Buying organic food to avoid pesticides? You may want to reconsider

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[Editor’s note: The Environmental Working Group released its “dirty dozen” list of pesticides on March 8, 2017. EWG is highly critical of conventional agriculture, claiming farmers’ use of ‘dangerous pesticides’ poses substantial health risks. The organization urges consumers to buy organic food, which it claims uses less pesticides. However, this is not accurate because organic fruit and vegetable farmers use non-synthetic pesticides, which can be more toxic to humans and beneficial insects than targeted synthetic pesticides. Organic pesticides are often untested.]

Organic might not mean what you think it means. Consider recent data generated as part of the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program (PDP) — This isn’t surprising information. It echoes results from previous PDP testing and with more comprehensive testing of organic samples in 2001-11 by the USDA and 2011-13 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. What is interesting is that while the incidence of residue detection is somewhat lower for organic, the very low levels of chemicals found are quite similar to the low levels detected on conventional samples. The 2015 PDP study found residues of 68 different pesticides, pesticide metabolites, or plant growth regulators on organic fruits and vegetables.

Chemicals detected on organic samples in the 2015 PDP                        

Acetamiprid, Ametoctradin, Azoxystrobin, Bifenazate, Bifenthrin, Boscalid, Carbendazim (MBC), Chlorantraniliprole, Chlorpropham, Chlorpyrifos, Clothianidin, Clothianidin Other, Cyazofamid, Cyhalothrin, Total (Cyhalothrin-L + R157836 epimer), Cypermethrin, Cyprodinil, DDE p,p’, DDT o,p’, DDT p,p’, Dichlorvos (DDVP), Diflubenzuron, Dimethoate, Dimethomorph, Dinotefuran, Diphenylamine (DPA), Ethoxyquin, Etoxazole, Famoxadone, Fenamidone, Fenbuconazole, Fenpropathrin, Flonicamid, Fludioxonil, Fluopicolide, Fluopyram, Imidacloprid, Iprodione, Linuron, Mandipropamid, Methomyl, Methoxyfenozide, Myclobutanil, Novaluron, O-Phenylphenol, Omethoate, Oxamyl, Oxamyl oxime, Pendimethalin, Permethrin cis, Permethrin trans, Piperonyl butoxide, Propamocarb hydrochloride, Pyraclostrobin, Pyrimethanil, Pyriproxyfen, Quinoxyfen, Spinetoram, Spinosad, Spinosad A, Spinosad D, Spirotetramat, Sulfoxaflor, Tebuconazole, Tebufenpyrad, Thiabendazole, Thiacloprid, Thiamethoxam, Triflumizole

For 37% of these chemicals the average residue on organic samples was actually higher than the averages on conventional, but still very small.

What really matters is that the levels detected for both kinds of produce are below the “tolerances” that are set by the EPA and those tolerances already reflect a generous safety margin.

So, what these data really tell us is this:

“Yes. Skilled analytical chemists can detect tiny amounts of synthetic and natural pesticide residues on organic and conventional produce. In both cases, the levels that are found are below to well below any threshold of concern. Our regulatory system is working. Those who grow our food are well trained and are following the rules designed to both enable crop production and protect the public. Enjoy your safe, healthy, delicious options!”

Background on the PDP

Each year the USDA gathers and analyzes around ten thousand samples from the mainstream US food supply – mainly fruits and vegetables. In the sampling process, USDA ends up including some items labeled as USDA Organic (349 samples in 2015, 4% of the total). USDA labs then look at all the samples for residues of crop protection chemicals using extremely sensitive analytical methods.

USDA provides both brief and detailed summaries of this information, but I appreciate the fact that the raw data is transparently available to the public so that I can look through it myself (it is bit challenging because there is a two million+ row main table, a 10 thousand row sample table, and 18 reference tables). I looked in detail at all the pesticide detections and also looked at the testing results for produce samples that were being sold with the organic claim.

What was found?

As with the overwhelming majority of samples, the residues detected on the organic items are at levels below the conservative “tolerances” that are set by the EPA. Yes, residues are present. No, they are not a safety problem. However, the presence of residues does conflict with what many consumers have been led to believe about the difference between organic and conventional.

