The Assumer Consumer

Today, I urge you not to be an assumer consumer.  It is a phrase that I thought of last night and I would define as “one who buys without prior research”.  Let me paint the picture as it relates to grocery shopping.

You are at Hy-Vee picking up supplies for your daughter’s birthday party.  You tell her she can pick whatever type of juice box she wants to share with her friends.  She decides, and as you pull the 10-pack of fruit punch off the shelf, you see a label.  It says “made with no high fructose corn syrup”.  You shrug and throw it in the cart.  That’s fine.  The real kicker is your decision the next time you buy juice boxes.  Did you take a few minutes on the internet to find out if research shows high fructose corn syrup is really bad for you (read more here) …..or did you just assume, and now you feel as though you ought to buy the alternative.

The same holds true for the label on milk that reads something like “Our farmers pledge:  No rBGH”.  First, it is a pledge because there is no way they can actually test the milk, as all milk contains growth hormone (whether from a human, cow, goat, etc).  A glass of milk is a glass of milk.  Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, American Medical Associaiton, American Diabetic Association, and the National Institute of Health all have independently stated that it is safe to drink milk regardless of the label?  A glass of milk is a glass of milk.  Please do your research and make an informed decision.

Now, on to the organic market.  I need to pull myself in and not write 10,000 words and forget to make supper.  I’ll sum it up with this:  We don’t buy organic.  I urge you to discover for yourself the equivalent nutritional value of conventional vs. organic.  I urge you to learn what the USDA allows and disallows under the label “organic”.

Have you ever thought of it from the conventional farmer’s perspective?  We’re trying to feed a growing world here.  Organic farming is far less efficient, and every acre that is taken out of conventional production to provide food for the rich, is certainly not helping us to solve world hunger problems.

Lastly, no matter your decision to buy organic or not,  I can personally assure you that all farmers care about their land.   Seeing to the proper care of our land is vital to our livelihood.  We plan to someday pass these acres to our children, and dream that our grandchildren will also have the opportunity we have had.  We love it out here!

So, folks, add it to your to-do list:  “Research what I am confused about concerning food”.  Google!  A great way, especially if you live in a rural community, is to ask a farmer about what they do on their farm.  Also, check to see if your county is one of the many that celebrates a “Breakfast on the Farm”  in the next few months.  Move from being an ‘assuming consumer’ to an informed one.  Thanks for reading!

P.S.  This is easily my most controversial blog material yet.  Please feel free to comment.

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8 thoughts on “The Assumer Consumer

  1. Excellent idea of having everyone to use their own research to come to their own conclusion. We use IPM (Integrated Pest Management) on our apple orchard. We know of an organic apple orchard that sprays the trees every 2-3 weeks during the growing season. One chemical he uses is nicotinic acid. It is organic since it comes from the tobacco plant. That is not something I want on my apples. We sprayed a chemical once last year when a pest was stripping leaves off the trees and threatened to kill them. The organic issue is very complex to say the least.

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    • I have to say that I didn’t know that about apples. Like you say, the issues are complex. I’ll also admit that I probably should research lots of other subjects, too…like what it means when I read soaps are “free of this” or “free of that”.

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  2. I try and avoid any foods like bread, juice that have HFCS or other sugars as the first 2 or 3 ingredients. I buy rBST free milk just because its the cheapest one at Target and I buy organic (or from the food coop.) for my fruits and veggies about 75% of the time because of their not using chemical pesticides. They seem to taste better usually too. That could just be because if I don’t buy organic I’m usually buying from my Super Target too. 🙂

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    • I definitely agree that avoiding sugar-laden breads and juices isn’t wise. Certainly buy the cheapest milk and don’t feel guilty for doing so. As for the fruits and veggies, as long as you feel you have researched it to the point of developing an awareness of the issue, I can respect your decision. Thank you very much for being honest with me!

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  3. Good job. I think it would be splendid if bloggers who are concerned about the safety of their food supply would connect with actual farmers in their states and visit rather than just assume what marketers tell them.

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  4. So excited to find your blog, Rita!

    I do buy some organic produce when my budget allows, based on the “Dirty Dozen” ( http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214 ) because I don’t want to eat pesticide residue or feed it to my family… For example, I never buy organic bananas, potatoes or onions unless for some reason they are less expensive than the conventional because pesticides aren’t a huge problem with those, but I almost always get organic celery. I do agree that organic produce is cost prohibitive for many and therefore somewhat of a luxury item. My answer to organic production not being capable of feeding the world is to grow as much of our own produce with organic seed and no chemicals in the garden and then preserve it to use all year. Sometimes you have to take things into your own hands if you don’t like the options you’re presented with!

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    • Thanks for tracking down my blog! It has been fun to write, but time consuming! As for the organic thing, you are welcome to make your own choices….just trying to encourage people to research their decisions! I personally cannot wait for gardening season. Fresh beans and cucumbers!

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