neither of us have found any such evidence, we're stuck and must conclude that we have no evidence that said particles are used in food. Therefore making the claim that the article demonstrates that organic food is better than non-organic food is also without evidence to support it.
ForestDweller wrote:It is compelling research to myself as a layperson in this area. I suppose it would be better if it were a field test on a vast number of human subjects but it is not and I do not mean to suggest that it is conclusive. I do regard it as what it is - yet another bit of compelling evidence in support of organic food as the better choice.

Well, I believe you'd be wrong on that point.

If the polystyrene substance they used were actually used or found in food, then I'd agree with you. But since there's no evidence of that being true, the study has no bearing on the organic vs non-organic question. As far as we can tell, the researchers chose a substance that is neither in organic NOR non-organic foods.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:24 pm

Here's some pertinent quotes from the Mahler study paper...
It is estimated that the average person in a developed country
consumes between 1012 and 1014 man-made fine (diameter,
0.1–1 mm) to ultrafine (diameter, ,100 nm) particles every day8.
These dietary particles are mainly TiO2, silicates and aluminosilicates
derived from food additives such as stabilizers and anticaking
agents8. Because most of these micro- and nanoparticles have negatively
charged surfaces, they can bind to biomolecules in the gut
lumen, absorb across the gastrointestinal tract and accumulate at
the base of Peyer’s patches, where a large concentration of M cells
are found8.

Note that the particles that the researchers say ARE in our foods are not polystyrene.
The goal of this work was to investigate the effects of oral
exposure to nanoparticles on the absorption of iron. Using a physiologically
realistic in vitro model of the intestinal epithelium and
in vivo chicken intestinal loop model, we showed that acute exposure
to 50 nm polystyrene carboxylated nanoparticles can inhibit iron
transport. In chronically exposed chickens, the 50 nm carboxylated
particles caused a remodelling of the intestinal villi to increase the
surface area available for iron absorption. We chose iron absorption
as a subject because iron is an example of an essential nutrient that is
transported across the intestinal epithelium by means of complex,
highly regulated, protein-assisted vesicular and non-vesicular mechanisms15.
The polystyrene nanoparticles used in this study (particle
characterization shown in Table 1) were chosen as a model particle
to demonstrate that our in vitro and in vivo experimental systems
can be used for evaluating the subtle effects of nanoparticle
consumption.
(Emphasis added.)

So I think it is clear that the polystyrene particle was not chosen because it is added to food. They selected it as a model to use for showing that their techniques work. One would have to make the assumption that the polystyrene particles have the exact same effect as particles that are found in food before concluding that this study directly evidences that organic food is less dangerous than non-organic food. This may or may not be the case. The next step would be to repeat their work using particles that are used in foods.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:48 pm

Blacksamwell wrote:
ForestDweller wrote:It is compelling research to myself as a layperson in this area. I suppose it would be better if it were a field test on a vast number of human subjects but it is not and I do not mean to suggest that it is conclusive. I do regard it as what it is - yet another bit of compelling evidence in support of organic food as the better choice.

Well, I believe you'd be wrong on that point.

If the polystyrene substance they used were actually used or found in food, then I'd agree with you. But since there's no evidence of that being true, the study has no bearing on the organic vs non-organic question. As far as we can tell, the researchers chose a substance that is neither in organic NOR non-organic foods.


You are right, there is no evidence that these polystyrene nanoparticles are used in food. My suspicion that they were, is unfounded by evidence. As to your stating that the study has no bearing on the organic vs. non-organic question, I disagree. I found time to review the full article (at one point I got an abstract from a link you posted, at another point I got the full article. Not sure what happened there, I was probably on the wrong link or not not the right network).

We can agree that there are non-food nanoparticles included in food as additives, right? The researchers testing was focused on the size rather than the material of the particles, which was not readily evident in the abstract, and as you stated the polystyrene nanoparticles were used to be representative of other particles that can potentially find their way into humans.

Quoting from the full study:

"It is estimated that the average person in a developed country consumes between 1012 and 1014 man-made fine (diameter, 0.1–1 mm) to ultrafine (diameter, ,100 nm) particles every day8. These dietary particles are mainly TiO2, silicates and aluminosili- cates derived from food additives such as stabilizers and anticaking agents8"

Now I see where the "billions" comment in the introductory paragraph comes from.

Anyhow, it seems that the researchers were studying nano-SIZED particles and how they affect iron absorption. They got results - nano-sized particles negatively affected iron absorption. They used a lot - yet they state also that these particles develop a charge and so bind to biomolecules in the gut lumen. This suggests that nanoparticles can accumulate, so there could actually be the possibility of the levels of concentration of nanoparticles in the research actually occurring in the human body. Granted as I admitted, these particles would not be polystyrene as that does not appear to be used as a food additive. Anti-caking and glidant nanoparticle agents however are used as food additives and find their way into the body.