Many people think organic means “no pesticides.” That is simply not true. Organic farmers can and do use a range of allowed pesticides because they too have to deal with pests. The list of organic-approved pesticides is not based on safety criteria but rather on whether or not they can be considered “natural.” Again, in spite of much misleading marketing, “natural” does not automatically mean safe. In fact, the USDA which is in charge of organic certification specifically states on its website that “our regulations do not address food safety or nutrition.”

As with all pesticides and other crop protection products, it is the EPA which assesses which pesticides can be used safely, and within what constraints.

So what sorts of residues are found on the organic samples? The most common detection is of an insecticide called spinosad. That is an effective control for a variety of caterpillar pests and is produced through a microbial fermentation process, thus allowing it to qualify for use in organic (see chemical structure of one of the spinosyns below). Just to be clear, the spinosad products are produced by the Dow chemical company.

Conventional farmers also make good use of this and other natural products. Spinosad is really the only natural product pesticide that is detected in the USDA’s monitoring program. Other widely used products like sulfur, petroleum distillates, copper salts and microbial products can’t be monitored using the same, highly sensitive and cost-effective tools that allow the USDA to generate the more than two million test results they generate each year. If specific tests were conducted for those natural products, the number of residues detected per organic sample would probably be much larger – but it wouldn’t really change the overall conclusion that these foods are safe to enjoy.

Other than spinosad, the remaining 80.2% of residues detected on organic are of “synthetic” chemicals.

While very few of the synthetic materials used in agriculture today are intrinsically very toxic to humans, they are theoretically not supposed to be present on organic because they are not on the list of approved, natural options.

There is, however, a rule in the organic certification system that any residue present at 5% or less of the USDA tolerance will be considered “unintentional” and thus not a reason to deny organic certification. 62.1% of the 2015 organic detections met that criterion, but interestingly so do 74.6% of the detections on non-organic samples from the US and 70.1% of the detections from imported, non-organic samples. Not so different.

Another 15.6% of residues detected on organic technically violate the organic rules by being over 5% of EPA tolerance, but such residues are still fully safe based on EPA criteria. That same safety criterion applied to 23.0% and 25.2% of conventional US and imported samples respectively. For both organic and conventional there are a few detected residues of products that don’t have a specific, assigned tolerance for the crop in question. These are generally very low-level detections, so while they represent technical violations they are not of real concern and once again, similar for organic and conventional (average “no tolerance” detection for organic 23.7 parts/billion, average for conventional imports 19.8 ppb, and average for US conventional 17.2 ppb).

To reiterate, what this transparent public database tells us is that our food supply is safe from the perspective of pesticide residues. This means that our regulatory system is working and that thousands of farmers in the US and elsewhere are doing a great job of managing pest damage while still protecting our health. The data also tells us that there are some striking similarities between organic and conventional when it comes to residues. What the data also tells us is that as consumers we should reject some of the misleading marketing and advocacy efforts of certain irresponsible elements of the organic industry. Instead of giving in to those fear-based campaigns we should feel the freedom to choose healthy and delicious produce using important criteria like freshness, flavor, quality and affordability.

A version of this article appeared at Forbes as “Organic Might Not Mean What You Think It Means” and has been republished here with permission from the author and the original publisher. 

Steve Savage is an agricultural scientist (plant pathology) who has worked for Colorado State University, DuPont (fungicide development), Mycogen (biocontrol development), and for the past 13 years as an independent consultant. His blogging website is Applied Mythology. You can follow him on Twitter @grapedoc.

  • ThinIce

    Another great article by Dr. Steve Savage. I’d so much rather read articles like his that present the data, rather than present opinions (are you listening EWG?).

  • cheleagh

    As usual they do not state what level of organics they did the tests on. Same as conventional.
    Organic produce can be anywhere from just using some organic fertalizer to full on Bio Dynamically grown produce.
    Conventional produce can be fully dosed with every conceivable chemical and pesticide, or it can be just a few ‘nasties’ and grown in nutrient rich soils.
    They also do not mention if the produce is certified organic or just organic. The term organic can be used very loosely when appropriate for the writer.
    To gain certification the grower needs to abide by strict guidelines.

