The Organic Food Myth
The researchers found that many organic products actually travel great distances to get to the grocery store. As a result, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by transporting organic produce is equivalent to the amount expended to bring the same quantity of traditional fruits and vegetables to market.
Although eating organic foods might be better for your health, researcher Vicki Burtt suggests that when buying green, you should consider the “food miles,” defined as “the distance food travels from the field to the grocery store.”
However, two Carnegie Mellon researchers, Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews, argue against that consideration: “despite all the attention given to food miles, the distance that food travels is only 11 percent of the average American household’s food-related greenhouse gas emission.” To save on gas emissions, Weber and Matthews suggest consuming fewer dairy products and eating less meat.
A report released by an advocacy group known as the Organic Center claims that organic foods are better for you than conventionally produced products. A New York Times article written in response to the report argues that there is simply not enough scientific evidence to back up that claim. However, the article quotes a plant scientist, Arthur R. Grossman of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who believes that produce grown without chemical fertilizers probably is more nutritious: “I think it’s likely that plants grown with minimal intervention by the farmer are chemically more complex.”
The Mayo Clinic provides a number of issues to consider when deciding between organic versus commercial products, including nutrition, quality and appearance, pesticides, environment, cost and taste.