I am working on determining whether use of anti-caking and glidants is ruled out of use in organic foods. If they are ruled out then despite the flaws in my initial understanding, I should think that it would still stand - that is, non-organic foods would contain nanoparticles that organic foods would not contain. The qualifying "polystyrene" characteristic, is not particularly relevant.

By the way, I will comment on areas outside my expertise, as I have little other choice apart from non-participation - that is, if I have some sort of grip on understanding the basic concepts. When it comes to electrically charged nanoparticles and whether or not they build up into concentrations in the gut and what those relative concentrations might be, I don't know enough about that to make any assessment. Do you?

You are saying that, since the researchers used nanoparticles that were not made of a commonly ingested substance, their research has no bearing on food-additive nanoparticles, is that right? You would be suggesting that their research is not at all relevant to the issue of food additive nanoparticles?

I read your latest post and yes I was finally able to read that as I posted above. As I stated several times previously, more study is needed. I agree that they were proving their research approach and techniques with the polystyrene particles.

If polystyrene were used in food additive nanoparticles, that alone would be enough to directly evidence that organic food is less dangerous, are you sure? That is not a high bar. It may actually be used, we just haven't found evidence of it as yet. I am still looking into it a bit.

I think that the research suggests that nanoparticles can affect iron absorption. We ingest nanoparticles in non-organic food. I need to validate that organic food is less likely to contain nanoparticles. Thanks for your helpful analysis of my argument, I have learned a lot.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby fromthehills » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:01 pm

The TED talk is by Michael Specter. My wife just finished his book Denialism, so I get to read it now, but she's read pages to me.

FD, you were saying that "we don't know what goes on behind the scenes" with conventional food. Do you know what goes on behind the scenes with organic food? It's big business, and they have to turn a profit. Take Stonyfield Farms for example, great source for organic dairy products like yogurt. Probably have some cows on pasture, some really cute hippie, farm girls with great arms milking them every morning. It's organic. Well, actually, there is no farm, anymore. They truck in milk from as many places as they can find that have the "organic" label, then they ship in powdered milk from New Zealand. They import loads of there fruit, frozen, from around the globe. All to maintain the "organic" label. Can we possibly know what goes on behind the scenes with all their imports? Is it better for the planet to ship powdered milk thousands of miles, when they could buy "inorganic" milk from their neighbor? Is organic sustainable?

An organic sweetener, brown rice syrup, is used to replace corn syrup in many organic, processed foods. Better than evil high-fructose corn syrup, right? No, it contains arsenic. Probably low enough levels for adults, but it's in organic baby food. It's one of those studies, " could have adverse health effects for infants".

E coli outbreaks. Organic, or conventional?

So, what unnecessary risks are you avoiding by choosing organic? Are "organics" more closely monitored for safety? Are there any diseases associated with people who do not eat "organic"?

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby fromthehills » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:05 pm

I'm slower than you guys, I need to catch up.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:35 pm

ForestDweller wrote:We ingest nanoparticles in non-organic food. I need to validate that organic food is less likely to contain nanoparticles.

Just a heads up on this one... All food will contain naturally occurring nanoparticles.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:36 pm

fromthehills wrote:The TED talk is by Michael Specter. My wife just finished his book Denialism, so I get to read it now, but she's read pages to me.

FD, you were saying that "we don't know what goes on behind the scenes" with conventional food. Do you know what goes on behind the scenes with organic food? It's big business, and they have to turn a profit. Take Stonyfield Farms for example, great source for organic dairy products like yogurt. Probably have some cows on pasture, some really cute hippie, farm girls with great arms milking them every morning. It's organic. Well, actually, there is no farm, anymore. They truck in milk from as many places as they can find that have the "organic" label, then they ship in powdered milk from New Zealand. They import loads of there fruit, frozen, from around the globe. All to maintain the "organic" label. Can we possibly know what goes on behind the scenes with all their imports? Is it better for the planet to ship powdered milk thousands of miles, when they could buy "inorganic" milk from their neighbor? Is organic sustainable?

An organic sweetener, brown rice syrup, is used to replace corn syrup in many organic, processed foods. Better than evil high-fructose corn syrup, right? No, it contains arsenic. Probably low enough levels for adults, but it's in organic baby food. It's one of those studies, " could have adverse health effects for infants".

E coli outbreaks. Organic, or conventional?

So, what unnecessary risks are you avoiding by choosing organic? Are "organics" more closely monitored for safety? Are there any diseases associated with people who do not eat "organic"?


What I meant is, we don't know what happens behind the scenes in terms of food additives such as anti-caking, gliding agents, flavorings, non-organic commercial food processing methods that utilize chemicals that are ruled out of use in organic commercial food processing.

