Emails reveal activists’ role in changing Whole Foods’ ‘Responsibly Grown’ standards

|

It used to be Whole Foods was your best (or only) bet for finding organic food, but today where can’t you buy organic food? Krogers, Costco, Aldis, Target, and even Wal-Mart are now expanding their selection of organic products. This is creating somewhat of a supply shortage for the grocery store that helped kick off the fad. Organic farmers are able to find more places than ever to sell their Veblen goods, and Whole Foods is struggling to keep up with the demand they helped create.

Last June Stephanie Strom, reporting for the New York Timesbroke the story about how Whole Foods had upset organic farmers with their new Responsibly Grown (RG) program. According to Whole Foods the Responsibly Grown (RG) program was designed, “to address critical health and environmental concerns associated with food production, including soil health, pesticide use, food safety, labor practices, greenhouse gases, water conservation, waste reduction and recycling.” In essence, the RG program was designed to ensure that all the products that the grocery chain sold lived up to the standard people believe they are buying into when they buy organic food.

However, organic farmers soon realized that being certified organic was not a default requirement of health, environmental friendliness, or worker welfare; it became possible for conventional growers to attain higher ratings than organic growers, which upset the latter group. Whole Foods eventually relented to demands from organic farmers and NGOs and now recently released emails obtained from a freedom of information act request detailed some of the behind-the-scenes panic Strom’s article created. The emails reveal a civil war is going on behind the scenes in the organic community.

Responsibly Grown

This seemed like a huge step in the right direction for Whole Foods to take. A new rating system was based, not on the naturalistic fallacy but on the actual agronomic practices used on the farm. Unfortunately for organic farmers, this definitely gave the edge to conventional growers. As the organic label depends more on whether farmer inputs are “natural” versus what is less toxic, conventional farmers could get a best rating for a lower cost item because less resources could be expended to grow it. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Production costs for organic foods are typically higher because of greater labour inputs per unit of output and because greater diversity of enterprises means economies of scale cannot be achieved.” According to Strom:

That means, however, the conventionally grown produce may end up with a higher rating. For instance, photos taken at a Whole Foods store in Capitola, Calif., and included with the farmers’ letter show a heap of conventionally grown asparagus from Mexico that is rated “best” for $4.99. Yet another photo, taken at a Whole Foods some 30 miles north in Cupertino, shows a pile of organic asparagus from Durst Organic Growers that is rated “good,” the lowest Responsibly Grown rating, for $7.99.

Untitled-drawing-49

Conventional farmers are able to adopt common organic practices like crop rotation, cover crops and buffer zones while still being able to artificial fertilizer and synthetic pesticides. Organic growers, who felt they were being stabbed in the back by the corporation they helped build, grew disturbed by this turn of events.

FOIA revealed role of Charles Benbrook in dealings

One of the organic farmers featured in the piece highly critical of the RG program, Tom Willey, turns out to be a good friend of organic researcher Charles Benbrook. “The NYT [New York Times] story, and its various wripple[sic] effects, will have impacts no one can imagine,” Benbrook wrote in an email to Whole Foods and the farmers involved, “I refuse to believe that the views around the table are irreconcilable, and challenge you to get beyond the emotions of the day and find a way to keep this from becoming yet another divisive and damaging crack in the organic ‘community.’” Benbrook goes on to blame the farmers for going to the New York Times with their story because it “guaranteed a considerable loss of control over the dialogue”.

A former Washington State University researcher, Charles Benbrook has been in the news recently for promising an Australian organic industry leader that he could “ramrod” through research to question the safety of biotech crops. Acting as a consultant and advisor for the multi billion dollar industry comes off as quite hypocritical for a man who says public scientists who accept grants for biotech outreach smell like “skunks”. Benbrook even alludes to not being able to help without marching orders from Whole Foods (WFM), “My involvement would be up to WFM”.

