Does Organic Food Turn You into a Jerk?

Short answer: yes

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Are these strawberries organic? Is this omelette made with free-range eggs? Can you swap out the rice for quinoa? Is this kale locally sourced? Pesticide-free? Fair trade? Are the hazelnuts local?

The onslaught of questions from an enlightened eater can test the patience of even the calmest restaurant server.

And a new study shows that organic foodies’ humane regard for the well-being of animals makes some people rather snobbish. The report, published last week in the Journal of Social Psychological & Personality Science, notes that exposure to organic foods can “harshen moral judgments.” Which, to us, sounds like a nice way of saying that organic-food seekers are arrogant. But that seems rather paradoxical: organic eaters are more likely to seek benevolence in their food, so why don’t they seek it in their relationships? Well, according to the study, they tend to congratulate themselves for their moral and environmental choices, affording them the tendency to look down on others who don’t share their desire for pesticide-free living.

(VIDEO: Organic Taste Test)

“There’s a line of research showing that when people can pat themselves on the back for their moral behavior, they can become self-righteous,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Kendall J. Eskine, assistant professor of the psychological sciences department at Loyola University in New Orleans, told NBC’s Today show. Eskine and his team showed research subjects photographs of food, ranging from überorganic fruits and vegetables to fattening brownies and baked goods. He then gauged the primed eaters’ moral fiber with stories that warranted judgment, like one about a lawyer who lurks in an ER to try to persuade patients to sue for their injuries.

Reacting to the events on a numbered scale, the organic-food participants were more judgmental than those in the comfort-food category. They were also more reluctant when asked to volunteer time to help strangers, the study found, offering only 13 minutes vs. the brownie eaters’ 24 minutes. It’s like the group had already fulfilled its moral-justice quota by buying organic, so it felt all right slacking off in other ethics-based situations. Eskine labeled it “moral licensing.”

“There’s something about being exposed to organic food that made them feel better about themselves,” he told the Today show. “And that made them kind of jerks a little bit, I guess.”

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11 comments
TaraElliott
TaraElliott

The answer is most certainly yes. But the article failed to mention these dummies don't realize organic is not pesticide free but  uses MORE pesticide. It also is certainly not the environmentally conscious way to go as it uses more land mass and produces a much smaller yield. Organic farming is the bad choice all the way around. Unless your intent is to feel smug about your privilege. 

MidwestPride
MidwestPride

There are certain foods I actively seek organic and the least processed & farmed ie poultry & fish, but if I can't get it organic and not processed then it's okay. I won't die. My conscious won't keep my up at night about the torture a cow has gone through filling me up with "non-organic, non-humane & not local guilt" BS. I won't wake up in the morning and sob like a little b*tch. I won't pass a McDonalds or fast food chain joint and shake my fist and yell "YOU ARE WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WORLD!" I won't picket in D.C. to protest about animal cruelty or whatever angers food snobs. 


When I was in university I shopped at the local Super Wal-mart  -- there I bought the vegetables and food I needed for four years. I don't think I increased my chances of cancer by consuming their products. In fact, I found many scholarship athletes shopping there as well. I would also bet  many world class athletes that are on the verge to compete in the Olympics could really care less about the organic movement and just really care about eating healthy, and really care more about getting the right fats and sugars in their system.

rolldownyourback
rolldownyourback

i prefer organic, and though i am not a snob, i do agree that organic-ers tend to be quite snobby. with that said... its very strange to read these comments and see you consider non-organic farming "normal". fifty years ago everything was organic. you didnt have to label it, there was no hubbub about organics. now lets see,..sure times are changing, gotta keep up. but almost half of americans develop cancer in their life time, and cancer blew up in the 70's. uhh.. somethings matching up here. maybe organic foods and modified foods are similar in nutrients, okay got it. but along with the goods, modified food is also bringing the bad. dont believe everything you read. 

MelM
MelM

To label people that eat organic food as "Jerks" is completely ridiculous. I am a proud supporter of organic food and will be till the day that i die. Calling someone a jerk because they eat organic food is childish. There is one thing that this article did get right about the organic community. We do congradulate ourselves for our moral and environmental decisions, because we are doing the right thing. Choosing all organic foods shows that you care about your health and the environment.

Eustace
Eustace

Organic Foods are the best food option available for us and people definitely like to prefer these foods as these are healthy foods so it is better not to found that always having organic foods is not so healthy. So we should choose our organic food carefully and maintain a healthy life style. The above information is extremely helpful in providing different facts.

http://gsplantfoods7.blogspot.com/2013/06/orchid-fertilizer-why-you-need-this.html

Umbyboy
Umbyboy

@TaraElliott as your statement is false, would you at least support it with some evidence? Obviously anyone can talk rubbish but doing so without any evidence is just stupid.

MidwestPride
MidwestPride

"50 years everything was organic"


I have strong feeling it wasn't, at least in the USA. Sources, links and EVIDENCE please.

FrankHabets
FrankHabets

@MelM 

I have to agree with the two posters above.
Organic food is no better than conventional, and often worse, especially if you factor in the greater use of pesticides, larger carbon imprint,  and damage done to the land.

seborgarsen
seborgarsen

@MelM It's a science study, there's nothing childish about it. Choosing all organic food does *not* show that you care about anything but yourself and that you are a self-righteous prick. Organic is more polluting, less efficient and worse for your health (mycotoxins, e-coli) than normal farming and is wholly based on a logical fallacy. As mayday said, you just proved the article's point perfectly. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-nature

mayday
mayday

@MelM You just proved his point in a most decidedly stellar way!