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teajoteas said

What's your opinion on organic vs. non-organic?

Ever heard the phrase, “unintended consequences?” That’s exactly what’s happened to the organic movement. What began as a noble effort to get everyone eating healthier has turned into a marketing scheme that puts money into inspector’s pockets. Don’t get me wrong, I love organic when it comes to fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy or meat. But for processed foods…forget it. I truly believe you’re wasting your money. The nutrients are all but gone, and the difference is minimal. Unfortunately, tea has fallen into this trap. Nothing wrong with organic tea, but if you can’t taste the difference, you’re gaining very little. I would rather drink fresh tea that wasn’t organic than stale USDA certified organic tea that’s been sitting in a warehouse for 3 years. It’s all a big business now and has very little to do with the small farmers like it used to do.

I can ramble on and on, but I was wondering how many of you are tired of big companies marketing organic processed foods (tea included) to you?

23 Replies
WtFGoD said

i think organic food is the least of peoples worries when it comes to their diet(in general)

a decent analogy might be – its hard to focus on the dust on the floor if theres boxes of trash everywhere. with people eating tons of sugars/fats/salts in foods with little to no nutrition its hard to imagine whether or not some of their food being organic makes a difference.(may be a bigger issue in healthier lifestyles)

as far as the actual ‘Vs’ goes i think in general natural fertilizers may be better for the enviornment and provide the plants/food sources with a greater spectrum of nutrition than just chemical alternatives.

chemical pesticides/herbicides on top of being bad for the enviornment may also pose health risks to people, in general enviornmental polution that dirrectly effects us should be taken more seriously. ( this may effect processed foods even though there may be no nutritional difference )

i personally dont see organic being thrown around too much, not really sure what your reffering to in this respect. but i do see companys quite frequently try to decieve people into thinking their product is safer/better for them even when its obviosly not.

as just a point i would say that companies arnt in buisiness to keep people healthy or look after their wellbeing; some companies may feel they have a moral obligation but i think for the most part its just an afterthought to making money/promoting/expanding their product. cant blame them for doing what buisiness’s do, if its important enough eventually people will start paying closer attention and making sure their food is more nutritious/healthy.

a quote im quite fond of is “In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve” while this applys to government i feel it also applies to other aspects of life, and if you view the free market as a bunch of people voting with their wallets they are getting exactly what they deserve when they buy into the b******t companies feed them; more so than ever considering the amount of information we have available to us.

/rant over

Angrboda said

I agree with this. Particularly the point that it’s not just a question of what’s better for me, but also what’s better for the environment and healthier for the farmer who may not be able to afford/even understand the necessity of safety equipment when working with chemicals.

Whether I think I can taste a difference (I usually can’t) or whether I think the food is more nutritious (I don’t necessarily believe it is; it just contains less trace chemicals which IMO is not the same thing); that matters less to me.

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darky said

well i basicly try to buy loads off organic stuff, especialy fresh fruit :) Also i usualy buy tea from jingtea.com in the uk, and they have very very good organic tea’s and from small farmers if i’m not mistaken! almost always picking date and packing date on the packages and stuff.

For my other food the warehouse where i live in belgium got a fairly large selection of organic (bio) foods, from cookies to rice and pasta. so if the price is right i usualy go for the organic and fairtrade stuff over big multinational company’s. Even tough its not always better in taste but on par or the same, it feels better for myself :)

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I feel like the original purpose of the organic movement, to be gentler to the earth and to our bodies, to eat food the way it’s supposed to be, has been lost to people trying to make a buck. People who obsessed with making sure that everything that goes into their body is organic have lost sight of what it is really supposed to be about.

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Being a purveyor of Organic Tea, we’d have to (no surprises here) respectfully disagree.

In Defense of Organic

Organic nay-sayers are quite right to point out that the organic industry has boomed and, indeed, many people have gotten rich selling organic products. But to make the assertion that “organic” has become a scheme to put money in inspector’s profits or raise profit margins in general is mostly mistaken.

It goes without saying that the stringent organic requirements (and believe us, they are stringent—just look at the giant Organic System Plan that is required to sell our product as Organic) are necessary to keep the integrity of the Organic Label.

While most food labels mean nothing (i.e. “natural”) Organic has an extremely strict set of requirements that is tracked from farm to cup in the case of tea.

In Defense of Organic Tea

Tea, in particular benefits from being organic. We’ve all read the stories of how particular foods benefit more from Organic certification than others—for example it’s probably not necessary to buy organic bananas, because the peel collects all the bad stuff. On the other hand, leafy greens are prime candidates for organic production because the pesticides are absorbed by (and stay in) the parts that we eat.

