Tuesday, August 19, 2003


A rule has been thought up by me. It is, that if someone challenges my viewpoint or responds to a question in the comments section, the disagreement or answer will become a primary blog entry for further comment refutation and discussion.

I want to start with the comments made by Paige on Man on Third Base.
"In fact, until we get more clarity about what the questioner really means, I'm going to bow out of the discussion."

My response is that it seems that Paige is being snippy. It is a classic "I don't know the answer, so kill the messenger" response. Not well reasoned.

Kevin provided his take on my blog entry regarding organic foods. He responded to my statement that "those folks buying organic products are just fools," thusly:
Though I do not generally purchase organic foods, there are many perfectly rational reasons to do so. First, one might not trust the "appropriate higher authorities" to decide whether certain pesticides are harmful. This doesn't require buying into any conspiracy theory. It might merely be that commercial farmers and the pesticide industry have "captured" the relevant regulatory agencies.

Second, the price of conventional food doesn't take into account the externalities that pesticides produce. If pesticides damage ground water supplies, that will not necessarily be reflected in the price of the foods being produced. So, perhaps those who purchase organic foods do so out of altruistic reasons.

Third, the quality of the organic produce at one store is not at all a representative sample of all organic food. It might just be that the store had a different distributor for organic as opposed to conventional produce. In my experience, you can find a variety of good and bad produce provided in conventional and organic forms.

I'm sure there are many other reasons to buy organic. I'm no expert. But there are certainly plausible reasons to do so.

Kevin, you start your contention with "I do not generally purchase organic foods" and end it with "there are certainly plausible reasons to do so" and you present three reasons why you generally don't buy organic foods. But it's plausible to do so. I'm confused by your logic.

The three points of your argument are (and please correct me if I'm wrong):
1) Farmers and pesticide companies are in cahoots with the government and can't be trusted,

2) Non-organic foods are bad for the environment, and

3) Different stores have different quality of products.

Not convincing. I still think that people who buy organic foods are fools. The quality is terrible and the cost is ridiculous.

[Update 2pm, 8/19] A reader, Peter (no address), provided the following:
Some folks are allergic to some of the pesticide residues. Like my ex was. Roundup in the neighborhood put her out of action for a day or 2. For her, buying organic was simply a preventative measure. Unusual? Sure. Inconvenient? Very. Overpriced? In my opinion, yes.

Quality of organic produce varied widely. But then produce varies widely across the USA as well. Why is it that produce purchased in California would last about a week in the fridge, but when we moved to Florida, produce purchased there would last 2-3 days before spoiling?

Well, thank you, Peter. I'm aware of what various allergies can cause and, frankly, I hadn't considered that some folks seek organic foods to avoid triggering an adverse reaction. Touch�! Incorporating your comment into my belief system, I revise my contention to "I think that most people who buy organic foods are fools."

Regarding the reason food spoils faster in Florida than California, hell if I know. I do know that much of the produce sold in Ohio comes from CA and necessarily is subjected to several days in transit. Maybe that has something to do with spoilage. As an aside, about something totally unrelated that I think is interesting. A local Aldi's grocery store lost power the other day along with all of NE Ohio and management decided to unload all of their perishable products onto refrigerator trucks. They lugged and loaded all night and when finished, yep, the power came back. What a kick in the stones, eh?

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