    This report is quite poor in regard to accuracy and detail.

    • They were labelled as USDA organic so the organic produce tested was certified organic.

      • cheleagh

        The certification methods differ here in Australia. We have several certification bodies, and I pretty sure the Dept. of Agriculture doesn’t get involved. Seems odd that the USDA is overseeing all produce whether conventional or organic. These 2 are in competition with each other. The conventional see organic as a threat to them.
        In Australia the guidelines on pesticide use is quite strict. About the only way pesticides could be in organic produce is through overspray from conventional properties near an organic farm. The conventional farm is not to spray unless the winds are suitable.
        I was in close contact with a former certification officer with BFA certification body.
        i am always extremely skeptical of reports such as these because of Big Ags. influence over Dept’s such as the USDA.

        The nutritional value of true organic produce is far superior to conventional if a comparison test is done correctly. And, it seems the USA regulatory system concerning organic produce is poor, is this report is accurate. I am very skeptical in this area as well.

        • Roy Williams

          Interesting differences in what is considered “organic”. However, in the results of multiple scientifically conducted surveys, “organic” has nearly the same nutrition as “conventional”, IF the same exact seed is used. It is not so much a difference in cultivation technique as in seed selection. Your claim that “organic” has far superior nutritional value is not supported by the few scientifically correct comparisons that have been published (as opposed to all the non-scientific marketing done by the “organic” activists).

          • cheleagh

            So is there full details on those ‘studies’ that say exactly where the ‘organic samples were sourced from and the farming method used? Are these scientists aware that organic food is not always organic food. Are these people well versed in the organic industry and their methods, or are they just applying their science and their guidelines to get a result in an area of agriculture they know very little about?
            The state of the soil determines the quality of the produce. Any fool with any sense of a foundation for outcomes should know that.
            Common sense and logic must not exist in the scientific world, or if it does it gets left out when the result does not favour the industry with the vested interest in the outcome.

            And what’s this rubbish statement about ‘organic activists’?
            Organic farming is hard work and losses occur because they don’t use fungicides, etc.(that’s if it’s done following the guidelines) Most organic farmers are genuine people wanting good outcomes for their customers themselves and the environment. They may protest or be up in arms when the so called ‘scientists'(corporate backed?) come up with all these suspect ‘studies’ that go against their farming practices.

          • cheleagh

            An accidental experiment of mine came about when my brother and I were sharing a house and also the foods we bought. It was about that time that i changed to organic.
            We used to have a big bowl of stir fry most days(also before eating organically) and cleaned up the bowl every time. A little time passed and i started to notice that i was having trouble finishing my bowl of stir fry. The alarm bells then came on when I remembered the ‘grandma theory that if you go off your food there is probably something wrong with you health wise. A worrying day or 2 went by and then I remember the studies I had read where organic foods have way more nutrients in them. Common sense and logic kicked in and i realized that I was ‘nutritionally full’ and not ‘belly full’. i changed to a smaller bowl, stayed on organics and all has been well since.
            Ok, the above is anecdotal and hearsay, and the science world wouldn’t have a bar of it as a scientific study.(and fair enough) but it convinced me personally about the higher nutritional content in organic foods, and that all that matters.
            BTW my brother noticed it too.

          • cheleagh

            BTW i totally agree that there are unethical companies about that jump on the ‘organic’ train and make money from it by bypassing many guidelines and lying to their customers.
            This is a shame for the rest of the industry trying to do the right thing.

          • Roy Williams

            Hopefully you are more thoughtful than to base decisions in your life on superficial conclusions. You are right that your anecdote does not meet even minimal scientific criteria; your conclusion ignores a multitude of factors.

          • cheleagh

            Just wondering if you know of any studies done on people eating only organic foods v people eating conventionally grown foods?
            If not then my little ‘accidental’ experiment cannot at this point be proven wrong.(?)
            My body is actually my own lab. and of course the results are for my own use but I may from time to time share my experiences for reflection.
            Thank you for your other extensive reply. I am curious as to what your role is here on this site. You do put a lot of effort into it. Are you retired and have time on your hands?
            I am semi retired but do work part time within the organic food industry, but mainly only home deliveries to customers. i make very little money but i enjoy it immensely as the customers are very positive and mostly have a healthy outlook.
            Cheers.