These emails demonstrate just another battle in the ever growing organic civil war between those who just want to promote the label and those who wish to make global changes to the food supply. Cornucopia, a non-profit dedicated to promoting organic agriculture, is frowned upon by Benbrook for being involved. Benbrook sees the Responsibly Grown (RG) program as a way to force conventional growers to give up undesirable pesticides (by his standard) rather than through the promotion of organic agriculture. Whereas Cornucopia is more concerned with the promotion of products with the USDA certified organic label. For those like Charles Benbrook, giving consumers the option of buying foods certified organic (or NON GMO verified) is no longer good enough. “WFM [Whole Foods Market] must find a way to drive progress in the conventional ag world…”

This attack on conventional agriculture is made abundantly clear in the ultimate path Whole Foods decided to take. Rather than maintaining high standards for all of their farmers, they chose to satisfy the desires of extremists and change their program to raise the bar for conventional farmers and lower it for organic farmers. Without even being evaluated, organic farmers now automatically get a minimum of a “good” rating.  For those organic farmers deciding to be evaluated for the program, they would be given one-third of the points needed to achieve a “best” rating regardless of their actual practices.

No longer is the organic movement about promoting its own certification. With the demonization of modern agriculture through propaganda videos, mandatory seed breeding labels, and poorly done research studies, the organic industry has essentially declared war on high yield and low input agriculture. While developed nations like the United States can afford the luxury of food movements built on low yield and high input agriculture, the developing world cannot.

This article originally appeared on We Love GMOs and Vaccines here and was reposted with permission of the author.

Stephan Neidenbach is a middle school teacher, husband, and father living in Annapolis, MD. He holds a BS in business administration from Salisbury University and a MS in Instructional Technology from University of Maryland University College. He started and runs the Facebook page We Love GMOs and Vaccines, follow him on twitter @welovegv.

  • mem_somerville

    “Veblen goods” is such a perfect characterization of organic.

    • First Officer

      What do we call people who’ll only eat organic, Veblens?

  • Are you gonna mention where the FOIA came from?

    • FYI here’s the record of Neidenbach’s abusive FOIA requests. https://www.muckrock.com/foi/list/?page=1&per_page=25&user=3648

      • Farmer with a Dell

        Oh, now that the tables are turned FOIA requests are “abusive”? Seriously? It was the anti-science, anti-technology, anti-agriculture cranks who first invoked the witch hunting tactic of FOIA fishing. You jerkoffs opened that can of worms, are you now suggesting it was a mistake? Go cry to someone who gives a crap.

        • FOIA, like labeling, is an important tool of transparency that shouldn’t be weaponized over an agenda. This is unconscionable behavior from anybody and we must call it out wherever we see it. We are better than this.

          • agscienceliterate

            Good. Then I expect you to be first in line to acknowledge the pitiful, disgusting, and patently political attempts to bring down a great science educator, Kevin Folta, with specious and ridiculous FOIA requests.

          • Stephan Neidenbach

            PythagoreanCrank is PRO GMO and opposes the FOIA requests on Professor Folta. He is someone on our side criticizing what I am doing. I disagree with his criticism, but respect him for doing so. The antis refuse to criticize one another on anything. That is one thing we will be better at.

          • agscienceliterate

            Thanks for that clarification. Didn’t catch that. Yes, FOIAs can be used for needed disclosure, or they can be used for harassment, as you have eloquently pointed out. Lately, they have been used for the latter. When the tables are turned and FOIA is legitimately used against people like Benbrook, who has an obvious conflict of interest in his heavy organic industry funding, the pro-organic anti-GE folk shriek loudly.
            Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

          • This is also FOIA harassment. If you denounce the use of this awesome tool of transparency in attacking Kevin Folta then you are a hypocrite to see this article as anything but the exact same kind of attack. No strike that, in fact it’s worse because this is a much more broad query. Even FoodBabe wouldn’t dare to stoop so low.

          • agscienceliterate

            I respectfully disagree. Huge difference.

          • The difference, is that this unethical FOIA bolsters your own biases and that makes it justifiable. Got it.

          • agscienceliterate
          • Stephan Neidenbach

            These emails were not part of the Benbrook one sI first did that I was wrong in making so broad. I agree with you on those, I did not know what I was doing. These were from a FOIA request on John P. Reganold, which was much more narrow in focus. Benbrook just happened to show up in them. If you want to discuss or even collaborate on the wording, drop me a line some time.

          • Cairenn Day

            The problem is, is that the genie is out of the box now.

            To sit back and take the ‘high ground’ after the attacks on Folta and others is not reasonable.

