Is organic food really free from pesticides? – A Discussion

Came across this article “Is organic food really free from pesticides” written by Andy Ho, Senior Writer to The Straits Times.

Andy ended the article with this sentence:

“Anyway, rinsing any produce thoroughly gets rid of most pesticide residues. So eat lots of produce, whether organic or not.”

While I agree that with his comment of eating lots of (fresh) produce, I was really disturbed that Andy chose to make some claims throughout his article about organic food. Thankfully, Jun Jie of Quan Fa Organic Farm (local) has addressed it here. I highly recommend you check it out.

On a side note, I was really interested to discover who is this Senior Writer, Andy Ho, given that he is a Senior Writer of a reputable main newspaper that is widely read in Singapore.

A search “andy ho the straits times” yielded 67,800 results, of which 6th, 8th and 9th results from the top 10 results shed light on the writer.

SGVegan_Andy Ho

According to akikonomu, Andy Ho’s educational qualifications are: an MBA from Yale and a PhD from MIT and an undergrad medical degree.

2 years later, in 2007, Akikonomu left a comment on That Bottle’s blog post on “Who is this Andy Ho?”:

SGVegan_comment on Andy Ho

In 2012, there was an open letter to Andy Ho on The Online Citizen.

While the articles are a bit dated, it just sheds enough light on the background of the writer.

I will not delve into the details, but I would like to urge readers to check the background of writers, and not just accepting the claims and conclusions made without further research. 🙂


3 thoughts on “Is organic food really free from pesticides? – A Discussion

  1. Thx, Amanda. i only knew this article through u.

    i accept but not necessarily endorse andy ho’s 1st part of the article – the portion, for me, that ends with “[s]o “organic” is merely an ethical claim about the process, not one about the product”. i wonder how the process does not include the product. one may argue that the product is at the manufacturing process’ end. hence, the product is part of the process – what was before matters.

    “[f]or example, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Toxicology found that one must eat 787 conventionally grown apples in a day to ingest a toxic amount of thiabendazole, a synthetic pesticide used frequently at apple farms.”


    “[t]he US Environmental Protection Agency has found that the safe level of daily exposure for humans is under 0.004mg per kg of body weight.
    By comparison, that for glyphosate, a widely used synthetic pesticide usually sold under the brand Roundup, the safe level is below 0.1mg per kg of body weight”,

    andy stated that the organic industry in many states are laxly monitored in organic pesticides’ use. i presume that few – if any – comprehensive and checked figures for pesticide amount n such are availed. thus, i wonder why he opined that “[i]t is a little known fact that organic farmers use lots of pesticides that are described as “natural” or “organic”.”

    i hope andy provided some reason(s) to believe these assertions. studies’ findings can be from flawed research methodologies n such. The EPA might be too politically influenced for one’s trust.

    still, i learnt elsewhere that rinsing should reduce any harm to humans. So, i allow him that. i also thank andy for his helpful information of organic n synthetic pesticides n how they figure in organic growing.

    considering his points, i understand but not synonymously agree with his advice of a do-as-usual n perhaps a sensible or prudent approach. i wish he elaborated some points for consumers’ greater security n better decision-taking.


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