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Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

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Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Old 07-30-09, 08:23 AM
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Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Showtime, 9:00pm CDT

Organic Foods

Penn and Teller examine the organic food industry to determine if it is, as many claim, more nutritious, and better for the environment.
Could be another gem.

In one of those cosmic coincidences, this study was just published yesterday:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0729103728.htm

Organic Food Not Nutritionally Better Than Conventionally-produced Food, Review Of Literature Shows

ScienceDaily (July 30, 2009) There is no evidence that organically produced foods are nutritionally superior to conventionally produced foodstuffs, according to a study published July 29 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Consumers appear willing to pay higher prices for organic foods based on their perceived health and nutrition benefits, and the global organic food market was estimated in 2007 to be worth 29 billion (2 billion in the UK alone). Some previous reviews have concluded that organically produced food has a superior nutrient composition to conventional food, but there has to-date been no systematic review of the available published literature.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have now completed the most extensive systematic review of the available published literature on nutrient content of organic food ever conducted. The review focussed on nutritional content and did not include a review of the content of contaminants or chemical residues in foods from different agricultural production regimens.

Over 50,000 papers were searched, and a total of 162 relevant articles were identified that were published over a fifty-year period up to 29 February 2008 and compared the nutrient content of organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs. To ensure methodological rigour the quality of each article was assessed. To be graded as satisfactory quality, the studies had to provide information on the organic certification scheme from which the foodstuffs were derived, the cultivar of crop or breed of livestock analysed, the nutrient or other nutritionally relevant substance assessed, the laboratory analytical methods used, and the methods used for statistical analysis. 55 of the identified papers were of satisfactory quality, and analysis was conducted comparing the content in organically and conventionally produced foods of the 13 most commonly reported nutrient categories.

The researchers found organically and conventionally produced foods to be comparable in their nutrient content. For 10 out of the 13 nutrient categories analysed, there were no significant differences between production methods in nutrient content. Differences that were detected were most likely to be due to differences in fertilizer use (nitrogen, phosphorus), and ripeness at harvest (acidity), and it is unlikely that consuming these nutrients at the levels reported in organic foods would provide any health benefit.

Alan Dangour, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Research Unit, and one of the report's authors, comments: 'A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance. Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority. Research in this area would benefit from greater scientific rigour and a better understanding of the various factors that determine the nutrient content of foodstuffs'.

The study was commissioned and funded by the UK Food Standards Agency. The funder had no role in study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation or writing of the report. The review team held six progress meetings with the funder.
Next week: Taxes.

Now that's some bullshit!
Old 07-30-09, 08:30 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Well I don't necessarily buy organic, but I do try to buy stuff with less additives or without HFCS. That article doesn't necessarily address that from what I can tell, but maybe I just don't understand it.
Old 07-30-09, 08:39 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

I know nothing about the topic, but I must have an inner bullshit detector since I've never bought any food labeled 'organic' in my life.
Old 07-30-09, 08:40 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

I don't buy organic, but isn't one of the big selling points of it that certain pesticides aren't used?
Old 07-30-09, 09:06 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Organic food is not about nutrition. The nutrients in organic food are not going to be any different. Vitamin D in milk from a grass-fed cow won't be different than Vitamin D in a cow that is fed hormones and kept in a pen all her life.

Organic food generally doesn't use pesticides, doesn't pump its animals full of hormones, doesn't use a ton of corn derivatives and over-processed ingredients.

Unfortunately, the "organic" label means very little. For a farm to raise "free-range" chickens, all they have to do is have a small door/opening in their chicken pens. This opening only needs to exist once the chicks are a certain age. They could, if they wanted to, then walk out to a small corral that is outside. But since this door has been closed since they were chicks (and they are not-so-bright birds), they don't know they can walk outside. So in essence, there's no big difference.