            It is a shame it was ever used, but it was and I don’t see it as harassment now

          • agscienceliterate

            PC, I misinterpreted your comment to mean you supported FOIAs against Folta but not against Benbrook. Got it now. FOIAs can be used for disclosure, or used for harassment. It takes an honest and discerning mind to distinguish one from the other. Thanks.

          • agscienceliterate

            Ok, your response is quite confusing. Under what specific circumstances, if any, do you feel a FOIA request is appropriate? What distinguishes that situation from what you think is an inappropriate request? Do you believe all such requests are inappropriate?

        • So, Farmer With a Dell, are the FOIAs against Folta and other scientists unethical?

        • Christopher Curzon

          It is impossible to abuse transparency. Once evidence of any kind comes into the light it can be evaluated for what it is. That is what science is all about. Non-transparency is non-science.

      • Cairenn Day

        Why do you have a problem when the shoe is on the other foot?

        The organic industry started it, and now we are learning how corrupt and dishonest that they are.

        • I have a problem with FOIA abuse regardless of the source.

          • Christopher Curzon

            There is no such thing as FOIA abuse. As the ACLU says, the only remedy to wrong speech is more speech. In other words, the truth has to get out by some means. Same with FOIA. It can’t possibly be abused.

      • Consumer

        Thanks for the information. 26 FOIA requests placed by Neidenbach?! Neidenbach and all the other FOIA abusers should be aware, that their behaviour is ulitmately going to ruin the usefullness of FOIA requests. Conversations are going to be moved to private e-mail accounts or won’t be done at all in an e-mail setting.

        • Almost as disconcerting as these FOIA abuses is the seemingly unqualified uptake of them and the lack of dissent within the ranks.

  • Alokin

    “Conventional farmers are able to adopt common organic practices like crop rotation, cover crops and buffer zones.”

    Conventional farmers were doing these things long before “organic” became a thing. They are not “organic” practices, they are farming practices.

    • J. Randall Stewart

      EXACTLY

      All practices are conventional practices. “Organic” simply means limiting certain farming practices that are not approved.

      I compost. I raise some crops with zero synethic inputs. Sometimes these crops happen to be “organically” raised, but they are also part of my conventional farm.

      (Edit: if there is a practice that is exclusively organic, that simply means it is so inferior that one must be forced to use it. )

    • Jason

      The reason why convention Ag will carry the day is because conventional Ag is free to use whatever agronomic practices are shown to be the best, agronomicly, sustainably, and financially. It is not bound to a narrow set of ideological practices.

      • Christopher Curzon

        “Best” depends on what you seek to optimize. If you optimize profits, then the Monsanto model is best. But if you optimize for biodiversity, then free exchange of seeds is best. The goals that we are to optimized are usually unstated in discussions such as these, and therefore the discussion is little more than preaching to the converted.

        • JP

          But the goal of farming is not to optimize biodiversity, it’s to optimize production while minimizing environmental impact. If you want to create a venture with a goal of optimizing biodiversity, start a botanical garden.

        • agscienceliterate

          Do it. Grow seeds. Give them away. Trade seeds.
          That is not farming to feed people. And if you are going to pretend that trading seeds for free will keep you out of the supermarkets, organic groceries, brew pubs, restaurants, and coffee shops, you aren’t being truthful.

          • Christopher Curzon

            Absolutely I will … except California has a law against trading seeds with your neighbor. Your neighbor must live within 3 miles of you. which is a tight restriction against trading, and generates anger in those such as myself who actually care about such things.

            And as to the claim about keeping out of supermarkets, et. al. I do have a friend who, on her small city lot, is able to raise 90% of her vegetable needs, plus chickens. I’m not there yet, but my goal will never be 100% either. I would follow my friend’s example.

        • Jason

          I don’t know what the “Mondanto system” is, but the best system s one that does t limit itself to a narrow set of techniques. The best system uses the best practices, regardless of whether they fit someone ideology or not. Farmers don’t save or share seeds because that practice does not work best and results in lower productivity and using more resources.

          • Christopher Curzon

            I agree with your statement about the best system. It doesn’t limit itself to a narrow set of techniques. But I completely disagree with your statement about saving seeds. It has long been common practice to save and trade seed, except where patented genes and license restrictions come into play.

