Public mislead about organics: GM and conventional food as safe, healthy, nutritious

The verdict in the Australia courts rejecting the claim of an organic farmer than his GM-farming neighbor was “contaminating” his crops will hopefully prompt a rethink about the alleged benefits of organic food.

The dramatic growth in recent years in the sale of organic foods is attributable to the fact that many consumers believe organic food is safer, more nutritious and healthy. Safety is expressed in terms of concerns about pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and GM food. Since organic food is objectively no safer, more nutritious or healthier, it is clear the public has been grossly misled. That leads to the question, can the public be convinced of its error?

In fairness, most members of the public are sensible enough to know that organic food is nothing special. Otherwise it would not be limited to the small percentage of the market it holds. Quality is often variable and the price is usually higher. But there is a tendency, when the price of organic food drops to match that of conventional food, to choose the organic. It is given the benefit of the doubt.

We need to hear more about how organic food is often fertilised with manure, leading to increased instances of food poisoning. We need to hear about the natural pesticides that have evolved in certain varieties of organic fruit and vegetables which, while probably no more hazardous than synthetic pesticides, have never been tested. We need to hear more about the environmental harm caused by tillage, which is used to grow many organic crops. We need to see comparisons between organic and conventionally produced food, showing there is no nutritional or health difference. I could go on.

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Whether you believe in free markets or fair markets, deception should not be a part of it. The organic industry, which is founded on deception, deserves to be exposed. Losing the case in WA, on which its supporters had such high expectations, represents a serious defeat. Now might be a good time to follow up with some truth telling.

Read the full, original article: Time to tell the truth about organics

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