The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

The Halo Around "Organic Food" is BS

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/31/2012 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,013 times Debate No: 26758
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (1)




Round 1: Accept the challenge of proving that organic food is better.
Round 2: I provide my views, you provide your views.
Round 3: Rebuttal
Round 4: Rebuttal of Rebuttal
Round 5: Conclusion


I accept the challenge.
May both of us enjoy this debate and let's begin.
Debate Round No. 1


I will use these two videos as the basis of my argument.
  • BS is fertilizer for organic crops [1]
  • No increase in nutritional value [2]
  • Hormones in milk is the same organic or normal.
  • They taste the same
  • There is no scientific evidence that pesticide and herbicide residues are a cause of cancer in the US [3]
  • 1 cup of coffee > 1 year's worth of synthetic pesticide
  • synthetic pesticides are potentially safer [4]
  • takes significantly more land that it would only feed 4 billion people
  • just thinking something is organic makes it taste better





And finally:


I thank Pro for initiating this debate. As con, I will be adopting the position of defending Organic food.

Before we start discussing the benefits offered by organic food, it is essential to understand what organic food is.

According to Mayo Clinic, the word "organic" refers to the way framers grow and process agricultural products. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don"t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease.[1] More than often, people tend to equate word "organic" to "natural". However only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labelled organic. Terms such as "all natural" may not be the same as "organic." [1]

Part I - Basic Facts
Conventional Farming vs. Organic Farming
Promotion of Plant Growth
- Conventional: Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth
- Organic: Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants [1]

Control of Pets and Disease
- Conventional: Spray synthetic insecticides to reduce pests and disease
- Organic: Spray pesticides from natural sources; use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease. [1]

Control of Weeds
- Conventional: Use synthetic herbicides to manage weeds.
- Organic: Use environmentally-generated plant-killing compounds; rotate crops, till, hand, weed or mulch to manage weeds. [1]

Growth of Stocks
- Conventional: Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth.
- Organic: Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures - such as rotational gazing, a balance diet and clean housing - to help minimize disease. [1]

Part II - Reasons to Support Organic Food
Organic Foods May be Healthier Than Conventional Food
Although the answer is by no means conclusive, some study had concluded that organically produced food are better than conventional food in their nutrient content. The reason is that in the absence of pesticides and fertilizers, plants may boost their production of the vitamins and antioxidants up to 40% that could strengthen their resistance to bugs and weeds. Larger differences were found in milk, with organic varieties containing more than 60% more antioxidants and healthy fatty acids, which are generally considered to be healthy for human body. [2][3]

Organic Farming May Better Protect Environment
By definition, organic farming practices are designed to benefit the surrounding environment by reducing pollution and conserving water soil quality. In conventional farming, pesticides applied affect the surrounding non-farm communities with a variety of invisible chemicals, and water pollution by synthetic fertilize is the main culprit for dead zones in delicate ocean environments. [1] Organic farming prevent pesticides from being used thereby protecting surrounding environment. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic farming reduces pollutants in groundwater and creates richer soil that aids plant growth while reducing erosion. [4]

Fewer Pesticides Residues
Another reason to support organic food is its low level of pesticide residues. Conventional growers use pesticides to protect their crops from molds and various diseases. When farmers spray pesticides, this can leave residue on produce. According to USDA, organic produce carries significantly fewer pesticides residues than does conventional produce. Even if the residues on most conventional food do not exceed government safety thresholds, pesticides are nonetheless harmful to human bodies. [1] In the case of pregnant women and fetuses and children, even low-level pesticide exposure would severely affect their well-beings. If there is a way to avoid lower consumption of pesticides, people should be advised to pursue it. [5]

Free of Antibiotics
Many scientist are concerned about the antibiotics being given to most farm animals in conventional farming. Overuse of these antibiotics in animals would enable bacteria to develop resistance to them, thereby rendering them less effective in fighting infection.[5] Organic farming is largely free of antibiotics.[1]

Therefore, on the basis of above analysis, people shall be advised to purchase organic food.

Thank you

Debate Round No. 2


The ammount of synthetic pecticides people put on to plants in normal farming is insignificant compared to the ammount of carciogens that the plant produces on it's own. There are 10,000 times as much naturaly occuring carciogens in food than what pestcides deliver. [1] You said that the nauraly occuring "pesticides" are better for people. Well in the 1980's, a type of celery that produced it's own pesticide had to be taken of the market because it would cause rashes in people. The same thing happened to a potatoe that had a natural pesticide that caused cancer. The naturaly occuring are not safer, perhaps more dangerous, than synthetic pesticedes. [2] The nutritional content varies widely. As you said from your first resource, which included an inconclusive report, that some organic food contained greater nutritional value. There was another report that claimed the exact opposite. Quote: "The conventionally grown plums contained 38 per cent more of the potentially beneficial polyphenol compounds than the organically grown ones did." [2] This proves that the reasearch is inconclusive because it is very much a random draw. Some studies say one thing, some studies say another. Organic advocates pick and choose the ones that agree with them. The big picture, on the other hand, shows that there is just as much proof for it as there is saying it is worst for you. Organic food is not any more nutrutionaly benificial. If the synthetic pestcides are going to have any affect on you, wouldn't you think they would have more affect on the people who use them directly? On a study of 90,000 farmers, 65% directly used pesticed for over ten years. Being in such close proximity to the pesticides caused no increase in the percent of cancer. Quote: "Historically, most food-related diseases are due to bacterial and fungal contamination, so in terms of health consciousness, focussing on pesticides is probably barking up the wrong tree."[2] Also, due to much preassure, syntheticly produced fertilzers, pecticides, ect are strictly regulated and significantly safer than they were 20 years ago. [3] There is no more evidence that organic food is safer than there is evidence that it is not, therefore, people only believe what they want to belive and organic food is BS.