  • Farmer with a Dell

    The true limitations of “organic” agriculture become apparent whenever that system is faced with real-time challenges to actually get some safe, abundant, affordable food produced. Reality is a far cry from “organic” urban myths and notions. Not surprised the “organic” cult manipulated WholePaycheck into backing off on demands for actual instances of safe, affordable, environmentally friendly organic food. Instead they get back into their old comfort zone slinging to the time-honored sales pitch and vacuous promises, promises, promises. Hey, that’s all “organic” really has to offer.

  • SageThinker

    “Veblen goods”? Nice ten dollar phrase but not true. I want good food at the lowest price. Sometimes good quality takes more money to produce, like a quality tool or a quality car versus a piece of crap tool from Habor Frieght that falls apart the first time you use it. It’s not a “Veblen good” but a real cost of producing food with integrity, and some people recognize this quality and will pay more than they would for chemically weeded Roundup Ready GMO crops or otherwise chemically grown crops. You don’t use the worst of pesticides on your crops, you may lose a little more to insects and weeds, etc. But what you do get is cleaner. So… there you go. Economics 101. And giving people what they want to buy is not “relenting to activist pressures” — it’s responding to what people say. And when Grain Miller stopped buying oats with glyphosate on them, they were responding to differences in quality as well. They wanted better oats than those finished with glyphosate. This article reads like an ideological polemic.

    • Jason

      Sure….. Some people are willing to pay for quality. But when the goods show no measurable difference in quality, then the price difference is attributed to perception. In this example, Veblen couldn’t be any more true.

      But I know…. That doesn’t help you rationalize your little ideological crusade.

      • SageThinker

        I would say that lack of glyphosate in my food is a factor that adds considerable quality to organically certified wheat, oats, corn, soy, legumes, sugar, etc. For me, lack of that chemical is an element of quality. There are some other chemicals that are also avoided when you buy organically certified food. For instance, i could have bought 5 lb of tangerines for $4 conventional but instead i paid $7 for a pound of organically certified tangerines, and i felt much better about eating them. That’s an extreme price difference. Most are something like a 10% to 20% higher price factor. It means something substantial.

        • Jason

          For me, lack of that chemical is an element of quality.

          See what I mean? Perception.

          • SageThinker

            Most things are a matter of perception but that’s semantics. Anyway, i’ll take my food without the glyphosate. You eat whatever you want. I have my reasons, you have yours.

          • Jason

            Yep. Many things are a matter of perception. That’s why we rely on data to determine what is real and what is imagined.

            “Veblen” doesn’t seem so inaccurate after all, now does it?

          • SageThinker

            The data on glyphosate is what i often refer to, the data from Monsanto’s study that’s referred to as Stout and Ruecker (1990) for example. It’s the interpretation that is flawed in the 1991 EPA memo and those review papers by Williams (2000) and Greim (2015) and hence agencies like the EFSA. The data is simply data. The interpretation is the kicker. We’re supposed to trust the reckonings of the people reviewing it to be unbiased and genuine. However, i do not trust this particular reckoning one bit, after learning about glyphosate for over a year and reading everything possible about the chemical, including the social and economic context of the chemical. And apparently the IARC and several EPA toxicologists agree with me on this reckoning, as well. The industry says they don’t agree, but wouldn’t they just say that in any case? Methinks.

          • agscienceliterate

            “Often refer to…” Like 4 – 6 times a day. You are a dog on a bone on this old, old study, unreplicated, that you continue over and over and over again to misinterpret. So many posts with current glyphosate studies that you ignore ignore, ignore.
            “The interpretation is the kicker.” Yeah, you can continue to misinterpret that data as much as you like. A real kicker, all right.
            Did your parents drop you on your head as a child?

          • SageThinker

            No more time for insults. No more time for bullies. No more time for tyrants of dialog. You’re an insulting commenter with nothing to add except to comment on a meta-level in effect calling me stupid. What’s that add? Emotional attack against me. For the others? A verifiably wrong statement, unless they choose to be brain washed in the same way, which is more common than you might think.

