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Dec. 22, 2008
The Great (Tomato) Debate
I was at the supermarket the other day and needed to buy some tomatoes. I was standing there, looking at the selection and noticed that the organic tomatoes were $1 more than the conventional tomatoes. Clearly, I had a few choices and a big decision to make:

1) Buy the conventional
2) Buy the organic
3) Skip the tomatoes altogether (they’re out of season)
4) Ask my neighbor if he would spare some of his abundance still ripening over our fence (a late season lot, yeah!)

The state of our economy has many people weighing in on the value of organic food and asking "is this worth it?” Buying foods that reduce our exposure to pesticides and have the potential for greater nutrition is so worth it.

Purchasing organic food is a long-term investment not only in our health, but also the health of the people and land that grows our food. Like most investments, you need to be in it for the long term to see payoff.

A recent LA Times article suggested that cutting out organic was a great way to cut down on the "household budget without seriously compromising the well-being of the family.'

What? Did I read that sentence correctly?

Some health professionals feel that “little” proof of harm is proof of safety. There are government determined levels for the amount of pesticides that can be in our food. We do have proof that even small exposure can affect our children’s development and the health of farm workers. But wait, a few things are wrong with claiming that any level of pesticide exposure is safe:

1) It doesn’t consider how the cocktail of chemicals may react in the body
2) Farm workers and farm neighbors are already at risk for excessive exposure

Back at the tomato stand, while the conventional tomatoes have short-term financial gains in my pocket today, we won’t know the true cost of this food until tomorrow.

I think I’ll go say hi to my neighbor. What choice will you make?
Posted by:
Tara, the RD
Food Matters

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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