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Let’s not exaggerate concerns about organic farming

| | April 21, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Many people in my ‘tribe’ (people who support appropriate use of GMOs and pesticides in agriculture), get really upset when unsupported claims are made about modern conventional agriculture. For example, there was outrage when the New MacDonald ad was released by an organic marketing group because it implied that modern food production technology was somehow unsafe. I think this outrage was justified.

I’ve seen several implications over the last couple years that organic food is riskier due to foodborne illness. To my knowledge, though, nobody has provided sufficient data to actually support this claim. Improper use of manure can certainly increase the risk of contamination with problematic microorganisms. And organic farming is generally more reliant on the use of animal waste for fertility, since synthetic fertilizers are not allowed. But it is quite a stretch to claim that organic food is unsafe for this reason, as Rob Wallbridge explains here. An analogous argument would be that conventional food is riskier because of reliance on pesticides. Synthetic pesticides are commonly used in conventional agriculture, and if they’re used improperly, synthetic pesticides can be unsafe. It is hypocritical to bash organic food as unsafe because of manure while defending the safety of synthetic pesticides in conventional agriculture. At least until someone can provide solid data in support of this position.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the variety of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Stop saying organic food is less safe, unless you can provide evidence

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