“The Organic Hepatitis Outbreak: We Need Organic Field Testing,” by Mischa Popoff.
How safe are organic foods, especially when compared to conventionally grown varieties? Not as safe as many assume. A recall has just been announced for certified-organic berries sold at Costco. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 79 people in eight states have contracted hepatitis A, a debilitating disease that can last for weeks or months, and even be deadly, after eating Townsend Farms frozen berries bought at the box store retailer. The specific item in the crosshairs—Organic Antioxidant Blend Frozen Berry and Pomegranate Mix—was apparently purchased in April. Read the full article on Genenetic Literacy website.
“The Organic Hepatitis Outbreak: We Need Organic Field Testing,” by Mischa Popoff.
How Wrong Is The Latest “Dirty Dozen” List? by Steve Savage.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) says that it “helps protect your family from pesticides.” The purpose of this Applied Mythology post is to “help protect your family from dangerously misleading information from the EWG.” Each year since 1991, the USDA has been publishing the results from a large-scale pesticide residue monitoring program called the PDP. Each year, a different set of crops is chosen and samples are purchased from regular stores and tested. Year after year, the results of those studies confirm the safety of the food supply. Year after year the EWG misrepresents the data to say otherwise. Read the full article on Science 2.0.
“Surprising Junk Science on FOX News,” by Angela Logomasini.
News stories trumping junk science are common, but I expect better from FOX News, which claims to be “fair and balanced” and hosts great shows like STOSSEL. And they’ve run some of my commentaries, which I appreciate. That’s why I am perplexed by some FOX reports on environmental issues, many of which seem to peddle junk science pushed by activists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Choosy moms choose…” by Anastasia Bodnar.
On Twitter the other day, I was told that “moms choose organic” for their kids. I’m a mom (almost) and I don’t choose organic. Personally, I dislike the implication that I am doing wrong by not buying organic and I think it causes harm to spread such an idea because it might discourage people from eating healthy foods that don’t have that label (or encourage people to eat junk food just because it’s labeled organic). Also, organic is a small percentage of food and beverage sales in the US (4% overall, 11% of produce¹) so it’d be impossible for very many moms to be choosing organic exclusively or for even part of their diet. Read the full article on The Biofortified Blog.
“The Cult of Organics,” by Julie Gunlock
At a playdate with a group of mothers, I once horrified an impossibly hip, young mom by telling her I refused to eat organic food because it was too expensive and that I felt I wouldn’t be buying a better product. The look of shock on her face made me wonder if I had suddenly experienced a Janet Jackson-esque wardrobe malfunction. After glancing down to make sure I wasn’t flashing anyone (and to check that Justin Timberlake wasn’t lurking behind a bush), I tried to calmly explain my position on organic versus conventionally grown food. Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Why You Shouldn’t Buy Organic,” by Jayson Lusk.
Everywhere you turn, you hear “organic is healthier”, “organic is greener”, or “you absolutely MUST buy organic.” It’s not a question of whether we want to eat healthy, environmentally friendly food — who doesn’t want that? The question is whether organic lives up to the hype and whether it’s worth it to pay a hefty premium. One of the problems with organic is that few shoppers know what the term really means, and they project onto the nebulous word all their hopes and dreams of good eating. Despite what many believe, organic doesn’t mean food from small farms, produced without pesticides, or grown in the USA. Read the full article on Huffington Post.
“No, Cows Don’t Make Fertilizer,” By Steve Savage.
Fertilizer that comes from cows or other animals does not really originate with them. Manure from cows and other animals has been used as a crop fertilizer for millennia, and it is still used today for about 5% of US crop acres and for a high proportion of organic acres. It is often spoken of as an alternative to “outside inputs” for crops and as a superior option relative to “synthetic fertilizers.” … But the animals didn’t “make” any of those nutrients. For instance the ~2% nitrogen in cow manure came from whatever they ate (grass, corn, soybeans…) and those crops, except for the soybeans, were mostly fertilized with “synthetic nitrogen.” Read the full article on Science 2.0“S
“Prevention Magazine: Preventing Informed Health Choices,” by Angela Logomasini.