          • agscienceliterate

            As Jason has so kindly summarized for you and others:

            http://mobil.bfr.bund.de/en/th
            “In conclusion of this re-evaluation process of the active substance glyphosate by BfR the available data do not show carcinogenic or mutagenic properties of glyphosate nor that glyphosate is toxic to fertility, reproduction or embryonal/fetal development in laboratory animals. ”

            Now, please read these before you regurgitate that old unreplicated study yet one more time, which you consistently misinterpret. We will all be grateful. And so will Dick.

          • SageThinker

            Here’s the thing — you speak to me in insults, you call names, you insinuate things — and Jon Entine who runs this place doesn’t block it. But if i were to call names, he would block or ban or threaten me. He happens to run this place, and he happens to get money from the industry, and this place happens to have a strong agenda to defend the industry. Those who plainly state facts and show that the industry story line has holes in it then get treated abusively and if they retort in kind they get banned. Correlation sometimes suggest causation, and here maybe it’s the correlation of the money connections. Maybe money payments correlate to bias in the messaging content and package.

          • agscienceliterate

            Oh, you have definitely called people names, and yet you have not been blocked. You yourself have called me and others “shill,” “troll,” “slimeball,” “dick.” And now you promote lies and innuendo and falsely accuse Entine of getting money from “the industry” — your corporate loathing and conspiracy theories are as tiring as they are incorrect. Entine has explained that GLP is a nonprofit, and takes grants and private donations (including mine), not from “industry.” (I have nonprofit tax receipts for my donations) You just throw that “industry” thing out there without any documentation. Are you now adding to your long history of name-calling by calling Entine a liar?
            It is more than curious why you continue to post here, doggedly sticking to your same old stories and misinterpretations.
            This is a science site. You get enraged, Trump-like, when anyone calls you on your woo, and yet you continue to post the same junk over and over. You could do much better if you posted on Food Babe’s or Mercola’s website where you would not get challenged, but would get all kinds of accolades where pseudoscience is rewarded. I posted a science link on Food Babe’s page once and got banned instantly, cuz that’s the kind of person she is. Yet you post woo over and over again here, on a site you think is corrupt and funded by industry (um, why would you do that, then?) and you get called on it by others here with more scientific acumen, you don’t get banned, and still you go into a childish hissy fit.
            And no, correlation has nothing to do with causation without significant scientific inquiry and substantiation.
            You are on the wrong website if you wish to continue posting that one tired old unreplicated study that you consistently misinterpret, and you continue to ignore current findings about glyphosate.
            Quit whining, learn something, and grow up. Or go elsewhere.

          • SageThinker

            You’re lying here. Never used the word shill. I also believe that I am quite careful to not call other names when writing comments on GLP. It may be the case that on some other Disqus-run forum where there is not such an editeur or a gatekeeper, I might have let loose a couple of times and called you another name for haps. That is very possible but I don’t think I did so here. Whatever.

          • agscienceliterate

            Ha ha! Do you have any idea how ironically hilarious your response is? Best laff I have had all day! “No, judge, I didn’t shoot him 43 times, I only shot him 42 times.”
            You did get dropped on your head as a child. Sorry about that, but your post is so damn funny. I hope many people see it. May do a screen shot of my post and your response, and take it to my critical thinking class for my students. Ha ha ha ha!

          • SageThinker

            You continue to say pretty much nothing except to sling insults. It’s getting very tired and old. There is definitely an industry agenda aligned with your comments but I don’t claim to know that you are paid and I don’t claim to know that anybody else in particular is paid until I see the actual pay stub. I did happen to see an old pay stub of Jon Entine’s once and he was paid by an industry alliance, I believe. So was Bruce Chassy. I have seen evidence that Kevin Folta and Steven Savage were flown by Monsanto to Hawaii to do some lobbying and perhaps some public perception management as they call it, and there are probably many other money trails that could be seen if one had the view to the paper trail. The thing about these things is that people would prefer to keep them secret and therefore they don’t publish them generally. They have to be exhumed by the use of FOIA or something else. Anyway sometimes you have to judge by the effects as you cannot see the actual etiology of the disease. But you can diagnose from the symptoms that somebody has a case of the shills. There, now I’ve used the word.

          • JP

            More completely circumstantial arguments from the valiant witch hunter.