          • Roy Williams

            You are to be commended for staying active and productive during your “retirement” years. It is always a good thing to be able to do something that people appreciate and is useful.
            *
            To answer your question, I don’t know of any organic vs. conventional consumption comparisons that are objective comparisons. Older literature (~2002) noted that such comparisons would necessarily be flawed, and that the then existing data is conflicting. Later literature on organic vs conventional deals almost exclusively with politics and sociological factors surrounding “organic” vs “conventional” food production. The absence of analytical comparison of organic vs conventional food on humans (as suggested by your “experiment” is consistent with the unfortunate reality
            that it would be extremely difficult financially and logistically to do such a study that would pass muster for a valid study, for these reasons: (a) self-reported data is notoriously inaccurate; (b) such a study would require a vast population of study subjects to overcome the enormous variations in individuals,(c) the study would have to last decades to track long-term effects, (d) I see no way to overcome the intrinsic flaw in such a study: it is quite possible that people who are inclined to take positive actions to stay healthy are more likely to buy organic compared to people who are not inclined to take actions to stay healthy. Put another way, without additional information, it is as likely that good health leads to purchasing organic as it is likely that purchasing organic leads to good health, or one of the other two possibilities: both good health and buying organic is due to some third factor, or that there is no correlative relationship between good health and buying organic. In designing the study, we must be unbiased and give all possibilities equal weight. The issue of causation is critical to understanding and knowledge, yet without rigorous controls the study is meaningless, no matter how much we would like it to be informative.
            *
            it is well understood by research scientists that people are terrible experimental subjects, because as soon as you tell someone you are studying them they modify their behavior, memories, and attitudes. Trying to get reproducible data from clinical trials is extremely difficult, and even harder for any sort of behavioral or social science study; if you spend any time working in biomedical research you quickly get an appreciation for this unfortunate fact. Setting up and enforcing valid experimental controls with people as the experimental subjects is extremely difficult, and in some cases may be unethical (hence the limitations of many “clinical trials”). The pitfalls of using human experimental subjects is a critical step in drug development, and every drug research and development group faces those issues.
            *
            One other point here, before I discuss your experiment: in biological science, one experiment proves *nothing*, never, never. The scientific knowledge of biology is built slowly, by the accumulation of results from hundreds of interrelated research projects, and never on the findings of a single experiment. Forget the simplistic nonsense you were taught in school, in which you were told that an “experiment” “proved” some “fact”.
            *
            The typical research project in any field of molecular biology (which is just about anything related to what happens inside the cells of any organism at any point in its life) requires typically five to ten years; some projects last for many decades. A graduate student or post-doc dedicates four to six years of their life doing many hundreds or thousands of experimental steps to arrive, at the end, with (often) several published reports that distill hundreds or thousands or, more recently, often millions or billions of individual measurements, that together supports or refutes a specific detailed hypothesis. Results and conclusions that are well supported by the evidence collected over the duration of the project become one more small piece in the molecular biological puzzle of life. In this context, a few papers become foundation papers for a particular area of research, not because they alone “proved” anything, but because those papers were either the first, or most comprehensive, or most scientifically compelling paper on the particular topic, and in all cases have been fully supported by hundreds or thousands of related reports from other labs over a span of many years. It is indeed unfortunate that the popular press chooses to make one paper into a larger-than-life event through unwarranted sensationalistic headlines and coverage.
            *
            Many of the hotly debated topics in human nutrition, such as the effects of something on human health, are really questions of molecular biology, and cannot be realistically addressed by large scale population studies, due to the difficulties in using human experimental subjects. As a result, we have very little knowledge of human nutritional needs, and most claims about the health effects of various supplements and foods are not supported by research that meets the standards of good biological experimental design.
            *
            Regarding your own “experiment”, for it to produce any meaningful information, you would have to have someone prepare all of your meals according to some month or two month-long schedule, that would be repeated for a year or more. You would start with either all organic or all conventional, then at the end of the one to two month period your cook would either switch to the other type of food, or maybe not, and repeat the same meal plan for the next one to two month period, over and over. During the time you are running this experiment, you would never know whether you were eating organic or conventional. Furthermore, during that time, you would have to always do the same level of physical activity, although there would be no way to adjust for exposure to cold (unless you live in an area that is never cold). During the entire time, the cook would weigh the amount of food prepared vs. how much you left; you would also have to record your weight daily. There would still be potential confounding factors: did you have at any time a low-grade (or worse) infection, or any injury, or were there times that you stressed due to external factors such as family issues or the vehicle you use to deliver food breaking down, and so on.