You make some good points as to how behind the scenes, there are different things going on in terms of organic food, transport etc. and I am aware of these factors. E. Coli, yes I have seen that news. This stuff does not support the argument that Organic is worse than non-organic food. It contributes little if anything contrary to my premise. Throwing out all organic food as bad, because of some tainted lettuce or sprouts? That would be ridiculous. Asking whether organic could be sustainable if it were somehow suddenly initiated, that is not a practical question. Of course it CAN be sustainable if it is what the public wants. Whether something is sustainable or not is not relevant to the individual purchaser of a product in real-time. It is there now. Buy it, or not. Buy what is most generally better for you, or find secondary factors to justify why you don't want to do it, or as to why it isn't better for society in the long run.
While I respect and appreciate these considerations they are not sufficient to conclude that organic food is worse than non-organic food.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:40 pm

Yep, okay. We are talking about food additives, manufactured non-food food additives, I thought. I am assuming that when I use the term "nanoparticles." Obviously as well there are nanoparticles both natural and manufactured, in the air, that we ingest.

Blacksamwell wrote:
ForestDweller wrote:We ingest nanoparticles in non-organic food. I need to validate that organic food is less likely to contain nanoparticles.

Just a heads up on this one... All food will contain naturally occurring nanoparticles.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:02 pm

fromthehills wrote:So, what unnecessary risks are you avoiding by choosing organic?


What unnecessary risks are you avoiding by choosing non-organic? Seems to be that skeptics of organic food put undue weight on a few products, and a few talking points of minor overall relevance, then conclude that they have summarily trashed the whole organic food industry as overpriced marketing hype.

Do you actually avoid buying organic lettuce because there was once an e.coli problem? Do you avoid Stonyfield yogurt because of the excessive transportation of ingredients and if so, do you apply this logic to other non-organic yogurt and fruit products that you might buy, as well? Do you feel that non-organic food producers do not participate in marketing hype? That they do not take advantage of every possible advantage in presenting their products to market?

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:41 pm

http://orgprints.org/13569/1/13569.pdf

"Nanotechnology is currently not addressed in any Organic Standard, other than that of the Soil Association (2008)."

It appears that nanotechnology is not yet ruled out of certified organic food production in the US, so organic food is no different than non-organic food, in this respect. I am still digging.

Evidently no nano in Canadian organics though:
http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/m ... ganics.php

In the US, movement toward banning nanotech from organics continues:
http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2010/11/artic ... -products/

I am still of the opinion that generally speaking, organic food is better than non-organic food, but I cannot state absence of nanotechnology as evidence in the US - yet.

If anyone has better info as to the current state of organics and nanotech in the US, would be great to see.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby fromthehills » Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:55 pm

ForestDweller wrote:
fromthehills wrote:So, what unnecessary risks are you avoiding by choosing organic?


What unnecessary risks are you avoiding by choosing non-organic? Seems to be that skeptics of organic food put undue weight on a few products, and a few talking points of minor overall relevance, then conclude that they have summarily trashed the whole organic food industry as overpriced marketing hype.

Do you actually avoid buying organic lettuce because there was once an e.coli problem? Do you avoid Stonyfield yogurt because of the excessive transportation of ingredients and if so, do you apply this logic to other non-organic yogurt and fruit products that you might buy, as well? Do you feel that non-organic food producers do not participate in marketing hype? That they do not take advantage of every possible advantage in presenting their products to market?


You're the one that brought it up, so I was asking you what they are. Organic foods, and crops are big business and no different than conventional in this regard. Including the fact that you also brought up. "You don't know what goes on behind the scenes". I gave you an example. Why are you confrontational about it? I'm talking to your points, and asking questions. You are avoiding these questions by being defensive. Almost as if I were attacking your belief system.

Pity, I thought you had real {!#%@} to say.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:06 pm

fromthehills wrote:So, what unnecessary risks are you avoiding by choosing organic?

You're the one that brought it up, so I was asking you what they are. Organic foods, and crops are big business and no different than conventional in this regard. Including the fact that you also brought up. "You don't know what goes on behind the scenes". I gave you an example. Why are you confrontational about it? I'm talking to your points, and asking questions. You are avoiding these questions by being defensive. Almost as if I were attacking your belief system.

Pity, I thought you had real {!#%@} to say.


That is a stretch isn't it, calling me confrontational about returning your question with a question, then suggesting that I am defending a belief system.

Your first question above is an excellent one. I mentioned some of the risks in earlier posts to this thread; I will elaborate. I did not answer it immediately because I did not want to create a cycle of repetition. I thought instead to learn something about your perspective toward purchasing food, and what goes into it.

I see nothing particularly defensive in not rehashing generalizations, and I want to put together a better list of evidence. And a list as well, of the common arguments against organic food (such as, "there's more pesticide put on an organic apple than on a non-organic one").

