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  #101  
Old 23.01.2015, 17:14
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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It seems to be an mediocre alright study---Interesting perhaps to lead to further investigations, but not a game changer for me, much too editorialized.
That's fine, to each his own, but what is a game changer to me, and is absolutely unassailable, is that animals under the bio label here in Switzerland at least, have it far better than conventially raised animals.


I'm not referring to you here, but so far the only people spouting outright bullshit in this thread have been the ones making random connections between GMO labeling and homeopathy, or claiming that Monsanto has never brought a farmer to court for saving seeds, which, when disproven by Monsanto's own website, goes completely ignored and uncorrected. And this from people who haven't failed to repeatedly inform the rest us unwashed mouthbreathers that they're scientists.


Ignoring facts that contradict your errors isn't a trait I find particularly admirable in a scientist....
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  #102  
Old 23.01.2015, 17:14
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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I don't know much about the difference between industrial eggs and free-range eggs from free-ranging hens who eat a varied diet of the land as far as health is concerned but there's a massive difference in taste.
My eggs here are from my father-in-law's chickens and they taste amazing.

Personally, I don't think GM is the problem but the complacency with the lack of taste of food in some countries. Yes, USA I'm talking about you.

A Swiss friend moved there fairly recently and said that all the food tastes odd.
His wife said she hadn't had a potato that tasted like a potato since she moved there.
Apples and other fruit taste of nothing.

The first thing I noticed when moving to Switzerland was that even in the supermarkets, the apples tasted like those ones you took off a tree when you were a kid.

If the only way to feed the world is to produce tasteless muck then to be honest, I'd rather not bother at all and just give up.

Definitely, finally a logical answer. One chooses bio/organic/etc because it's a personal taste preference. This I can respect! Although I don't really care much about food taste (it's just for sustenance for me), paying more for better tasting food is common world wide.

When this opinion becomes warped into "it's healthier for you" the arguement loses some/all of its credibility.
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  #103  
Old 23.01.2015, 17:24
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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It seems to be an mediocre alright study---Interesting perhaps to lead to further investigations, but not a game changer for me, much too editorialized.

My personal criticism of the article mentioned as a game changer:

Although claimed to increase all mentioned nutrients, total vitamin A per egg did not differ.

Hens did not forage to the degree necessary to meet their requirements for energy and protein, when compared to the commercial birds. At the end of the experiment, pastured hens weighed 14 percent less and averaged 15 percent lower egg production than commercial birds.

It was mentioned that the free range hens with more nutritious eggs were fend corn and grain on the ground, the hens in the study were fed combination of alfalfa, cloverleaf and grass.

Variations of nutrients from the different free-range leaves were higher than the variation when compared to the pen hens.

Essentially, the article concludes that a more nutritious diet for the hens produces more nutritious eggs (DUH!), but the optimal combination still needs to be investigated. No control or conclusions *published* on the 'free-range' variable: Not grounds for me to change my buying habits.

The following article, comes from a large number of high level experts, published in a journal with significantly higher impact factor detailing a very robust study: http://annals.org/article.aspx?artic....0.0.0.1.9.1.0

Such research has a stronger impact on my life choices.
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Old 23.01.2015, 17:26
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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A Swiss friend moved there fairly recently and said that all the food tastes odd.
His wife said she hadn't had a potato that tasted like a potato since she moved there.
Apples and other fruit taste of nothing.
I've noticed that too, but largely put it down to Americans being less choosy when it comes to raw materials and maybe being culturally conditioned to liking their food that way.
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  #105  
Old 23.01.2015, 17:38
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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My personal criticism of the article mentioned as a game changer:

Although claimed to increase all mentioned nutrients, total vitamin A per egg did not differ.

Hens did not forage to the degree necessary to meet their requirements for energy and protein, when compared to the commercial birds. At the end of the experiment, pastured hens weighed 14 percent less and averaged 15 percent lower egg production than commercial birds.

It was mentioned that the free range hens with more nutritious eggs were fend corn and grain on the ground, the hens in the study were fed combination of alfalfa, cloverleaf and grass.

Variations of nutrients from the different free-range leaves were higher than the variation when compared to the pen hens.

Essentially, the article concludes that a more nutritious diet for the hens produces more nutritious eggs (DUH!), but the optimal combination still needs to be investigated. No control or conclusions *published* on the 'free-range' variable: Not grounds for me to change my buying habits.

The following article, comes from a large number of high level experts, published in a journal with significantly higher impact factor detailing a very robust study: http://annals.org/article.aspx?artic....0.0.0.1.9.1.0

Such research has a stronger impact on my life choices.


