Getting to the Bottom of “Organic” – An Unexpected Sweet Potato Experiment

Do you ever wonder, “What is the difference between whole sale organic and health food store organic?” The first thing that comes to my mind is price and convenience. Some people love a good stroll at their local farmer’s market while others prefer to get their grocery needs filled in a one stop shopping location. But did you ever think that your organic produce at the grocery store could be something to question too?

Fourth grader Elise did a science experiment with sweet potatoes to see if they would sprout in water. Her results were not what she expected. And she asked her local grocery store clerk an interesting question about her sweet potato sprouts (or lack thereof).

I know organic and local is best, but I never realized the dramatic difference between local produce and store bought produce until I watched the video above.

A little tip I heard is if you cannot include all your produce purchases to be organic, make your root veggies organic because they soak up the most chemicals.

In Elise’s Potato Project, she mentions that the organic sweet potatoes at her local grocery store are sprayed with bud nip. The Pesticide Information Project says that Chlorpropham, also known as bud nip, is used to inhibit potato sprouting, and it may cause irritation of the eyes or skin.

Now I’m not saying go on a food strike from buying organic produce from you local market, but just be aware of practices and get informed on making the best choice for you and your family. And scrub those veggies!


Speak your mind?

What are your thoughts on the video and “organic” practices? What is your experience with shopping for your fruits and veggies? I would love to hear them. Maybe your experience will inspire and enlighten another reader.

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14 Responses to Getting to the Bottom of “Organic” – An Unexpected Sweet Potato Experiment

  1. Ratchet January 9, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    She doesn’t say that the organic is sprayed with bud nip but the non organic. She then bought organic to have the vines grow. Your article is directly incorrect to the video; it’s in full support of organic food.

  2. Jackie January 20, 2014 at 3:52 am #

    It was the ‘normal’ that was spayed, not the organic. Even if you did scrub ’til the veg was just tiny, you’d still have the chemical in IN the veg. The chemical only extends the life of the ‘fresh’ produce, it doesn’t add anything remotely worth while health wise to the veg.

  3. Bob February 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    The whole “science experiment” is an obvious hoax. Try repeating her experiment and you will not get the same results. Heck, two sweet potatoes from the same organic, non bud nip sprayed batch may sprout at greatly varying rates.

    • Melody May 10, 2014 at 11:36 am #

      I just did this experiment with my 3rd grader. We got the same results.

  4. Amanda February 11, 2014 at 4:24 am #

    This little girl’s experiment is absolutely false. There is nothing dangerous with the chemical being used and, in reality, it’s very important.

  5. MM May 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

    Just FYI… My organic sweet potatoes from Door to door organics, refuse to sprout, but the regular potatoes are ok…. and I call BULLSHIT that there is nothing wrong with chemicals on the food… I buy organic for a reason.

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  7. Taeleyn December 6, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Ah, the disinformation age, ain’t it grand? While the kid is cute, she’s no scientist, or actual potato farmer:

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  12. Michael Hayes April 15, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

    Before you empty your veggie crisper and run off to the nearest organic market, consider this. While she may be cute as a button, her assessment of the toxicity of chlorpropham is VASTLY exaggerated and her final thoughts on it’s possible link to cancers is not supported. A look at the research tell us this: the EPA classifies chlorpropham as Group E (non-carcinogenic) and they, along with peer reviewed research categorize it as having a low-level toxicity profile. In fact, no toxicity is found at levels of consumption less than 1000 mg. per kilogram of body weight per day. That means I, for example, have to stay below 84,000 mg. per day. When you consider that 1 pound of peeled potato will expose me to about 3 mg., I think I’m safe. In addition, studies have shown that washing removes up to 43% of the residual chlorpropham, and peeling removes up to 98%, despite the claim that we can’t rid the sweet potato of it. We also need to recognize that organic growers also use herbicides, pesticides and other “treatments.” A common substitute for chlorpropham is clove oil or, more specifically, its active ingredient phenylpropene. The latter, if consumed in similarly ridiculous quantities is also toxic with effects including intestinal bleeding, convulsions, and liver or kidney failure. So, are organics better for you – maybe not. Are they less bad for you – maybe not. Will they cleanse your body of potential toxins – no (after all, pretty much everything is a potential toxic). What they will cleanse you of is more of your income. And don’t take any of this to mean that there aren’t other good reasons to support local organic growers. I think there are.

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