            Yawn.

          • agscienceliterate

            I have quit reading his babbling nonsense.

          • Roy Williams

            I, and hundreds of thousands of scientists agree with “industry” that GMOs are safe, environmentally friendly, and are an important tool in the quest for food security. We do not care what “industry” says, and “industry” sure does not tell scientists what to think or say. Dr. Folta does not speak positively about GMOs because he is “paid by industry”, and neither to I.
            *
            Just because someone agrees with the “industry” position does not make their position wrong, or make them a “shill”.
            For all I know you may be one of those bloggers that the OCA recruited and pays to make blog posts favorable to “organic”, but that in and of itself does not tarnish your message.
            *
            More than 270 independent scientific societies around the world have made public their position that GMOs are safe and advantageous. Those 270 societies have a combined membership more than 300,000 members. Scientific advisory boards in the EU have also stated that GMOs are as safe as any food. Over 120 of the largest, most distinguished, and reputable scientific organizations in the world have published positions papers explaining that GMOs are safe and that the technology is a significant step forward, for agriculture, medicine, and industrial processes.
            *
            I personally work in biomedical research, and have been involved in projects working to computationally develop entirely new genes that produce specific proteins that are essential to the development of new vaccines, antibiotics, as well as new plant varieties with increased nutritional content, resistance to fungus, bacterial invasion, and insect invasion. The labs I work in or have worked in are funded by government agencies – not commercial companies. Thousands of independent labs, like mine, are pursuing new products to improve human health and reduce the resources that are required to feed the world. There are very few scientists, research technicians, and graduate students in molecular biology (out of maybe 100,000 world wide) who would agree with the claim that any of the GMO plants now on the market cause any harm.
            *
            The direct scientific evidence is rather strongly in favor of the position that GMO food is no riskier than convention food – there have been close to 1,800 scientific research studies published that show no harm from GMO food in either humans or livestock; there have been maybe 12 papers published that claim harm. Every scientific paper that I have read that claims harm from GMOs offers opaque data collection and/or poor experimental techniques and/or subjective evaluations of data. In several cases, the papers were retracted by the journal that published them, after it became clear that they did not adhere to reasonable standards of being reproducible and consistent with the known scientific knowledge of the relevant molecular biology. One person in Italy was censured by his university after it was conclusively demonstrated that he had fabricated his data (i.e., he lied) to be able to publish “data” that showed harm from GMOs.
            *
            The non-profit organizations that have developed GMOs certainly have no profit motive – they are driven by scientists who have a strong desire to make a better world and advance human knowledge. Scientists who have committed their lives to research, and spent 30+ years in school and training to become research scientists are absolutely not going to falsify data, push false “propaganda”, or make any claims to support any commercial enterprise; that is a good way to be out of job and throw away 30+ years of your life. So, when 270 scientific societies support a technology, the technology is good and beneficial, regardless of what company makes a lot of money from that technology.
            *
            You really need to focus on the people telling you that GMOs are harmful – you know that there are continual, high-dollar campaigns to get you to reject GMO and conventionally farmed products. Why? Where is the money coming from? You guessed it – from companies and a few individuals who have become very rich by selling you organic products at inflated prices. They don’t have science behind them – they only have profits in mind. The push to convince the general public to buy “organic” by making false claims about the danger of “non-organic” is unethical in the extreme, because it is taking advantage of the scientific ignorance of most consumers.
            *
            You say you don’t trust “industry”, yet you are trusting “industry” and “industry” alone when you say that GMOs are dangerous. Your trust of “industry” is making some companies a lot of money at your expense. You worry that Monsanto has control of the food supply. They don’t; there are almost 40 other for-profit and non-profit organizations that have commercialized GMO plants and animals.
            *
            To conclude, you are totally wrong in your allegation that scientists are “bought” to make favorable statements for GMOs. Maybe you would say what you were paid to say even if you disagreed with it, but scientists do not and will not, because if they persist in making false statements knowingly, they will be out of a job and out of any opportunity to do science.

          • Peter Olins

            Thanks for your detailed response, Roy.

            Having interacted with Sage over the past year, I suspect that he will not be willing to take your comment seriously, but I’m sure there are others reading this thread who will value your perspective.