That's fine, again, you're obviously free to buy bio or not based on whatever your reasoning is. But to suggest that it's all a scam despite the fact that there are clear, regulated, and vast differences in how bio certified animals are treated is not irrelevant.


In addition to the debated nutritional benefit, there is a subjective taste benefit, and a very clear animal welfare benefit. It might not be worth it to you but that doesn't mean that the benefits don't exist. Even the study you posted concluded that "Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria." and that's just an added bonus to the taste and animal welfare issues.
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  #106  
Old 23.01.2015, 17:43
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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That's fine, again, you're obviously free to buy bio or not based on whatever your reasoning is. But to suggest that it's all a scam despite the fact that there are clear, regulated, and vast differences in how bio certified animals are treated is not irrelevant.


In addition to the debated nutritional benefit, there is a subjective taste benefit, and a very clear animal welfare benefit. It might not be worth it to you but that doesn't mean that the benefits don't exist. Even the study you posted concluded that "Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria." and that's just an added bonus to the taste and animal welfare issues.

Very true.

I just have issues when some facts are taken and through confirmation bias magically take on new claims and propagate to the masses. Becoming more and more common with every idiot having the ability to blog their opinion to the masses.

Animal welfare agreed! Personal taste --well personal, so also a valid reason. Outside of that I'm not convinced either way.
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  #107  
Old 23.01.2015, 17:54
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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Definitely, finally a logical answer. One chooses bio/organic/etc because it's a personal taste preference. This I can respect! Although I don't really care much about food taste (it's just for sustenance for me), paying more for better tasting food is common world wide.

When this opinion becomes warped into "it's healthier for you" the argument loses some/all of its credibility.
Actually I think the argument loses it's respectability the research has been carried out in the U.S. where funding for the research can probably be traced back to those with an interest in bio-tech.

A meta-study by Newcastle University found different results than that at Stanford. Link to pdf
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  #108  
Old 23.01.2015, 17:58
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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It seems to be an mediocre alright study---Interesting perhaps to lead to further investigations, but not a game changer for me, much too editorialized.
Not only that, that is a eport of a study I cannot see any data and they talk about Pasturized or free-range which obviously improves qol in animals.
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  #109  
Old 23.01.2015, 18:06
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

Personally I choose organic not because I think it tastes better but because I think it promotes healthier soils (less erosion etc.), better animal welfare (more stringent regulations for space, feed, antibiotic used etc.) and often offers fairer/better pay for the farmers involved. Of course these things don't always work out as they should as there are a few bad apples in this industry just as in any other but just because they do exist does not negate the need for better agricultural practices that benefit both the producer and the consumer.

As far as yield comparisons go I think you can find a lot of research done by proper scientists (not the ones secretly pocketing money from big industry) that shows yields are not actually that as significantly different as some would like us to believe. And in the end, we have a lot of waste, and quantity before quality issues that if improved would leave a lot of room for more organic farming.
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  #110  
Old 23.01.2015, 19:06
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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Personally I choose organic not because I think it tastes better .
I choose organic only when if found out (through trial and error) that a product tastes better than the ("normal") ones.
That being said, Swiss organic tomatoes are crap. How should I say, I am convinced that the way of farming plays a role, but it's not the only factor - soil composition (type of soil), climate also. I think you simply can't produce tasty tomatoes here. And that is only one example. On the other hand there are other vegetables or fruits that are produced here and taste very good.

Last edited by greenmount; 23.01.2015 at 19:30.
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  #111  
Old 23.01.2015, 19:24
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

I have many relatives who are farmers in Canada, my parents also farm in Canada.

Things I have noticed from my farming neighbours/parents/relatives (specific to my region of Ontario):

Save seeds thing, this seems to be a much bigger deal to people who aren't farmers. If you grow corn (most profitable crop almost every year), you don't save seeds because you plant hybrid crops for much better yield which you must buy seed each year for.
For other types, sometimes the farmers save seeds, sometimes not, it depends on the economics, cost of storage, water content of seeds and potential drying costs and yes, if you are allowed to store them.
Never has Monsanto come calling to 'oppress us'.

Soil tilling, you used to till soil at the end of the harvest and it would decrease the number of weeds next season, however you would lose lots of topsoil in the runoff. Then things switched more to no till, I believe helped a lot with Roundup ready crops because you plant your crops, then at the early stage spray with Roundup, then they grow big enough to shade out competing weeds. You save costs because you use less Roundup/herbicides which is another reason it is popular (popular with my relatives who farm and buy Roundup - they use less Roundup, but on the internet people always say they use more and I'm puzzled). Another thing I've started seeing is organic farmers claiming about using tilling as a natural method for reducing weeds but in general the farmers stopped practice of tilling because of the major topsoil loss that was happening!