Buying organic has almost nothing to do with the fact that the food is "more" nutritious. Apples are still apples.
Old 07-30-09, 09:15 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by Deftones
I don't buy organic, but isn't one of the big selling points of it that certain pesticides aren't used?
Yes, but that was not what this study was about. But I think many organic enthusiasts greatly exaggerate the dangers of pesticides. Dangers are very low when used according to instructions and benefits are great. Occupational exposure can be where the real danger lies and strict guidelines should be followed.
Old 07-30-09, 09:43 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by movielib
Yes, but that was not what this study was about. But I think many organic enthusiasts greatly exaggerate the dangers of pesticides. Dangers are very low when used according to instructions and benefits are great. Occupational exposure can be where the real danger lies and strict guidelines should be followed.
When I hear organic, that's what I think of. I think the problem is the catch-all label of "organic" has grown into become something far greater than it was probably intended to be. As for the nutrition difference between organics and non-organics, I'd never heard of that argument. Even by people that were into organic foods.
Old 07-30-09, 09:54 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Organic is more expensive, the reason to buy it is simply prestige.
Old 07-30-09, 10:03 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by Deftones
When I hear organic, that's what I think of. I think the problem is the catch-all label of "organic" has grown into become something far greater than it was probably intended to be. As for the nutrition difference between organics and non-organics, I'd never heard of that argument. Even by people that were into organic foods.
But organic promoters do, at least sometimes, claim organic is more nutritious.

http://www.organic-center.org/scienc...&report_id=145

"Nutritional Superiority of Plant-Based Organic Foods" Presentation at Ecofarm 2009
January 2009

Author(s): Dr. Charles Benbrook
Chief Scientist
The Organic Center

Well over 100 studies have been published comparing the nutrient content of organic and conventional food grown on similar soils in the same region. The results show that organic foods are nutritionally superior in about two-thirds of the "matched pair" cases, and moreover, the magnitude of the differences clearly favor organic production systems.
Old 07-30-09, 10:17 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by Groucho
Organic is more expensive, the reason to buy it is simply prestige.
And people only smoke to look cool. More generalizing misconceptions to come...
Old 07-30-09, 10:20 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by movielib
But organic promoters do, at least sometimes, claim organic is more nutritious.
In ANY study you have to check to see how the study was funded and what interest groups are manipulating the results. I am not saying this particular study was that way, or the study Penn and Teller looked at was...I am just saying you have to look at it. I am always leery of a claim that something is super good for me when it's the company/interest group who profits most from the said product behind the study and the results.
Old 07-30-09, 10:22 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by Deftones
When I hear organic, that's what I think of. I think the problem is the catch-all label of "organic" has grown into become something far greater than it was probably intended to be. As for the nutrition difference between organics and non-organics, I'd never heard of that argument. Even by people that were into organic foods.
True. It's always been about wanting foods that aren't treated with pesticides and chemicals that may be harmful if consumed over a life time. Penn and Teller fail epically on this topic if all they are doing is arguing against it from a stand point that nobody has ever tried to argue.
Old 07-30-09, 11:52 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by calhoun07
In ANY study you have to check to see how the study was funded and what interest groups are manipulating the results. I am not saying this particular study was that way, or the study Penn and Teller looked at was...I am just saying you have to look at it. I am always leery of a claim that something is super good for me when it's the company/interest group who profits most from the said product behind the study and the results.
doesn't really matter since most of the organic food is made by the big food companies. they bought up most of the organic food companies and kept the names for marketing and brand purposes. i don't remember who owns who but I know that Horizon Organic is owned by Dean Foods. Some of the other big names like Organic Valley are co-ops.

and these days the organic food industry uses a lot of the same production methods of the "regular" food industry. Milk and meat are two examples. 60 Minutes did a profile on some lettuce farm in california that grows organic lettuce. they pick 17000 pounds an hour

Last edited by al_bundy; 07-30-09 at 12:07 PM.
Old 07-30-09, 11:55 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by Deftones
I don't buy organic, but isn't one of the big selling points of it that certain pesticides aren't used?
my wife talks to the people at Whole Foods sometimes and they told her that for organic there is no pesticides. for the other stuff they sell it's "natural" pesticides like copper.
Old 07-30-09, 12:28 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by Groucho
Organic is more expensive, the reason to buy it is simply prestige.
And taste. Look at tomatoes for example. The ones you buy in a store are almost always crap. The "organic" ones grown in my garden actually taste good.
Old 07-30-09, 01:11 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Now, this is sorta hearsay, but my buddy's dad who has a farm in South Georgia once said that for organic companies to get the "organic" rating there were two big things they had to consider: 1 was that there had to be a certain number of germs or bacteria on the food (as I was told, easily achieved by having the workers not wash their hands) and 2 (maybe ironically) there had to be a certain number of bathrooms and hand-washing stations available.