More importantly, to both of these lists, or to each segment of "evidence" on each side, I want to assign a relative "weight" if you will - so that I can more plainly visualize all of the evidence and how it affects the overall argument. The pro-organic side leans heavily on some evidence, does not value other evidence. The pro-non-organic side has differently weighted evidence. That should help me to better understand if there is some "snow job" going on here as I suspect that there is. Not that it would be intentional. It is critical though, to let these pieces of evidence bear the weight that they should, not more or less. Your mention of brown rice syrup, for instance. I need to track that down and evaluate its' pervasiveness in organic food, check the information and give it an appropriate weight. If it is used for instance in 5% of organic food, that would not factor in as much as if it were used in 50% - and then, this is but one piece of evidence.

To support my position I need to rely on multiple factors - any one alone, might not be enough to suggest that organic food is better than non-organic. In looking at lists of factors, risk management can better come into play. I'm not explaining this well but I'm at work and can't concentrate fully. More later.



So, thanks for the thoughts.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:14 am

fromthehills wrote: Are "organics" more closely monitored for safety? Are there any diseases associated with people who do not eat "organic"?


Organics are more heavily regulated, but less effectively regulated as products. As far as more closely monitored for safety, I haven't come across evidence of that. There are instances of the required monitoring not being done. That is probably true of non-organic food as well. Diseases associated with people who don't eat organic, all of them. Certified organic can be 95% organic. And it is not practical to always eat organic. I don't know of conclusive scientific evidence showing specific diseases can be avoided by eating organic. I have read that doctors have suggested elements of organic diet to Crohns patients.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:46 am

fromthehills wrote:The TED talk is by Michael Specter. My wife just finished his book Denialism, so I get to read it now, but she's read pages to me.

...

So, what unnecessary risks are you avoiding by choosing organic? Are "organics" more closely monitored for safety? Are there any diseases associated with people who do not eat "organic"?


Hills I watched the link and enjoyed it. I thought the guy was caustic and pompous. Possibly rabid. He made many good points, most of which I have heard before. I like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, I'm reading The Moral Landscape and The Greatest Show On Earth right now. Though I liked Michael Specter's monologue, I engage with these other guys' presentation methods a little better. GM food has been around for awhile now, yet there are still hungry in the world, so it hasn't fixed that problem yet. Anyhow I enjoyed the vid, I agree with most of what he presented. It is not new information but it's good.

Looking at the question, what unnecessary risks might I be avoiding by choosing Organic, I can list some.

Avoids the unnecessary risk of eating old dairy cows that were butchered long after they have become unable to walk

unnecessary risk of allergic reaction to synthetic pesticides on and in food.

unnecessary environmental risk of supporting adding Nitrates and Phosphates to water table, contributing to dead zone and algae blooms

Unnecessary risk of exposure to subtheraputic levels of antibiotics in food

Unnecessary risk of support of release of subtheraputic levels of antibiotics to environment

Unnecessary risk of exposure to controversial growth hormones and steroids in food

Unnecessary mental health risk of knowingly eating flesh of an animal that was fed antibiotics, pig & chicken byproducts, steroids, hormones, pesticides and sewage sludge as normal feed.

Unnecessary risk of supporting animal suffering by disregarding more ethical and humane, organic sources of supply

Unnecessary risk of loss of connection to supply chain of food that can regenerate (i.e. fertile seeds)

Unnecessary risk of consuming multiple synthetic pesticide-exposed non-organic vegetables and grains

Unnecessary risk of eating irradiated food

Unnecessary risk of supporting controversial GMO food production methods and ethics.

These unnecessary risk factors, are mitigated by choosing Organic over non-Organic.

As to the larger general question of, which food is better, better is equal to and then some. Avoidance of multiple unnecessary risks, is something. There is a lot more to the argument.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:48 pm

Blacksamwell wrote:Here's some pertinent quotes from the Mahler study paper...


Initially accessing the paper to read the whole thing, was a problem for me. Anne Ju and Gretchen Mahler wrote me back confirming that the polystyrene nanomaterials were not specific to food additives as you noted. I know that you already know this as the study was clear about it, but for fun here's part of Gretchen Mahler's response.

"The polystyrene particles that we used in
this study are commercially available, fluorescent (tracking is
straightforward), and have an easily-modifiable surface. We used these
polystyrene nanoparticles as a model particle to demonstrate that our
in vitro (outside of the body, cell cultures) and in vivo (inside the
body, animal studies) experimental systems can be used for evaluating
the effects of
nanoparticle consumption."

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:03 pm

Great.

And since we've established that nano-particles can be found in both organic and non-organic foods from natural sources then the study you presented does not support your hypothesis that organic foods are better than non-organic foods.

Glad that's settled.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:10 pm

No evidence organic foods benefit health: study
Consumers who opt for organic foods often believe they are improving their health, but there is currently no strong evidence that organics bring nutrition-related health benefits, a new research review finds.

So, considering the increased costs associated with organics and no evidence of improved health... Why would a skeptical consumer throw away their hard earned funds on organic products?

