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Do you buy organic?

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by mm84321, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. HgaleK

    HgaleK Senior member

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    When shopping for ingredients, do you make a conscious effort to buy organic products? Do you limit organic purchases to things like fruits and vegetables, or will you even go as far as to buy packaged products that claim to be "organic" as well?

    I buy organic milk simply because I like the way it tastes (we blind tested this after I was skeptical about there being flavor differences). If I'm getting organic meat products, it's only because the organic part comes with cage free. I'll get organic if it's there and there's not a major price difference, but I don't actively seek it out.
     
  2. mm84321

    mm84321 Senior member

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    I buy organic milk simply because I like the way it tastes (we blind tested this after I was skeptical about there being flavor differences). If I'm getting organic meat products, it's only because the organic part comes with cage free. I'll get organic if it's there and there's not a major price difference, but I don't actively seek it out.
    If you must buy your eggs at the supermarket, don't bother buying organic ones; they are simply a marketing ploy. Cage-free doesn't really mean anything either. Seek eggs that read: "pasture-raised". Whole Foods sells a brand called Vital Farms. The color of the yolk, compared to conventionally grain fed eggs, is markedly more brilliant and possesses a deeper orange color due to a higher concentration of beta-carotene from their diet. I find the same to be true of the color of butter from grass-fed cows.
     
  3. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    Isn't organic grass-fed meet a bit of a sham?
     
  4. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Isn't organic grass-fed meet a bit of a sham?
    Grass fed meat is great if you like grass fed meat.
     
  5. mm84321

    mm84321 Senior member

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    Isn't organic grass-fed meet a bit of a sham?
    Grass-finished and grass-fed are two different things. The former indicating meat from a cow (or other variety) raised on grain for the majority of it's life, and then "finished" on grass during the last few weeks of life. The latter usually implies a diet of 100% grass, depending where you're getting it. While the difference in taste will be noticeable, grass finished beef is still certainly healthier than grain-fed, but still, not as potentially healthy a cow raised on 100% grass from birth to slaughter. Along with possessing a higher ratio of anti-inflammatory omega 3's, the level of conjugated linoleic acid has a lot to do with the health benefits of grass-fed beef, because of its likely chemopreventive quality*. The Argentinians, who eat quite a bit of red meat, have much lower rates of colon cancer and heart disease than Americans. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that this is partly due to the higher rates of CLA in the beef they are eating. While you can certainly argue over the flavors and taste between both grain and grass-fed beef, there is no debating which will ultimately be healthier for you. *http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC201014/
     
  6. HgaleK

    HgaleK Senior member

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    If you must buy your eggs at the supermarket, don't bother buying organic ones; they are simply a marketing ploy. Cage-free doesn't really mean anything either. Seek eggs that read: "pasture-raised".

    Whole Foods sells a brand called Vital Farms. The color of the yolk, compared to conventionally grain fed eggs, is markedly more brilliant and possesses a deeper orange color due to a higher concentration of beta-carotene from their diet. I find the same to be true of the color of butter from grass-fed cows.


    Well fack. I thought that cage free was a step over free range. I'll definitely be getting pasture-raised next go around. Thanks for the heads up.
     
  7. mm84321

    mm84321 Senior member

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    Well fack. I thought that cage free was a step over free range. I'll definitely be getting pasture-raised next go around. Thanks for the heads up.
    The terminology is labyrinthian in its very nature. The USDA has no specific definition of the terms "free range" or "cage free", and they leave them vague purposely so. A cage free chicken could simply refer to the door of the henhouse being left open during the day. It does not imply they are outside grazing and having access to fresh air--you know, the things chickens are supposed to do.
     
  8. Monaco

    Monaco Senior member

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    Isn't organic grass-fed meet a bit of a sham?

    You are right in the sense that truly grass-fed/pasture raised cows don't need organic certification. It is more of a redundancy than a 'sham'.
     
  9. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    No, I do not.
     
  10. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Only buy organic when taking a trip to the farmer's markets in my Hybrid Escalade
     
  11. S. Magnozzi

    S. Magnozzi Senior member

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    If I am in a random place, yes. If I am shopping where I normally do, I trust their judgment. That is why I shop there, and they certainly see more stuff than I do.

    This is close to my approach as well. I always buy organic dairy and eggs however.
     
  12. NorCal

    NorCal Senior member

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    No. Sustainability would greatly benefit from technologies that increase crop yield, limit acreage devoted to farmland, and/or minimize fresh water use. Tossing poop instead of nitrogen based fertilzers onto crops does not make the world a happier place.

    Ignorance is bliss. Poop is a nitrogen based fertilizer and one of the major complaints about crops grown with petrochemical based fertilizers is that they require far more water per acre.
     
  13. mordecai

    mordecai Senior member

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    I usually buy organic, but my doing so is somewhat incidental. My favorite produce vendors and the farms I buy meat and eggs from put out organic products. I don't go out of my way to buy crap stamped with the word "organic" as certified by either the USDA or CCOF. Some things I buy such as wild mushrooms or wild caught fish cannot, I believe be certified as such.
     
