The Costs and Benefits of Buying Organic Food
"At first blush, [nutrition] isn't the only reason people go organic," says Libba Letton, spokesperson for Whole Foods Market. "Our customers don't buy organic produce for what's in it, but for what's not in it."
What's not in organic food, Letton says, are the synthetic pesticides and herbicides used in the process of growing conventional produce. Organic farming relies on crop rotation, green-friendly manure and biological pest control. Rosenthal says the Food Standards Agency study that claims there's no nutritional benefit says nothing about how many potential toxic chemicals are in nonorganic food.
Letton points out that Whole Foods customers are not only buying organics to avoid ingesting toxic chemicals, but are also touting the benefits to the environment that come from supporting organic farming. "With organic food production, there isn't anything that goes into the soil or contaminates water supply during the growing process," she says. "Organic farming also is better for the workers by not exposing them to chemicals in the fields."
Is it worth it to go organic?