The Organic vs. Conventional non-debate
The headlines that were supposed to shock the health food eating public: “Organic food ‘no healthier than conventional”. These were the results of a review of 50 years of research findings by researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. (click here for more on the study) This is similar to saying that a review of years of research shows that clean drinking water doesn’t do any better job of hydrating you than polluted water.
Taking a narrow view of health benefits and then saying that the research proves that these foods are no healthier is a silly idea. First of all the negative effects of pesticide, herbicide, hormone and antibiotic exposure are left out of the equation. Second the farming practices of so called conventional farming have changed a lot over the last 50 years, so this time period is in essence irrelevant. Thirdly the simple designation of organic does little to indicate exactly what farming practices are being followed. Healthier food, as this study looks at it, indicates higher levels of nutrients in the food. The main factors of this are farming practices like natural fertilization, healthy soil, rich in microorganisms and allowing the food to fully ripen before harvest, to name a few. None of these are necessarily included in organic, or left out in non-organic farming.
In reality the health of the earth and the health of each individual are intertwined and interdependent. You can no more separate the health of your body and the health of the planet than separate the health of a person and the health of their heart. It is naive and dangerous to look so narrowly at an important topic such as this. There is no debate nor is there any doubt that organic farming is more relevant to the health of this planet and therefore to the human species. It’s time to wake up to this reality and end these petty debates.
News reports and headlines such as these do nothing to edify the general public, and in my opinion only serve to forward some political-economic agenda.