Nearly a month after a Stanford study found little difference in nutritional value when comparing organic and non-organic foods, supporters of organic food are still responding to the study and defending the organic movement.
TV celebrity Dr. Oz will be discussing the study on his daytime television program Oct. 4. A preliminary story was posted on his site that discussed the various headlines as a result of the study and argued that going organic is a key to having a healthy family.
Amaleah Mirti has lived and worked on her parent’s farm, Rosie’s Organic Farm, for 16 years. On Saturday mornings she sells the farm’s organic, pesticide-free produce at local farmer’s markets around Gainesville.
“Even if there is scientific evidence to say that they do have the same nutritional value, I think that there’s still that farmer-to-consumer relationship that you get being at a farmers market,” Mirti said.
She said knowing that your food has not been processed with chemicals is comforting to some people.
Carla Coultas has been shopping at the Haile Plantation Farmers Market for more than five years and is not convinced by the studies findings. She said she has arthritis and has noticed that her joints ache more when she eats fruit with pesticides.
“Maybe if you just looked at the nutritional value of both types of food they may be the same, but if you look at the poisons that you’re putting into your body, they’re drastically different,” she said.
The study found that the majority of conventional foods fell within pesticide level safety limits. Additionally, the risk of pesticide contamination was 30 percent lower in organics compared to conventional foods.
“You’re not saying that just because you’re growing organically that your not using pesticides and herbicides,” Director of the University of Florida’s Office of Sustainability, Anna Prizzia, said. “You’re just not using chemically derived ones.”
She said understanding the inputs of food production is important for health, social justice and the environment.
“Everything from the amount of water that you use in order to grow food to the types of chemicals that you’re using when you put them on your crops to protect them from pests or from weeds can impact a broader range of things than just that crop,” Prizzia said.
Researchers from the study said their aim was to educate people, not discourage them from purchasing organic foods.
Erin Rauch edited this story online.