            If we wanted to understand what was going on even better, we would do a nutritional analysis on everything you were given to eat, and the cook would be instructed daily, for certain segments of the experiment, as to how to adjust the meal so that you were always presented with the same total nutritional content, regardless of the source of the food.
            After a year or so of this repeated process of a fixed meal plan with one or the other type of ingredient, we might be able to look at the data and come to some conclusion regarding the relationship between organic, how much you ate, and your health status.
            *
            The reality is, you are certainly free to make whatever observations you wish, but there are an enormous number of factors that can render any conclusion made based on casual observation either wrong or irrelevant, or accidentally correct.Even if we reached a conclusion based on a well-designed and well-executed experiment, we would not have any way to know if our results would be the same as a majority of the results from 5 or 50 or 50,000 other people doing the same experiment.
            *
            Thus the answer to your second question is that your “experiment” would need to be much more carefully and fully developed, as I outlined, before you would have results that even you yourself should “trust”. If your experiment is done correctly, it would be presumed to be “correct” until and unless other investigators did similar or more elaborate experiments that conflicted with your findings. Even if their finding conflicted with your results, that does not “prove” either set of results “wrong”. In this kind of situation, scientists who were active in that area of research would simply wait for more expansive and sophisticated experiments to be done to resolve why your data was at odds with other published data. The outcome of this could be any of a wide variety of possibilities.
            *
            Instead of the “experiment” you described, or a more rigorous version of it, one might be able to do extensive nutritional analysis on food samples, similar to what the USDA did for pesticide residues. If you could locate samples of genetically very similar plants, some of which were grown organically, and some of which were not, and compared the nutritional content using the methods of analytical chemistry, you would have an objective assessment of the extent to which “organic” methods increased or decreased nutritional content, on either a per unit weight or per plant basis.
            Similar work that was published comparing plants from seeds preserved for up to 80 years with modern versions of the same varieties showed that some modern varieties showed a 10% to 20% decline in nutrition per unit weight against the older varieties, but that there was a similar or greater variation between plants from a single batch of seeds. A probable cause of any average differences between “organic” and conventional food content would lie in the seeds used; a small organic operation might well choose to use older seed varieties, while a large scale operation will use whatever seed can be most economically obtained in large quantities that also has those pest and chemical resistance traits the grower wants. IF that is true, it would not be surprising to see *some* organic food on average to have higher nutritional content, but to what extent any actual superior nutritional content was due to organic vs conventional growing methods would be difficult to ascertain without an extensive set of samples and extensive data on growing conditions. The published reports comparing “old” and “new” seed offer ample evidence that small genetic differences can induce significant differences in nutritional content, as does the timing and amount of water and fertilizer that is applied.
            *
            I go through this long complex web to illustrate how progress is actually made in biological/biomedical research. As you presented your “experiment”, no research scientist would give it a second look, just as you originally suggested. But because it does not meet the standard for good research, it cannot be, and would not be, judged as correct or incorrect based on accepted scientific knowledge. In sum, you have made a subjective qualitative observation which cannot be “proven” true or false
            *
            While we are urged from our earliest days in school to “know the answer”, and suffer undesirable repercussions if we do not instantly recite the “correct answer” to any question, that training does not serve well in a complex world; a quick explanation for an observed event usually turns out to be the wrong explanation after more is known.
            *
            Since you ask about my status, I will tell you that I am a retired dairy farmer (20 years), retired software engineer (I have been writing software since 1965 – worked on military and aerospace projects, including the Space Shuttle, as well as on petroleum exploration and telecommunications projects, mostly in the operating system, language development, and hardware interface areas). I am currently finishing a Masters Thesis in genetics as part of a graduate program of study in molecular biology at an ivy-league school. During my time in that program I did computational research on genetic components of cancer treatments as well as my thesis work on the genetic evolution of human pathogens during the migration of modern humans out of Africa over the last 100,000 years. I also have separate degrees in physics and chemistry from different universities.
            Next fall I will enter a full time graduate program (Ph.D. track) at a very large university that is a world leader in agricultural research. My goal is to work in biotechnology and computational biology, with a focus on computational biophysics. My research goal is to build computational models of single and multiple cells at the level of individual molecules.The development of these dynamic models will permit the execution of experiments to answer questions in biochemistry and molecular biology that cannot be investigated by actual experiment using current technology.
            *
            I comment on this and other sites as a break from the very long days I am working right now developing a computer simulation for an unrelated research project.

