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Aren’t there differences in organic foods?

Dr. Tom Irons, Associate Vice Chancellor for Regional Health Services, and Professor of Pediatrics – Brody School of Medicine, Eastern Carolina University

Dr. Tom Irons, Associate Vice Chancellor for Regional Health Services, and Professor of Pediatrics – Brody School of Medicine, Eastern Carolina University


Dr. Tom Irons, if you believe that there is no difference between organic and conventionally grown foods, then why do you choose to pay the higher price point for the organic food that you and your family love to eat?

Dr. Irons: I don’t believe I said that there is no difference between organic and conventionally grown foods. There are obvious differences. I believe that, provided that one is assured to whatever degree possible that conventionally grown food has been produced and maintained in a safe manner, there is no meaningful difference in safety or nutritional value. My wife and I sometimes choose organic food because we think it tastes better. At other times, we simply want to support our local organic farmers. They are our friends and we want them to succeed. But we support our local conventional growers with equal enthusiasm.

Let me be clear on one thing: The great majority of food that we eat is conventionally produced. A couple of Saturdays ago Carol and I decided to make a roasted tomato minestrone. Recognizing that by roasting the tomatoes we would bring out much more flavor, we opted to use low-cost, usually bland-tasting roma tomatoes. The recipe also called for a head of white cabbage. Our produce aisle had an organic head and a conventionally grown head. The organic cabbage was $8.00 and the other $4.00. We used the $4.00 cabbage. I suppose if I were a wealthy man, I might have done otherwise. But the soup was absolutely delicious.

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