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:24 pm

This one is full of interesting points...
Organic food exposed
in a regular diet, people consume about 10,000 times more natural carcinogens than synthetic ones. According to Ames, a single cup of coffee contains more natural carcinogens than a year's worth of the pesticide residues eaten on fruit and vegetables.

A comprehensive review of some 400 scientific papers on the health impacts of organic foods, published by Faidon Magkos and colleagues in 2006 in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, concluded there was no evidence that eating organic food was healthier.

One study reported by Magkos tried to narrow things down by growing the same variety of plums in adjacent fields, with one using organic and the other conventional methods: the conventionally grown plums contained 38 per cent more of the potentially beneficial polyphenol compounds than the organically grown ones did.

If chemical pesticides are hazardous to health, then farm workers should be most affected. The results of a 13-year study of nearly 90,000 farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina — the Agricultural Health Study – suggests we really don't have much to worry about. These people were exposed to higher doses of agricultural chemicals because of their proximity to spraying, and 65 per cent of them had personally spent more than 10 years applying pesticides. If any group of people were going to show a link between pesticide use and cancer, it would be them. They didn't.

organic food has been subject to its own food scares. There have been bacterial outbreaks which have been blamed on the fact that organic production involves manure but not antibacterial techniques such as food irradiation or chemical washes. Another concern is the growth of moulds such as aflatoxin B1, commonly found on mouldy peanuts and one of the most carcinogenic compounds known to exist. Among the most notorious recent toxic mould scares was one linked to organic apple juice, where levels of the toxin patulin were 10 times greater than those found in regular apple juice. Levels of the mould toxin deoxynivalenol have also been reported to be higher in organic wheat. Because organics are not treated with fungicides, there is a higher risk of these toxins creeping in.

I'd quote more but I'm already pushing things with the above content and don't want to run awry of copyright issues. But there's loads more evidence listed that support the notion that organics are not better for you.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:38 pm

Blacksamwell wrote:No evidence organic foods benefit health: study
Consumers who opt for organic foods often believe they are improving their health, but there is currently no strong evidence that organics bring nutrition-related health benefits, a new research review finds.

So, considering the increased costs associated with organics and no evidence of improved health... Why would a skeptical consumer throw away their hard earned funds on organic products?


The article you provided, suggests that there are other considerations.

"While questions remain as to whether organic foods have any extra nutritional value, people buy organic for a number of other reasons as well.

Organic foods are made without the use of conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics or hormones -- which could potentially reap benefits for people's health and the environment.

The current review, Dangour and his colleagues point out, did not look for studies on the possible health benefits of reduced exposure to those substances. Nor did it address the environmental impact of organic food production."

By the way, the statement commonly made, that "organic food is nutritionally equivalent to its' nonorganic counterparts," it not actually correct. I have 2 studies that show that organic food regularly has greater amounts of some nutrients. They then re-frame that result with a caveat, that since we already get enough of those greater nutrients, the results should be disregarded and the two foods should be considered nutritionally equivalent. I still don't get that part. If they aren't the same, they aren't the same, that is that.

One angle I am researching is this - organic vegetables, grown without nitrogen fertilizer, retain less water and in some cases is smaller than non-organic counterparts, with a more dense structure. Therefore by weight it is likely to have greater overall nutritive value, pound-for-pound, as the cellular structures of organic are not bloated with water weight/volume. What i wonder is, if the cell structures are the same and have the same nutritive value, but they are more compact, then theoretically more cells could fit within a given weight or volume, in organic as compared to non-organic - and more cells should mean more nutrition. What do you think of that? I have no specific evidence as to this, it is just one aspect that I am looking into finding evidence of.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:50 pm

Blacksamwell wrote:This one is full of interesting points...
Organic food exposed
in a regular diet, people consume about 10,000 times more natural carcinogens than synthetic ones. According to Ames, a single cup of coffee contains more natural carcinogens than a year's worth of the pesticide residues eaten on fruit and vegetables.

A comprehensive review of some 400 scientific papers on the health impacts of organic foods, published by Faidon Magkos and colleagues in 2006 in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, concluded there was no evidence that eating organic food was healthier.

One study reported by Magkos tried to narrow things down by growing the same variety of plums in adjacent fields, with one using organic and the other conventional methods: the conventionally grown plums contained 38 per cent more of the potentially beneficial polyphenol compounds than the organically grown ones did.

If chemical pesticides are hazardous to health, then farm workers should be most affected. The results of a 13-year study of nearly 90,000 farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina — the Agricultural Health Study – suggests we really don't have much to worry about. These people were exposed to higher doses of agricultural chemicals because of their proximity to spraying, and 65 per cent of them had personally spent more than 10 years applying pesticides. If any group of people were going to show a link between pesticide use and cancer, it would be them. They didn't.

organic food has been subject to its own food scares. There have been bacterial outbreaks which have been blamed on the fact that organic production involves manure but not antibacterial techniques such as food irradiation or chemical washes. Another concern is the growth of moulds such as aflatoxin B1, commonly found on mouldy peanuts and one of the most carcinogenic compounds known to exist. Among the most notorious recent toxic mould scares was one linked to organic apple juice, where levels of the toxin patulin were 10 times greater than those found in regular apple juice. Levels of the mould toxin deoxynivalenol have also been reported to be higher in organic wheat. Because organics are not treated with fungicides, there is a higher risk of these toxins creeping in.

I'd quote more but I'm already pushing things with the above content and don't want to run awry of copyright issues. But there's loads more evidence listed that support the notion that organics are not better for you.


Thank you for posting the link and quotes. I can counter quote 3, 4 and 5 and I will post links as soon as I can though it could be a few days as I am being over-run by real life.

I am building out an analysis of this topic in a mind mapping application, and I'm building out the negative arguments side as a part of that. I believe I have this link in it but if not it's going in now so thanks.

There was a study done on strawberries recently, I will post the link, that provides evidence to counter the plum result.

I have evidence that actually indicates higher incidence of health issues in communities near monoculture farm runoff.

The bacterial outbreaks are of minor overall consequence and there are non-organic counters to this. The fact is that we are talking about food, here. There are potential issues common to both organic and conventional food and e.coli is one of them. It is worthy of note but does not really say alot about a new farming method. Organics have been around what, 60 -70 years? 14,000 years of farming, then the "green revolution," then back to organics. Certified organics have not been around long. To expect long-term health result studies, seems unrealistic.

EDIT - made the last paragraph more clear.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:53 pm

Blacksamwell wrote:Great.

And since we've established that nano-particles can be found in both organic and non-organic foods from natural sources then the study you presented does not support your hypothesis that organic foods are better than non-organic foods.

Glad that's settled.


Turns out that for the US, it does not support my hypothesis. In Canada, where nanoparticles are ruled out of organic food, it might. Nanoparticles, natural or artificial, that meet FDA guidelines, can be used in both Organic and conventional foods in the US. So I learned something.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:56 pm

ForestDweller wrote:
Blacksamwell wrote:No evidence organic foods benefit health: study
Consumers who opt for organic foods often believe they are improving their health, but there is currently no strong evidence that organics bring nutrition-related health benefits, a new research review finds.

So, considering the increased costs associated with organics and no evidence of improved health... Why would a skeptical consumer throw away their hard earned funds on organic products?


The article you provided, suggests that there are other considerations.

"While questions remain as to whether organic foods have any extra nutritional value, people buy organic for a number of other reasons as well.

Organic foods are made without the use of conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics or hormones -- which could potentially reap benefits for people's health and the environment.

The current review, Dangour and his colleagues point out, did not look for studies on the possible health benefits of reduced exposure to those substances. Nor did it address the environmental impact of organic food production."

Sure, potentially this might be a benefit, but the evidence doesn't appear to support that conclusion. Of course there needs to be more research. There's not much out there although it does appear to be increasing.
ForestDweller wrote:By the way, the statement commonly made, that "organic food is nutritionally equivalent to its' nonorganic counterparts," it not actually correct. I have 2 studies that show that organic food regularly has greater amounts of some nutrients. They then re-frame that result with a caveat, that since we already get enough of those greater nutrients, the results should be disregarded and the two foods should be considered nutritionally equivalent. I still don't get that part. If they aren't the same, they aren't the same, that is that.

And I have other studies that say otherwise. Freshness and the variety of the fruit or veggie appears to have more of an impact on nutrition than whether or not it was grown organically or not.

If it were clear and apparent that organics were better, than I'd be on board and one could argue that the increased cost was worth it. When there are only a small handful of problematic studies that find meager or meaningless differences and more and better studies that don't find any difference I know where I'll put my money.
ForestDweller wrote:One angle I am researching is this - organic vegetables, grown without nitrogen fertilizer, retain less water and in some cases is smaller than non-organic counterparts, with a more dense structure. Therefore by weight it is likely to have greater overall nutritive value, pound-for-pound, as the cellular structures of organic are not bloated with water weight/volume. What i wonder is, if the cell structures are the same and have the same nutritive value, but they are more compact, then theoretically more cells could fit within a given weight or volume, in organic as compared to non-organic - and more cells should mean more nutrition. What do you think of that? I have no specific evidence as to this, it is just one aspect that I am looking into finding evidence of.

I think you should wait for the evidence. In the meantime just save your money and eat the conventional stuff.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:58 pm

ForestDweller wrote:
Blacksamwell wrote:Great.

And since we've established that nano-particles can be found in both organic and non-organic foods from natural sources then the study you presented does not support your hypothesis that organic foods are better than non-organic foods.

Glad that's settled.


Turns out that for the US, it does not support my hypothesis. In Canada, where nanoparticles are ruled out of organic food, it might.

Except that all foods contain naturally occurring nonoparticles, even organic foods, even in Canada.

