The question: Which is better for the environment and my health— organic pasta or organic butter?
STORE: New England-based natural products chain store
NFM: I’m on a budget and I want at least half of my diet to be organic. Which is better for the environment and my body: organic butter or organic pasta?
Store employee: I think probably the butter is more important because it is a fresh product and it’s right from cows. If you don’t get organic, it’s going to have hormones and antibiotics in it that the cow is going to receive if it’s not [raised] on an organic farm. Out of the two, I would do the butter over the pasta even though a lot of our pastas are organic too.
Comment: Despite making claims that all conventional butter manufacturers use hormones and antibiotics, the employee exhibited satisfactory knowledge on the topic. He was unsure of which specific product would be better for the environment and healthier to eat, but he did explain successfully that generally, organic butter is better than organic pasta.
According to Steve Hoffman, development and communications manager at Boulder, Colo.-based The Organic Center, conventionally raised cows often are treated with growth hormones, antibiotics and feed grown with pesticides and containing genetically modified soy and corn. In turn, traces of pesticide residue can seep into milk and milk products.
Currently, genetically modified wheat is not available, but according to Hoffman, the biotech industry is preparing to introduce GM wheat to the market and, when it does, the majority of wheat will be derived from GM sources.