BS is fertilizer for organic crops
What is wrong with fertilizer for organic crops? The source seems to support organic consumption rather than against it. I urge Pro to explain his positions.

Nutritional value
As mentioned previously, the results are inconclusive. Reports are rolling out each day to either support or against the contention that organic food is richer in nutritional values. By utilizing the same method of criticism employed by Pro, I could claim that those organic food deniers "cherry pick" the results that happen to agree with them. The main difficulty of making conclusive argument lies beneath the fact that human health conditions are, by no means, influenced by the food they consume alone. There is a range of factors such as various environmental, occupational, genetic factors could potentially inferring with the results. My solution to the problem is that each of us cite a scientific report and then we can cross-exam it. By doing so, we can avoid getting in to a source debate. Link should be posted in the "Comment" section in advance.

"The amount of synthetic food than what pesticides deliver."
The paper that Pro relied on was published in last century (in 1990). Paper can be found at In other word, it is too old. More recent report is preferable, if possible.

"You said that the naturally occurring "pesticides" are better for people"
No, I did not. My position is that man-made pesticides are harmful, so the fewer, the better. I did not compare man-made pesticides to naturally occurring pesticides. I never stressed the point that naturally occurring pesticides are safe or safer. It is not surprised that some plants produce more toxic substance than man-made pesticides. Cyanides, for example, are found in certain seeds and fruit stones.

P.S. Cyanide is highly toxic.

"Quote: The conventionally grown plums contained 38 percent more of the potentially beneficial polyphenol compounds than the organically grown ones did."

I did some source check and the original study can be found at

On page 44 (the only place that shows 38 percent), author states that: "For the organic and conventional fruit under tilled soil management, total polyphenol content was significantly higher (+38%) in conventional compared with organic plums, but results with respect to individual phenolic acids and flavonols varied greatly." The author does not stress that total beneficial polyphenol content is significantly higher since not all polyphenol is considered healthy to humans. Pro may misrepresent the information and his contentions therefore should be rejected.

Farmer Study
Since Pro did not provide the link of the cited study, I made attempt to retrieve the report myself. I find one report titled "Focus on Health: The Agricultural Health Study in North Carolina at;

Under "Health Issue" on page 2, author unequivocally states "Earlier studies of other rural communities indicated there may, however, be a higher incidence of certain type of cancers. For example, people living and working in the agricultural community may have a higher incidence of cancer of the skin and lip, brain, stomach, connective issue, and non-Hodgkin"s lymphoma and leukemia.

Another report, published in 2006 [1] also stress the point that "although the nearly 90,000 AHS participants are generally healthier than the average person in North Carolina and Iowa, they are often at increased risk for certain diseases and injuries." Furthermore, author suggests that "Pesticides, although useful in protecting agricultural crops, may have harmful effects when farmers come in contact with them."

Moreover, in nowhere has report suggested that pesticides are safe to the farmers, and the conclusion in the report does not even remotely echo the assertion that "Being in such close proximity to the pesticides caused no increase in the percent of cancer." Report simply does not support Pro"s contentions.

"Historically, most food-related disease...wrong tree"
It is not entirely clear to me what constitutes "food-related diseases." Are food-related diseases identical to food poisoning? Do food-related diseases have to be acute or can be chronic? Cancer, for example, is not classified as "acute" disease in general and dietary certainly contributes to the development of cancer. Does cancer belong to this "food-related disease?" I urge Pro to explain his position in details.

"Also, due to much pressure...were 20 years ago."
The regulation is next to nonexistence about 20 years ago, therefore it is not surprised that today"s regulations are significantly safer. The main concern about the food safety is the amount of pesticides residuals. As mentioned in my argument, in the case of pregnant women and fetuses, even low-level pesticides exposure would severely affect their well-beings. The amount of pesticides residuals may perhaps be safe for consumption, but they can still be harmful. The fewer, the better, particularly in the case of pesticides consumptions.

Hormones in milk is the same in organic or normal
Milk may be an atypical case and not representative. Pro attempted to use a single case to invalid a general claim. The debate is about Organic food in general, not milk in particular. Besides, what does Hormones have to do with Organic food or Conventional food anyway?

They taste the same
Response: Many people report otherwise. [1]

1 cup of coffee > 1 year"s worth of synthetic pesticide
It is irrelevant. We are comparing organic food and conventional food. We are not interested in what is in a cup of coffee.

Pro misrepresented or misinterpreted the results of cited studies. Moreover, Pro distorted my argument in an attempt to discredit it. In addition, some of Pro"s contentions are made with no substantial evidence. In the case of Nutritional Value, I recommend that each of us presents a valid study and do the cross examinations. I also urge Pro to back his position up with more information.

Thank you.

Debate Round No. 3


TheBloodyScot forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


TheBloodyScot forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF