Skip The Organic Label For Onions And Avocados

When food is labelled "organic", it's a tricky thing to determine the meaning. But one thing to consider when shopping is skipping any kind of organic label for onions, avocados, and most other foods with a durable shell or peel.

Photo by Darwin Bell.

The editors of Men's Health post at the Slashfood blog on seven supermarket "rip-offs". Among them are onions and avocados, due to the basic nature of their consumption:

The Environmental Working Group, an organisation that studies pesticide contamination, ranks onions and avocados as the most pesticide-free vegetable and fruit, respectively-even when grown conventionally.

In fact, as a general rule, anything you have to peel before you eat (such as bananas or garlic, for example) is relatively low in pesticides. If you want to eat organic, splurge on produce with permeable or edible skin, such as peaches, lettuce, and apples.

Among other rip-offs reported by Men's Health: "Five-Hour Energy" (it's mostly just expensive caffeine), gluten-free baked goods (unless it's a medical issue) and tenderloin steak (rare, but not all that tasty).

7 Supermarket Rip-Offs [Slashfood]


    Sure the produce may not contain much pesticide. But if you want to avoid contributing to pesticide pollution, etc., buying organic is still a way to avoid that.

    Also people may be buying organic foods to avoid consumption of GMOs or irradiated food.

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    I work with a lot of ecologists and they see the direct effects of pesticides used on Australian farms - the different functioning poisons wipe out a lot species of amphibians, fish, small mammals and micro organisms at the bottom of the food chain.

    Most people I know who eat organic do it because they don't want pesticides and herbicides reducing biodiversity further than what agriculture already does.

    Yeah, pesticides on the actual food aren't the only reason to buy organic. Pesticides in waterways and as a health hazard to farm workers are other reasons to choose organic.

    The Skeptoid post isn't that enlightening either - the USDA organic label is widely acknowledged to have been set up by agribusiness and waters down organic principles to the point of being useless. GMO is another one where I'm surprised that Skeptoid doesn't acknowledge the lack of peer-review of Monsanto's studies. For someone who claims to be a skeptic, he doesn't look much beyond the surface. Just cos the reports are put out by people wearing lab coats, doesn't mean that they're rigorous, statistically significant or peer reviewed.

    As a rule of thumb, treat ANY food from a supermarket the way you would treat McDonalds. Okay for a treat, but you wouldn't want to eat it every day. Try farmers' markets, organic grocers and butchers. There are a lot of reasons supermarket food is bad, but here's a few: 1) pesticides, herbicides, hormones and other drugsā€”it's not that easy to tell what's in there and labelling laws are generally pretty lax; 2) you're supporting a monopoly that pushes down farm gate prices, discriminates against domestic farmers and creates conditions of poverty for farmers in "developing" countries; 3) industrial agriculture is the biggest contributor to carbon emissions, environmental degradation and loss of world biodiversity. Supermarket chains, for purposes of "efficiency" are simply outlets for that industry and if you redirect your money to small-scale localised agriculture you'll not only get better food, but you'll be supporting a sustainable and effective food system that doesn't starve half the world just to make some agribusiness and retailing CEOs very wealthy.

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    1: Just because certain grown foods don't need pesticide treatment does not mean that pesticides aren't used on them. Apples are an example of a heavily treated fruit.
    2: Onions are a temporary crop. Just because they are not treated with pesticides doesn't mean that the crop produced in the same field the year(s) before hasn't been.

    yeah, but doesn't pesticides get absorbed into the food as it grows. It may not be on the surface, but it's definitely in there.

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