It’s growing increasingly difficult to find reliable health advice. In the past, I thought Prevention magazine was a good source, but they seem to have fallen prey to dangerous junk science and selective reporting. Consider just a few examples of their questionable claims: Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“Organic Pesticides: Ask Someone who Knows,” by American Council on Science and Health.
As you may recall, yesterday’s Dispatch covered a distorted, alarmist story on the harms of pesticides. Will Westerling, a licensed Pest Control Advisor in the State of California, wrote in with his views. “As a licensed Pest Control Advisor in the State of California who manages several thousand acres of both conventional and organic fruits and vegetables I can assure you that there is no shortage of organic pesticides being applied to organic crops…” Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“The Pesticide and Cosmetic Pests are Back,” by American Council on Science and Health.
As the year comes to an end, the scares keep coming, today — as often before — in the form of pesticides and cosmetics. These alarmist stories are simply baseless and raise needless consumer concerns based only on the precautionary principle. Read the full story in ACSH Dispatch.
“Rachel was Wrong: Agrochemicals’ Benefits to Human Health and the Environment,” by Angela Logomasini.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of biologist Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, which argued that man-made chemicals represented a grave threat to human health and the environment. Using harsh and unscientific rhetoric—which was rebuked in the journal Science magazine shortly after its publication—Carson postulated that man-made chemicals affect processes of the human body in “sinister and often deadly ways.” History has proven Carson’s claims wrong. The adverse impacts of pesticides on human health and the environment are often greatly exaggerated and history shows that these risks can be managed to ensure substantial net benefits. Read the study on CEI.org.
“Canada’s organic food certification system ‘little more than an extortion racket,’ report says,” by Adrian Humphreys.
Inside the enormous Whole Foods Market in Oakville, west of Toronto, a red and yellow streaked Honeycrisp is plucked from the top of an orchard’s worth of apples in wooden crates near the entrance. A round sticker near its stem says: “Certified Organic.” At $7.68 a kilo, four of them cost $6.51. Firm, juicy and sufficiently tart, it’s a tasty apple, to be sure. But what does that sticker mean? It might mean a lot. And it might mean almost nothing. Read the full article in the National Post.
“Is Organic Agriculture ‘”Affluent Narcissism?’” by Henry I. Miller and Richard Cornett
As can be seen from the popularity of rip-off artists like Whole Foods markets, organic foods are popular. The U.S. market for organic produce alone was $12.4 billion last year. Some of the devotion from consumers attains almost cult-like status, which is why a recent article by Stanford University researchers that was dismissive of health or nutritional benefits of organic foods created such a furor. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Organic Food Worth it?” by Jeff Stier.
The federal government annually spends millions of taxpayer dollars promoting and regulating organic agriculture. Is it worth it? In a piece for Real Clear Science, I explain why pro-organic arguments made by the likes of popular television health guru, Dr. Oz, are just plain wrong: “Remember the large-scale study from Stanford last month that said that organic foods aren’t necessarily healthier? The study has spurred a raging debate between organic food advocates and skeptics who think conventional produce is just as safe and wholesome….” Read the full article on the National Center blog.
“Organic foods have fewer pesticides, aren’t necessarily better, influential pediatricians say,” by Lisa Morrison.
CHICAGO — Parents who want to reduce their kids’ exposure to pesticides may seek out organic fruits and vegetables, but they aren’t necessarily safer or more nutritious than conventional foods, the nation’s leading pediatricians group says in its first advice on organics. Science hasn’t proven that eating pesticide-free food makes people any healthier, the American Academy of Pediatrics said. Read the full Associated Press story in The Washington Post.
“Organic Oz: Overselling the Benefits of Organic Food,” by Vicki E. Alger
Not more healthy, but more expensive. That’s the basic conclusion of a recent Stanford University study on organically grown food. “There isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your health,” according to Dena Bravata, the study’s senior author. Read the full article on the IWF Blog.
“To be Organic or not to be Organic, Why ask the question?” by Sterling Burnett
For many years, environmentalists – many of whom seem to hate the very synthetic chemicals that make modern society, high standards of living and the modern “environmental chic” lifestyle possible – have teamed with a small but growing sub-segment of farmers to push for policies that treat ‘organic’ agricultural products as if they were special. Read the full article on the NCPA blog.
“Are Lower Pesticide Residues a Good Reason to Buy Organic? Probably Not,” by Christie Wilcox.