As long as both organic and non-organic foods contain nano-particles then the study provides no support that organic or non-organic are better. The study only evidences what the researchers set out to evidence; that their methodologies work.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:37 pm

Blacksamwell, can you elaborate on your assertion that all foods contain natural nanoparticles? I know that some occur, English Ivy nanoparticles have been isolated. I suppose that one could call a water molecule a nanoparticle, is that what you mean, molecules breaking off and becoming freed on the nanoparticle scale?

The evidence in support of organics does seem to be building, but I think that the evidence also needs to be reasoned out and presented much more effectively than it has been - and the evidence against, needs to be better challenged. The whole writing style of organics culture, needs a dose of smelling salts. It is not evidence-based, it is emotion-based. Perhaps because we are all so "caring" on the organic side :roll: I am really beginning to notice that absence of substance; I'm sure that reading this forum has a lot to do with it! And the whole logical process building to the decision to forego organic, needs a power-cycle. Elements of the discussion take on undue weight. Risk-management of multiple probabilities, doesn't get enough attention. And people end up making the riskier, less positive choice, to save a buck.

If different variety of vegetables were to be compared nutritionally, that would not be a valid test, I agree. Only seeds from the same lot, one grown organically and one grown conventionally. And this has been done, and the routine finding I am coming across is that the organically grown vegetable has higher levels of some nutrients and the conventional vegetable, other nutrients, like nitrogen. Likely due to the different fertilization methods. When I read it stated that there is no difference, well that's just plain wrong. It seems to be adjusting the facts to suit the situation. I regard it as a common misconception.

I would be interested in seeing links to any studies that evidence organic and conventional grown vegetables or fruits to be exactly the same, or conventionals being better in terms of nutritional value. I'm finding organics to be higher in magnesium, zinc, phenolic compounds and flavonids, phosphorus, and sugars. Such as in this:
http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/ ... ndices.pdf

But the list of positive qualities of organic food, can go on and on. I am working on that.

Thanks for advise to stick to conventional food. I'll stay organic-when-I-can-be. I'm just a risk-averse person, and becoming more so. I don't live in the skeptical back row when it comes to what I choose to fuel myself through life. In that arena I am willing to err a bit on the side of caution. Paranoia is a survival characteristic, it is Darwinian. Got no respect for monoculture farming materials, process or ethics. I don't want to support it any more than I have to, it is one bad habit. There are studies that suggest organic can feed the world, and non-organic hasn't managed to do it yet, still plenty starving. Dead zones from nitrates, phosphates out the Mississippi. The list of negatives, for me, is way too long. Don't want to support it. I have a rational empathy toward other forms of life. I may think better but otherwise I'm just another animal, myself; I can't condone the treatment feeding and care of food animals in conventional farming. It is not all good as you probably know. I do not like it or want to contribute any more to non-organic than I have to. This speaks directly to the point of organic vs. non-organic, and why, if there is a choice, and I can afford it, I'll probably go with the organic. And wash it.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby OlegTheBatty » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:10 am

ForestDweller wrote:Blacksamwell, can you elaborate on your assertion that all foods contain natural nanoparticles?


We evolved with nanoparticles in our food

In looking for this abstract, I found far more studies on potential health benefits of adding various nanoparticles to food than studies worried about what was already there. Research into benefits would also detect harms (a harm is just a negative benefit.)
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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:16 am

What evidence is there that you're avoiding a risk by going organic?

I referenced a study where plums were grown in neighboring fields, one organic, one not. The non-organic plums won out in the nutrient tests. So there's no clear tendency where organics are proven to be better.

Again, what evidence of risk are you avoiding?

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby OlegTheBatty » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:37 am

This one just published today looks at some potentially harmful effects in fish.

Nano-sized (10−9–10−7 m) particles offer many technical and biomedical advances over the bulk material. The use of nanoparticles in cosmetics, detergents, food and other commercial products is rapidly increasing despite little knowledge of their effect on organism metabolism. We show here that commercially manufactured polystyrene nanoparticles, transported through an aquatic food chain from algae, through zooplankton to fish, affect lipid metabolism and behaviour of the top consumer.
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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:39 am

ForestDweller wrote:I would be interested in seeing links to any studies that evidence organic and conventional grown vegetables or fruits to be exactly the same, or conventionals being better in terms of nutritional value. I'm finding organics to be higher in magnesium, zinc, phenolic compounds and flavonids, phosphorus, and sugars. Such as in this:
http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/ ... ndices.pdf

Yes, I agree. We need more of that.

Note their conclusion:
No evidence of a difference in content of nutrients and other substances between
organically and conventionally produced crops and livestock products was detected for the majority of nutrients assessed in this review suggesting that organically and conventionally produced crops and livestock products are broadly comparable in their nutrient content.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:51 am

Blacksamwell wrote:What evidence is there that you're avoiding a risk by going organic?