Yields - my parents will plant certain crops that I suppose aren't GMO and are for sale in the European market. They make more money from them because the European market pays a premium and they give less yield to the GMO variety, usually around 20-30% less yield but I'd have to check numbers (the bushels/acre comparison either come from other fields where the GMO version of the crop has been planted or with relatives who farm in the neighbourhood). Whenever I talk with them about the years harvest I always feel a bit bad about that, 30% lower yield means 30% more land is needed to grow the same amount of food.

And the bad joke around my parents farming neighbourhood is you can spot the organic fields because they are full of weeds, some of them noxious weeds that spread. You are supposed to deal with them immediately, it's a community thing and also by law because once they gain a toehold in fields they go all around the neighbourhood (hmmm, like measles at Disneyland). I know this one organic farm near my parents farm is really bad, in fact I had to ask what crop it was (beans) because all I saw was a field of yellow mustard). Now the neighbours fields have much higher weed infestations and now the noxious weeds this farmer can't clean out are spreading around and this is increasing the amount of herbicide that neighbouring farmers must apply. Every time I see those fields I imagine the increase in farmland we must till to make up for the loss of yield.

I am a scientist, from what I have read in the literature if there are any differences in the produce (and when last I looked there were some studies that had slight evidence one way, some the other, but on average about the same), the difference is so slight from a health perspective that I find no justification. From my direct experience with farming (both industrial scale and small scale (we grew our own food on the farm and stored it, freezing or canning) I avoid organic and have no concern about GMO's.

I would be very happy to see the best of what exists in organic, mixed with the best of conventional agriculture to ensure we farm even less land and treat it even better.
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  #112  
Old 23.01.2015, 20:03
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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Actually I think the argument loses it's respectability the research has been carried out in the U.S. where funding for the research can probably be traced back to those with an interest in bio-tech.

A meta-study by Newcastle University found different results than that at Stanford. Link to pdf

Each is to their own beliefs---always a point, but if you're going to disregard a publication in a high impact journal from one of the top institutes in the world, I hope you have a good basis. (If true, that's the grounds for even a better pub!).

My questions of the absolute validity of the Barański pub are maybe not as extreme. First of all, your link is for a marketing document for Natural World Remedies Charity---if anything screams bias: That does.

The actual paper does not address any bias considerations whatsoever, the Standford paper does, and even mentions it in the conclusions. Edit: Oh wait, they did mention it:

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Conflict of interest: the senior author of the paper, C. L., owns farm land in Germany that is managed according to con ventional farming standards and a smallholding in Greece that is managed according to organic farming standards
If the Newcastle results were so strong and airtight, why didn't they publish it in a higher impact journal. I'm not the foremost scientist in the world, but I only publish in lower end journals when they were rejected from better ones, and definitely never for a comprehensive review.

Even within weeks there were Letters to the Editors of British Journal of Nutrition in rebuttal of this specific publication. That's never a good sign!

As for game changers----the review is new and has some good info in it, however lines such as:

"although the exact health benefits associated with reducing Cd intake levels via a switch to organic food consumption are difficult to estimate."

are still there.

Very good review pub for the orgo/bio side, but arguing that it is less biased than the Standford paper is BS and again a weakening argument.
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  #113  
Old 23.01.2015, 20:05
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

Also, I'm interested to follow the whole anti-oxidant story. If organic touts the benefits as being high in antioxidants will this mean that if antioxidants prove unhealthy then organic is bad? (kind of like how some bottled water companies used to brag about having the most radioactive water in Europe).

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives...ad_for_you.php

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives..._backwards.php

Evidence is still young, but I'd be interested to see how it develops.
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  #114  
Old 23.01.2015, 20:37
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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I have many relatives who are farmers in Canada, my parents also farm in Canada.

Things I have noticed from my farming neighbours/parents/relatives (specific to my region of Ontario):
I'm surprised you didn't mention weed reduction methods such as crop-rotation.

Just because a farm is organic - it doesn't follow that the particular farmer in question is knowledgeable about all farming practices.
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Old 23.01.2015, 22:05
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Re: Organic/Bio foods

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I'm surprised you didn't mention weed reduction methods such as crop-rotation.

Just because a farm is organic - it doesn't follow that the particular farmer in question is knowledgeable about all farming practices.
Crop rotation is so common I don't recall any time it hasn't been done. Maybe this farmer didn't do it, but I knew about crop rotation when I was a child so you'd have to be pretty ignorant to not know of it I think.

For example even as a kid I knew it was good to follow corn with soybeans or plant soybeans when your nitrogen was low and that corn is profitable but takes a lot out of the land and should be followed with beans or alfalfa.
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