  14. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    Grass-finished and grass-fed are two different things. The former indicating meat from a cow (or other variety) raised on grain for the majority of it's life, and then "finished" on grass during the last few weeks of life. The latter usually implies a diet of 100% grass, depending where you're getting it. While the difference in taste will be noticeable, grass finished beef is still certainly healthier than grain-fed, but still, not as potentially healthy a cow raised on 100% grass from birth to slaughter.
    this is a definition i'm not familiar with. in my experience (and i've done a bit of reporting on it for the last 10 years or so), all meat is grass fed until the last 6 months or so. Then the difference is whether or not it is "grain-finished". most meat is ... that is the classic, well-marbled American steakhouse flavor (see colicchio v. irena or whatever her name is). grass-fed beef tends to be much leaner and to have a different flavor ... to me, it's almost like lamb. this is not a value judgment. just different (but boy do i like a well-marbled prime rib). there are also issues of animal husbandry involved as feedlots, where the cattle are grain-finished, tend to be pretty nasty places, both for the cattle and for the surrounding environment.
     
  15. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    organics is a really complicated question. in the first place, you have to differentiate between whether you're talking about organic principles or the "organic" label as it is administered by the USDA. the differences are too great to get into in a single post, but a few stray thoughts from someone who has been involved in this issue for a long time:
    1) "organic" in either context does not mean chemical free. it just means grown using approved chemicals. and sometimes products that are chemically identical can be organic-approved or not depending on how they were produced. like i said, it's complicated.
    2) there is no evidence of any consumer difficulties--either long-term or short-term-- from eating non-organic produce. there are studies that indicate that some of the chemicals (sigh: both organically approved and not) can be harmful if you are exposed in large enough doses (another sigh: almost anything is harmful enough in large enough doses ... there's a saying in epidemiology that it's the dose that makes the poison).
    3) this is not to say that organic is a scam. There have been and continue to be clusters of reported health problems among farm workers from exposure to agricultural chemicals (note that these tend to be in cases where they were used in non-licensed ways).
    4) IF YOU STILL PREFER TO BUY ORGANIC, to complain about the price is hypocritical. Organic crop yields tend to be anywhere from 15% to 30% lower than conventional. The difference has to be made up somewhere since farmers don't get a break on land prices just because they're growing organic.
    so what do I do? in most cases, i buy on flavor. great flavor in produce only comes from careful farming and careful farmers do not overuse agricultural chemicals. in some cases, this means buying from organic farmers or the organic section, but most often not.
     
  16. DerekS

    DerekS Senior member

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    i buy organic celery....thats about it.
     
  17. mm84321

    mm84321 Senior member

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    this is a definition i'm not familiar with. in my experience (and i've done a bit of reporting on it for the last 10 years or so), all meat is grass fed until the last 6 months or so. Then the difference is whether or not it is "grain-finished". most meat is ... that is the classic, well-marbled American steakhouse flavor (see colicchio v. irena or whatever her name is). grass-fed beef tends to be much leaner and to have a different flavor ... to me, it's almost like lamb. this is not a value judgment. just different (but boy do i like a well-marbled prime rib). there are also issues of animal husbandry involved as feedlots, where the cattle are grain-finished, tend to be pretty nasty places, both for the cattle and for the surrounding environment.
    I'm under the impression that most cattle in America is raised on grain, to fatten quicker, unless stated otherwise, and finished on grain as well. The idea behind grass-finishing, or pasture-finishing as it's called within the industry, is to produce a product that will be geared more towards the conscious consumer. As more consumers seek meats produced in what they believe to be more humane and environmentally sustainable systems, more producers are entering the natural and organic markets to meet the rising demand. Pasture-finished beef is one of the fastest growing demand sectors in the entire food economy In 2007 the USDA established a standard definition for grass-fed meat that requires cattle have continuous access to pasture, and fed no grain. So, grass-fed, as I understand it, is 100% grass, and grass-finished is a bit of both. Undoubtedly, people will be confused by the terminology. Some comments indicated a need to distinguish grass (forage) fed and grass-finished categories; however, while participating in the grass (forage) fed claim listening session, the participants concluded the addition of a grass-finished category would only confuse consumers and lessen the meaning of a grass (forage) fed claim. The participants indicated the addition of another category to the claim would cause confusion in the wholesale and retail marketplace. http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/E6-7276.htm
     
  18. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    sorry, i don't think that's accurate. quoting from grass-fed beef 101:
     
  19. mm84321

    mm84321 Senior member

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    4) IF YOU STILL PREFER TO BUY ORGANIC, to complain about the price is hypocritical. Organic crop yields tend to be anywhere from 15% to 30% lower than conventional. The difference has to be made up somewhere since farmers don't get a break on land prices just because they're growing organic.
    so what do I do? in most cases, i buy on flavor. great flavor in produce only comes from careful farming and careful farmers do not overuse agricultural chemicals. in some cases, this means buying from organic farmers or the organic section, but most often not.


    Just to add to your fourth point: Farmers can practice sustainability, and use little to no chemical fertilizers on their crops, yet still not be defined "organic". The whole process of USDA "organic" certification can be rather costly, and just because a farmer does not have this recognition, does not mean his farming practice and quality control is inferior to the farmer who has been granted the title. The key is to find a reliable farmer, and just ask him how he grows his crops. There are quite a few farms around me that aren't technically considered organic, however, they probably use less pesticides than that Earthbound Farm "organic" stuff you find at the supermarket.

    Also, if you're concerned about sustainability, buying a plastic container full of organic spinach that had to travel at a constant 37° F from California to Connecticut, from harvest to sale, is sort of a contradiction to the whole term itself.
     
  20. mm84321

    mm84321 Senior member

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    sorry, i don't think that's accurate. quoting from grass-fed beef 101:

    Which part? What you quoted is the definition of grass-finished beef, which I agree with.
     

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