          • SageThinker

            BfR and EFSA combo pack is a great industry-aligned messaging source about glyphosate, but perhaps not the least biased source of analysis. It’s in the interpretation you know, and those who are in the kickback loop and revolving door seem to have a more favorable interpretation than those who don’t, who are just mere humans who eat food like me.

          • Jason

            Oh yes…they have a different conclusion than you would like. They must be “industry aligned”! Ooooh! Such evil men!

            I love how you just sweep away all contradictory evidence. It’s f**king hilarious!

          • SageThinker

            Yeah but no. I’m simply naming apparent bias. It’s apparent reading the 1991 EPA memo that it is steeped in bias. They have a conclusion and find some excuses to get them there. Sorry but i’m not biting your bait. It’s a simple, sound judgment of interpretation based on a lot of evidence and reasoning. Thinking people do that kind of thing.

          • Jason

            Apparent for what possible reasons other than that you disagree with the conclusion? Sound judgement? A lot of evidence? That is an outright lie and you know it.

          • SageThinker

            They’re lying. Lies are lies. It’s all fun and rhetoric until someone dies. This is real. This is not value free.

          • Jason

            Until someone dies…. Oh Christ….lay that melodrama on a bit thicker…will ya?

          • SageThinker

            It’s real life. People die from lies about risks of chemicals by the agrochemical industry. It’s a fact.

          • Jason

            I’m sure that in your mind… it happens daily. Thankfully, none of us live in your mind.

          • SageThinker

            Not so “kindly” — eh? More like with derision and insults, because that’s really all your side of this PR campaign has… psy-ops, emotional attacks, derision, flawed illogic, fallacies, and more and more bs in such tall piles off-gassing.

          • Jason

            Lol…. as if you’re, in an way, qualified to claim that the interpretation was flawed. What a joke.

            So…. What, impact does this have on the “quality” of food then? Where is the data showing that there is any material impact what so ever? How do you show that this perception of quality is anything more than just a perception?

          • SageThinker

            Not much to respond to here, except to ignore your ridiculing nasty tone …. and to tell you you’re wrong.

          • Jason

            Please…. Don’t flatter yourself. You obviously are not qualified to make this judgement regardless of how high an opinion you have of yourself.

          • Cairenn Day

            Sage is well known for his dislike of glyphosate and Monsanto.

            He is afraid that he might develop some disease because he swam in a river contaminated with dixon from General Electric.

            He LOVES that one old study and he ignores all others.

          • SageThinker

            Then why do you care? Why do you even care?

          • Jason

            Sage….I live right in the middle of corn & soy country. As does my family, my parents, my brothers, their families and damn near everyone I know. There are literally, roundup ready corn & soy fields in every direction around my house where my kid and his friends play.

            I eat this food and feed it to my family. I value the environment just like you claim to. Why wouldn’t I care!? Do you think that just because you have some anti-corporate agenda that you’re the only one who cares?

            I care when people make up lies about a technology that has has had direct and measurable benefits to the farmers using it and to the environment around us. I’ve seen this first hand. If you really cared, you’d take the effort to understand the truth instead of constantly parroting your aganda driven mantra. In my opinion, you don’t really care….but you like to look like you do.

            I care about what’s really happening out here. Not what Mercola or the Health Ranger says is happening out here.

        • agscienceliterate

          There is no glyphosate in non-organic tangerines. There are no GE tangerines. What “chemicals” do you think are you avoiding in organic tangerines, that aren’t in non-organic tangerines?

          • SageThinker

            Yeah, i know, and i know…. you appear to have missed my point here. It regards other pesticides that are used on citrus crops that i also wish to avoid, and the price difference being worth it for the added quality in some cases, like the quality of not having certain chemicals on them. This particular conventional package actually did list several pesticides that were used, an example that shows that labeling by pesticide usage is possible and is useful.

        • Peter Olins

          In one magazine survey, on average, organic foods purchased at supermarkets were 47% more expensive.
          http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/03/cost-of-organic-food/index.htm

          Less of a premium is demanded at farmers’ markets.
          http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/269468/vgs30101_1_.pdf

    • First Officer

      More like $15.99 at Whole Foods.