Future of biotechnology, scientific research threatened by pro-organic misinformation campaigns

| | June 17, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The organic food market is estimated at $63 billion globally, with more than half of those sales occuring in the United States. (If “natural products” are included, the organic market is $290 billion in the U.S. alone.) It’s no wonder, then, why Wal-Mart and other mainstream retailers are jumping onto the organic bandwagon. There is an awful lot of money to be made.

However, according to a damning report issued by the organization Academics Review, the rapidly growing organic food market is built upon a foundation of lies.

For example, Whole Foods — the most (in)famous face of the organic industry — maintains on its website a list created by the Organic Trade Association called the “Top 10 Reasons To Go Organic!” Many of the statements are misleading or completely false.

“Organic products meet stringent standards
. Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.”

FALSE. Actually, this statement is false on two counts. First, organic products do not meet stringent standards. Usually, all that is required for organic certification is paperwork. Second, organic farms use “natural” pesticides, some of which could be considered toxic.

“Organic production reduces health risks
. Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is one way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us.”

FALSE. This is pants-on-fire territory. 97% of pesticides used in California, for instance, are less toxic than caffeine or aspirin.

“Organic abundance — foods and non-foods alike. 
Now every food category has an organic alternative.”

MISLEADING. It is true that there are more organic food choices. But, this hardly makes the case for “abundance.” Indeed, a study in Nature concluded that organic farms yielded substantially less food than conventional ones.

People who want to eat organic food should by all means be allowed to. And big corporations (like Whole Foods) who want to exploit those gullible customers ought to be allowed to, as well. But, this widespread and deliberate misinformation campaign needs to stop immediately. The future of biotechnology, and perhaps even scientific research itself, depends on it.

Read the full, original article: The Lies that Whole Foods Tells

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