          • cheleagh

            Thank you Roy for this extended reply. I will take time after work is over(Friday) to go over it carefully.
            It just came to mind that i have been delivering organic foods for 15 years now, and over that period i have talked to 100’s of customers who feed back their experiences of eating organically. Reports of children eating more fruit and veges. Some health complaints clearing up soon after the change, etc, etc..
            One just recently was a customer with a young boy with who was highly allergic to foods with chemicals and pesticides in them.(I’m unsure if the medical found this out or not) Doctors were prescribing creams, etc for his skin for some time with no good results. She was advised by a friend to put him on all organic foods for a while. Within a week most of his problems had cleared up quite considerably with only that change alone. They had stopped using the creams, etc. before commencing the organic foods.
            I’m wondering if the authorities were receiving the number of reports i have received over the years and they were genuinely looking for a better way, and to reduce these effects on these children why would they not commence more studies and trials in this area?
            Lack of funding due to lack of a good outcome for investors would be my reason.(purely business)
            What do you think? Remember that i haven’t read all of your last reply. Your answer may be in there. Cheers.

          • cheleagh

            Oh, and Roy I would also like to thank you for your tolerance of what would appear to you as an ignorance on my part to the scientific world.(partly true)
            i am overwhelmed by your credentials. I applaud you.

          • John Browne

            Here’s a study that you might appreciate:
            https://ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/234-246.pdf
            There are scientific indications here that seem to show the value of allowing some crop damage before reacting to ‘save’ the cop from pests and predators of various kinds… and strongly implies that those compounds that are valuable to us- as ‘vitamins’, anti-oxidants, etc are a result of the plant’s own immune system reacting to outside pressures of various kinds.
            “Science”- and “scientific method”- are tools to increase our understanding of the world around us. They are neutral, however… and scientists can “frame” an issue in such a way as to obtain a more likely outcome, with regard to their frame of reference. So a scientist can evaluate a process or phenomenon and be fairly certain that an outcome will favor a particular point of view… as so many scientists did who worked for the tobacco industry for decades, without ever challenging the idea that “cigarettes are safe”. ^..^

          • Lighthouse

            People with ‘credentials’ can still be wrong.

          • I realize that this is off topic, but if you want to know why I haven’t replied to you over at the ACSH website, it’s because either Alex or Hank has banned me. Apparently they are special snowflakes who can’t handle criticism. I won’t bother anyone here any more other than to say that I am amused at how they proclaim their intellectual rigor and championing free debate, but they Alex, at least, always goes for the ad hominem and then blocks.

          • Roy Williams

            1. Read the full USDA reports, in detail.
            2. The analysis is blind to the method of production – it only considers the product, regardless of how it is produced.
            3. “Common sense and logic must not exist in the scientific world” – I have difficulty believing that you are so ignorant of the scientific method and scientific criteria for facts that you would say that and believe it.
            4. The USDA was founded to help identify the farming methods that produce the highest yields, year after year, with minimum inputs. It was not established to promote any one method of farming over another. If “organic” methods were as productive and efficient as other methods, U.S. farmers would use “organic” methods on a large scale; no farmer likes to buy expensive fertilizers and pesticides, and they buy as little as possible.
            The fact remains that “organic methods are more expensive, less efficient, and often more labor – intensive than other methods.
            5. There are a significant number of “organic activists” who are not farmers. They range from ultra rich corporate CEOs who are getting very rich by selling “organic”, to political-power-hungry-activists whose goal is to force their ideology on the rest of the world by whatever propaganda is needed.