Re: the free range chicken stipulation (little open door), I'd like to see some proof of that so that I can tell my parents and blow their socks off.
Old 07-30-09, 02:17 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by TLwizard
Re: the free range chicken stipulation (little open door), I'd like to see some proof of that so that I can tell my parents and blow their socks off.
You Tube and Google broken for you? I typed in "Truth about free range chickens" and had instant access to articles and videos. You pretty much just have to shove your head in the sand to not find the information you want.

Here is one video, spoilerized for disturbing content.

Spoiler:
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Z7Gbq3lkKwY&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Z7Gbq3lkKwY&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>


There's plenty more to find online.
Old 07-30-09, 02:19 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

buying locally grown is probably better (tasting and health-wise) than "certified organic"

why people don't frequent farmers markets is truly baffling. produce is ass-cheap and tastes much better than grocery produce.
Old 07-30-09, 02:42 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by TLwizard
Now, this is sorta hearsay, but my buddy's dad who has a farm in South Georgia once said that for organic companies to get the "organic" rating there were two big things they had to consider: 1 was that there had to be a certain number of germs or bacteria on the food (as I was told, easily achieved by having the workers not wash their hands) and 2 (maybe ironically) there had to be a certain number of bathrooms and hand-washing stations available.

Re: the free range chicken stipulation (little open door), I'd like to see some proof of that so that I can tell my parents and blow their socks off.
to get the USDA Organic label you have to go through a 3 year certification process where they check your soil, crops, etc.
Old 07-30-09, 02:43 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by dick_grayson
buying locally grown is probably better (tasting and health-wise) than "certified organic"

why people don't frequent farmers markets is truly baffling. produce is ass-cheap and tastes much better than grocery produce.
once in a while i go to the NYC Green Market at Union Sq and it's usually more expensive than the Whole Foods Market down the street. One time I bought bacon there from a local farm. it was like $10 a pound and after I got it home i read the ingredients and it was full of preservatives
Old 07-30-09, 03:54 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by dick_grayson
buying locally grown is probably better (tasting and health-wise) than "certified organic"

why people don't frequent farmers markets is truly baffling. produce is ass-cheap and tastes much better than grocery produce.
I agree. A lot of it is organic, just not cerified organic. We can load up on veggies for far less than any store. Of course, I live in Nebraska, so that may help.
Old 07-30-09, 04:04 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by aktick
I imagine the idea of "local farmers market" is a bit different in NYC than in central Wisconsin? I can get fresh fruit and veggies here from early May through September for dirt cheap, and it's generally better tasting than anything you could get at the store.
Agreed. The corn at these stands blows away anything you can get at a regular grocery store. I'm eating a tomato from a stand now and it is delicious. Tomatoes from stores pretty much always are awful.

I don't know if the stuff from these stands is organic and I couldn't care less.
Old 07-30-09, 04:33 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by movielib
Agreed. The corn at these stands blows away anything you can get at a regular grocery store. I'm eating a tomato from a stand now and it is delicious. Tomatoes from stores pretty much always are awful.

I don't know if the stuff from these stands is organic and I couldn't care less.

most of the local farms grow that is pretty much the same thing as organic, but they don't want to spend the money to get the label
Old 07-30-09, 04:34 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

Originally Posted by aktick
I imagine the idea of "local farmers market" is a bit different in NYC than in central Wisconsin? I can get fresh fruit and veggies here from early May through September for dirt cheap, and it's generally better tasting than anything you could get at the store.
there are a lot of farms outside NYC. my wife buys non-homogenized milk from grass fed cows for our son from Whole Foods that comes from a local farm here. A lot of times the milk is out of stock. a small organic store opened up close to us and their grass fed milk is also selling out all the time
Old 07-30-09, 04:52 PM
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Re: Penn & Teller Bull****: Organic Foods - 07/30/09

well this show has already worked and it hasn't even aired yet.

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