Blistering critique of the organic food industry December 16, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, family, farm, General Catholic, It's all about the $$$, non squitur, scandals, Society, technology.
I’ll admit……I’ve always thought the organic food label a scam. Just like most “free range chickens” have never seen a blade of grass in their life. Many products labeled “organic” have a surprising, and some might find revolting, etymology. An article at Forbes (certainly in thrall of big Agribusiness) offers a blistering critique of this industry. I’m not staking a hard stand here, I’ve revealed my bias (another one – we use pretty much all the latest technology on our farm, including Roundup and Anhydrous Ammonia fertilizer, and I’m sure much of the seed is now GMO though we don’t seek that out, it’s just what is available these days):
Consumers of organic foods are getting both more and less than they bargained for. On both counts, it’s not good.
Many people who pay the huge premium—often more than 100%—for organic foods do so because they’re afraid of pesticides. If that’s their rationale, they misunderstand the nuances of organic agriculture. Although it’s true that synthetic chemical pesticides are generally prohibited, there is a lengthy list of exceptions listed in the Organic Foods Production Act, while most “natural” ones are permitted. However, “organic” pesticides can be toxic. As evolutionary biologist Christie Wilcox explained in a 2012 Scientific American article (“Are lower pesticide residues a good reason to buy organic? Probably not.”): “Organic pesticides pose the same health risks as non-organic ones.”…..
…….Some consumers think that the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) requires certified organic products to be free of ingredients from “GMOs,” organisms crafted with molecular techniques of genetic engineering. Wrong again. USDA does not require organic products to be GMO-free. (In any case, the methods used to create so-called GMOs are an extension, or refinement, of older techniques for genetic modification that have been used for a century or more.)……..
……..Few organic consumers are aware that organic agriculture is a “trust-based” or “faith-based” system. With every purchase, they are at risk of the moral hazard that an organic farmer will represent cheaper-to-produce non-organic products as the premium-priced organic product. For the vast majority of products, no tests can distinguish organic from non-organic—for example, whether milk labeled “organic” came from a cow within the organic production system or from a cow across the fence from a conventional dairy farm. The higher the organic premium, the stronger the economic incentive to cheat.
Think such nefarious behavior is purely theoretical? Think again. USDA reported in 2012 that 43% of the 571 samples of “organic” produce that were tested contained prohibited pesticide residues, and that “the findings suggest that some of the samples in violation were mislabeled conventional products, while others were organic products that hadn’t been adequately protected from prohibited pesticides.”
Some more, on why organic foods are much more prone to E. coli and other infectious disease vectors:
Contrary to popular wisdom, organic produce is not pesticide-free. Instead, it’s grown with primitive pesticides that can be significantly more hazardous to humans and to the environment. Organic agriculture also lacks the benefits of the many crops genetically improved with modern molecular techniques, like Bt-corn, which reduces the population of insects that allow toxic molds to infest corn. (Organic corn has higher levels of the toxins produced by these molds.)
Chipotle rejects modern synthetic fertilizers in favor of suppliers who use manure on their crops. This approach may be “all natural” and “organic” and make some customers feel warm and fuzzy, but it should not come as a surprise that applying stool, feces and excrement to growing fruits and vegetables significantly raises the risk of spreading disease. Bruce M. Chassy, food science professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana scoured U.S. Food and Drug Administration data to conclude that organic food is four to eight times more likely to be recalled over safety concerns than conventionally grown products.
Food poisoning is a serious business. Four years ago, 53 died and 3,950 were sickened from an E. coli outbreak in Germany caused by organic bean sprouts.
With the above in mind, I will say that there are certain products I don’t like to buy and places I don’t like to shop. I try very hard not to get groceries at Wal Mart. And I find most commercially sold poultry meat really nasty. There is a reason why we buy a heifer every year from our farmer in Kansas. Yes, it’s cheaper (though not a lot), but mostly because I know that beef has never been on a high density feed lot and has generally fed on grass or silage its entire life. I’d like to find a source for home grown pork, because modern pork raising has gotten quite barfy, too. So I get many of the concerns. But I think people need to be very wary of any industry as surrounded by hype as the organic food industry is.
And never eat at Chipotle. I never liked that place, anyway. $9 for tasteless rice and beans?!?