What does this mean for tea? Tea is quite unique in that it is never washed (it cannot be). The leaves are plucked and processed (dried), and packed. So the first time your tea is ever washed is in your cup—it’s what you are drinking. Gross. This is why organic tea makes sense.

Here’s some reading:
http://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/press/releases/food-agriculture/2012/chinese-tea-banned-pesticides/

http://www.selamat.wur.nl/NR/rdonlyres/9371F2BA-A9D8-4974-AEDC-26C36C47AE76/120986/2PesticideResidueInTeaAndItsRiskAssessment.pdf

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1019431-independent-lab-tests-indicate-teavana-deceiving-consumers-about-pesticides-in-tea

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FoodContaminantsAdulteration/Pesticides/ResidueMonitoringReports/ucm228867.htm

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14924

**Truly there are hundreds of difference sources, from new-age organic well-wishing blogs to peer-reviewed academic studies, to FDA and USDA studies, that point to an unfortunate truth—tea (the non-organic kind) is often laced with really, really bad stuff.

Does it affect the taste? No, not really. Does it increase the price? A little, not much. The truth is, most of the burden of increased cost is passed to the government (not the consumer) in the form of Organic reimbursements. Does it affect your health—we certainly know that these chemicals are not meant to be ingested, and we know that non-organic tea often has dangerous levels of these chemicals, but to assert a 1-to-1 relationship between drinking non-organic tea and health risks would be difficult. But we’d rather not take the risk.

After all, when you look in your cup of (insert favorite tea here), don’t you want to know that

1) it doesn’t have some crazy chemical in it,

2) the workers in the tea fields didn’t have to spray those chemicals, and

3) at most it cost you an extra 5 cents for that very cup? We think so.

Cheers.

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I think organic is a good way to go if you can afford it. But I believe that it has gone a little overboard. I don’t mean it’s overboard when it comes to whole foods like fruits and vegetables. I mean it’s overboard when you have highly processed foods that claim to be all natural or organic when they don’t even resemble the foods they originally came from, or when the finished product are mostly additives and chemicals that barely contain a fraction of whole foods.

I know from farmers markets, that not all farmers (mostly small ones) don’t have the money to get the organic certification. As for tea, I would prefer organic or small farmers that are not labeled as such.

I’ve read an article several months ago stating that not all areas (speaking of China here) are known for using a lot of chemicals. If I can, I will try to find the article and post it here, but I make no guarantees since it was a while ago. But the article was stating that southern coastal regions where the human population is more dense is where more (and worse) chemicals are used. Again, I will try to find this article.

To your point Zim, I would point out that organic growers can call their foods organic without worrying about expensive certifications—so long as their organic sales are under 5000 a year—even when they are above 5000, the cost is only about 250 dollars

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teajoteas said

Invader Zim, your points are spot on with my original thoughts. Organic is good, but companies are taking advantage of consumer ignorance, and that really bugs me. To me, organic means from the earth in its natural form like fruits, milk or beef as opposed to certified organic waffle mix, which really has little nutritional value regardless of certification.

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emlbee said

It would be nice to buy tea from small growers that you knew what their practices were. But unless you are living in a region where tea is grown, that is basically impossible. I find organic tea is more likely to be high-quality in general, but I’m sure that’s not always true. If you want to consume something natural, I would go for an organic tea that is free of anything called a “flavor” including “natural flavor” which is a dubious label. Tea is grown in countries that do not have high standards for pesticide safety, and I think certified organic offers some level of protection against that.

All true

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Cavocorax said

I agree with you about organic being a way to put money in the inspectors pockets. My friend’s family sells organic eggs and there is only one inspector for the entire area that does the inspection. This person recieves HdTV’s and other fancy things for Christmas from the people on his route…

Angrboda said

Hm. I would call that bribery and report it…

Cavocorax said

I don’t condone it. I just know that that is how you get certified for this region
And if that place is corrupted, where else is? I think the idea of organic goods is great; I’m just a bit leery if the reality, especially when it involves bureaucrats.

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Lynxiebrat said

But considering waffle mix is undoubtably made with products that have been grown or contains an animal by product…some of us like to be reassured that those items are organic as well.

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Valerie said

Honestly, I don’t care whether something is organic or not. I try and eat healthy when I can afford to, and I try to buy local whenever possible. But just like with other dietary lifestyle choices like veganism, etc, if someone wants to live their life that way, more power to them. I just couldn’t care less to hear about it.

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