I referenced a study where plums were grown in neighboring fields, one organic, one not. The non-organic plums won out in the nutrient tests. So there's no clear tendency where organics are proven to be better.

Again, what evidence of risk are you avoiding?


In post 61 I mentioned some "risks" that can be avoided. Organics are not proven to be better, nor is conventional. I haven't stated that anything is proven. I am working on, developing a persuasive argument. I understand that you remain unconvinced. I do not doubt your conclusion that there's no clear tendency revealed in the plum study that you reference. The persuasive argument will probably not shake an experienced skeptic; the eventual audience would be others, closer to the fence.

I am working on combining many angles to support the hypothesis that organic is better. Ethics and probability, even "revenge," all of that plays into it. My argument isn't going to stand on any one factor.

I did not have that previous link by the way so thanks for the earlier reference. Honestly. looking at it quickly I found the article carry a negative bias toward organic, that surpassed the stated evidence. Still it is great info.

Here is a strawberry study if you would like to look at it:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad ... ne.0012346
"Our findings show that the organic strawberry farms produced higher quality fruit and that their higher quality soils may have greater microbial functional capability and resilience to stress. These findings justify additional investigations aimed at detecting and quantifying such effects and their interactions."

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:58 am

OlegTheBatty wrote:This one just published today looks at some potentially harmful effects in fish.

Nano-sized (10−9–10−7 m) particles offer many technical and biomedical advances over the bulk material. The use of nanoparticles in cosmetics, detergents, food and other commercial products is rapidly increasing despite little knowledge of their effect on organism metabolism. We show here that commercially manufactured polystyrene nanoparticles, transported through an aquatic food chain from algae, through zooplankton to fish, affect lipid metabolism and behaviour of the top consumer.


That's really interesting. I'm pulling that study down tomorrow for sure. Thanks! EDIT my connection is so slow, I didn't realize the whole study is there in the link.
Last edited by ForestDweller on Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:01 am

Blacksamwell wrote:
ForestDweller wrote:I would be interested in seeing links to any studies that evidence organic and conventional grown vegetables or fruits to be exactly the same, or conventionals being better in terms of nutritional value. I'm finding organics to be higher in magnesium, zinc, phenolic compounds and flavonids, phosphorus, and sugars. Such as in this:
http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/ ... ndices.pdf

Yes, I agree. We need more of that.

Note their conclusion:
No evidence of a difference in content of nutrients and other substances between
organically and conventionally produced crops and livestock products was detected for the majority of nutrients assessed in this review suggesting that organically and conventionally produced crops and livestock products are broadly comparable in their nutrient content.

Funny :roll: Yes, they "conclude" that since folks don't really need more magnesium, zinc, phenolic compounds, flavonids or sugar, there's no difference between the plants. Even though their results clearly indicate that there are readily apparent differences. Re-framing the argument into near absolutes when the data is representative of something else.
EDIT - 2 typo
Last edited by ForestDweller on Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby Blacksamwell » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:41 am

ForestDweller wrote:Here is a strawberry study if you would like to look at it:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad ... ne.0012346
"Our findings show that the organic strawberry farms produced higher quality fruit and that their higher quality soils may have greater microbial functional capability and resilience to stress. These findings justify additional investigations aimed at detecting and quantifying such effects and their interactions."

I don't see the figures that support that conclusion very well. Except for size and water content the berries were almost exactly the same. Most measures were within the error range.

Can you tell what measures they are basing that conclusion on?

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Re: Organic food makes Harriet Hall's top 10 - Really?

Postby ForestDweller » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:59 pm

Blacksamwell wrote:
ForestDweller wrote:Here is a strawberry study if you would like to look at it:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad ... ne.0012346
"Our findings show that the organic strawberry farms produced higher quality fruit and that their higher quality soils may have greater microbial functional capability and resilience to stress. These findings justify additional investigations aimed at detecting and quantifying such effects and their interactions."

I don't see the figures that support that conclusion very well. Except for size and water content the berries were almost exactly the same. Most measures were within the error range.

Can you tell what measures they are basing that conclusion on?


If I understand your question, well the tables under Results and Discussion - Strawberry Quality illustrate comparative measurements.

It seems that your complaint is similar to what mine was - we see results, then the researcher's conclusions are presented - and you are not seeing a clear correlation between the two in this instance, whereas I was not seeing the correlation in the the previous study.

It is important to be careful when evaluating comparative elements of things that are already so very similar. They're all Strawberries. So, stating the berries were almost exactly the same, I see that as a very loaded statement not supported by the evidence here. Exactly the same is EXACTLY. "Almost" exactly is a difficult phrase to seriously consider. I understand that we are just bantering the evidence and that is fine. Scientifically speaking and in the case of organic vs. conventional, the difference between exactly and not exactly, is huge and it has to be. The non-organic side bases its' entire argument on "relative similarity" which is pretty weak when there are obvious differences - IMHO.


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