jtotheizzoe tries to add some nuance to the Stanford study,
Last week’s reports that organic produce may not be more nutritious than conventional reminds us why oversimplified science may not be healthier for you.
The study (which was really a study of studies), didn’t find strong evidence that organic produce contained more of the good vitamins and stuff when compared to “conventionally grown”. The problem is that many news outlets didn’t look beyond that. Especially you, Gawker … “sham” is a strong word, eh?
The reasons people buy organic produce aren’t limited to just getting an extra 5% of their folate. It’s about reducing exposure to pesticides and other chemicals (whose long-term effects on our bodies we don’t fully undersand), it’s about supporting farming practices that are less harmful to the land and carry a smaller carbon footprint by not using chemical fertilizers, and it’s about reminding people to buy locally and in season, allowing produce to deliver its maximum goodness as evolution intended (not to mention supporting local farms).
So while you may not get a vitamin boost from the expensive carrots, there’s many other reasons that people may choose to buy them. If we aren’t careful with the science, we could miss them.
More at Boing Boing.
There’s a decent roundup of the coverage surrounding this story from MIT’s Knight Science Journalism Tracker and one of the items that they emphasize comes from a USA Today piece by Elizabeth Weise where they add some more nuance (for a lack of better term),
Her reporting also shows that the study’s emphasis on nutrition was important; she quotes a 2010 Nielsen study that found that 76% of consumers bought organic foods because they thought they were healthier.
So Joe is right, the reasons people buy organic produce aren’t limited to just getting an extra 5% of their folate but the reason why 76% of consumers bought organic food is because consumers thought they were getting an extra 5% of their folate. It doesn’t help that there are a plethora of “friendly” websites that mislead consumers of the nutritional content of organic produce as well, these links were obtained via the Organic Trade Association.
The BingBoing link above is wonderful but here’s another wonderful link from Scientific American - Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture.
Stay safe, read up on what you eat!