A lot of organic supporters are up in arms about the recent Stanford study that found no nutritional benefit to organic foods. Stanford missed the point, they say—it’s not about what organic foods have in them, it’s what they don’t. After all, avoidance of pesticide residues is the #1 reason why people buy organic foods. Yes, conventional foods have more synthetic pesticide residues than organic ones, on average. And yes, pesticides are dangerous chemicals. But does the science support paying significantly more for organic foods just to avoid synthetic pesticides? No. Read the full article in Scientific American.
“Vegetarianism: The Future Of Food For Poor People,” by Hank Campbell.
What would the world look like with 7 billion people and no way to scientifically have created better ways of producing food? A lot of poor vegetarians, that’s what. And only rich people eating meat. Organic food corporations love to claim that their process is ‘sustainable’. Vegetarians love to claim that meat is both unethical and bad for the planet. It makes them happy partners … as long as science is ignored. Read the full article on Science 2.0.
“Do You Really Need To Buy Organic To Avoid Pesticide Residues?” by Steve Savage.
Last week, a meta-analysis from a highly credible academic source (Stanford University, its medical school and nearby institutions), raised serious questions about the often-touted nutritional advantage of organic food. They digested the contents of 237 peer reviewed articles comparing organic and conventional foods and diets. They concluded that “the published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods.” This drew a great deal of attention and organic advocate defense. Because even though Stanford is affectionately known by alums such as me as “the farm,” it is certainly no ag-school promoting the status quo. Instead, it enjoys a very strong reputation for research excellence. It isn’t easy to dismiss these findings. Read the full story on Science 2.0.
“USDA Employs Lax Oversight of Organic Farms,” by Mischa Popoff and Jay Lehr
The leaders of the American organic food industry, sitting in their perches in offices far removed from the soil and toil of actual farming, sustain an unfounded attack against conventional, nonorganic food, charging that it is impure and hardly nutritious. We all know that purity and nutrition are readily provable through scientific analysis, but here we have the activist leadership of the multibillion-dollar organic food industry pointing the finger at our main food industry, accusing it of failing to measure up, when all the while there is no field testing being done in the organic industry. In other words, not only is the organic industry not measuring up, it is not even bothering to measure. Read the full article on Heartland.org.
“Debate on Organics is Over: The National Center was Right!” by David W. Almasi.
Two landmark reports were issued this week that cast doubt on the health and safety benefits used to cheerlead for organic foods over conventional foods and the means of procuring them. Since 2000, the National Center has urged people to eschew the hype over organic grandstanding. A newly-released study by Stanford University researchers — reportedly the largest study of its kind — finds that there are no real health or safety benefits to choosing organic foods …Read the full article on the National Center Blog.
“Organic Foods Provide no Health Bonus,” by Roya Heydari
For years now, the organic food industry has staked its business on the idea that “organic” means “healthier.” And for just as long, ACSH has been saying that the claim is false: There are no nutritional or safety differences between foods produced according to organic standards and those produced by means of conventional agricultural methods. Now, a study appearing in the current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine provides evidence against the common equation of “organic” with “healthier.” Read the full article on ACSH Dispatch.
“Organics: No Healthier?,” by Julie Gunlock.
A new study says organic meat and produce is no healthier than conventionally grown products. hile this is bad news for the organic industry which promotes the idea that organic food is healthier than conventionally produced food, this is great news for the average shopper who wants to provide healthy meals for their families without spending a fortune. Armed with this information, moms might more easily choose the less expensive item and that’s a good thing for many families struggling in this economy. Read the full article on the IWF blog.
“It’s Time to Start Testing Organic Food ” by Jay Lehr.
There can be no mistaking the fact that modern agriculture is under attack. Gone are the days of saving the whales or attacking logging companies for cutting down trees. The latest environmental “bad guy” is the farmer who grows the food you feed your family. This attack against farming has occurred mainly in the form of sustained and very negative public-relations campaigns, but it has also made its way into the nation’s courtrooms. It comes generally from environmental activists, but more specifically from a sect within the organic food industry that levels a constant barrage of unfounded attacks against any form of food that isn’t certified organic. Read the full article on the Heartland Institute website.