          • John Browne

            You may find this a fascinating study, Roy.
            https://ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/234-246.pdf
            This is probably one of those “few scientifically correct comparisons” that you mentioned… and there ARE “few”- because, more and more, the Ag schools depend upon research money from the “private sector”, which would be the very people who would prefer to discredit studies of this nature… and NEVER to FUND one! ^..^

          • Roy Williams

            That is an interesting paper. However, there are way too many uncontrolled confounding factors and the statistical power too weak for their conclusion to be valid – typical case of concluding beyond the limits of the experimental procedure.
            *
            The paper that best documents the decrease in nutrition in grains was funded and executed by Pioneer, using seeds in their seed bank; some of it was from 80+ years ago. It was a well designed trial, well documented and well executed, with all the obvious confounding factors controlled.

          • John Browne

            Uh, yeah… studies by corporations to stack their own decks always get attention from “the likely suspects”, don’t they?
            And you’ve got the lingo down, Roy– “confounding factors too weak for their conclusion to be valid”…
            Did you do “science” for Philip Morris back in the day? Now, THERE was some “science” to make a capitalist Proud! (or “How many ways can you design a “study” to reach an “inconclusive” result?”) Congratulations!
            Spin-doctors Rule! (just ASK them!) 😎
            ^..^

          • Roy Williams

            Your comment does not follow at all from what I wrote. Did you either did not read what I wrote, or not understand it?
            My academic research efforts have been in parasitology, cancer, and coevolution of pathogens with humans.

          • Roy Williams

            Instead of just sneering at me “you’ve got the lingo down” – provide some specific scientifically valid analysis of that paper that contradicts my claim. It’s not “lingo” to use correct scientific terms in discussing a research paper.

    • Roy Williams

      This is just a summary. There is more data than you want to see in the original reports – it is a very long read.

      • cheleagh

        This just popped up on my FB wall and i thought you may like to watch the short video.
        I’m sure you have an open mind in these situations. Tell me what you think.
        Cheers.
        https://www.riverford.co.uk/nature-not-nasties

        • Roy Williams

          I don’t doubt that the farm is wildly financially successful, or that they are doing what they say they are doing. However, the selling message uses the same fear-mongering and claims that contradict scientifically verifiable evidence that are so widely used by the organic industry: (1) glyphosate is a probable carcinogen (2) pesticides have killed 75% of the bees (3) “unknown effects”, (4) appeal to the populist mantra that anything related to a “big company” is per se bad, (5) pesticides cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year due to exposure; (6) appeal to “conspiracy theory” mentality by suggesting that big companies want to “control the food supply”; (7) debts to big companies cause “farmer suicides”; (8) claims that organic techniques do more than conventional farming to conserve soil resources.(9) the statement ” pesticides largely work by disrupting biological pathways common to most organisms, including humans” (a biochemically false statement); (10) appeal to the “cocktail effect”; (11) claims that “organic” methods produce less greenhouse gas; (12) claims that pesticide use causes birth defects and disease.
          Statements like: “complexity of our farm with its mixture of annual and perennial crops and livestock is unquestionably good for the soil and wildlife” are not useful statements, since there are no quantitative and objective measures. A statement like “but more importantly Oliver reckons it opens the soil structure and brings up nutrients from deeper…” is pure speculation (or appears to be) – at no point is there any appeal to any scientifically obtained data or other evidence to support his methods.
          Finally, the claim that plowing is slightly less bad for the soil than the chemical alternative is not supported by measurements of soil depletion on large-scale cropping operations in the U.S.
          The implicit suggestion that all farms could operate in the manner of Riverford is simply not creditable. The methods described suggest strongly that productivity is significantly below what modern technology-enhanced methods can achieve, and the labor requirements would appear to be unsustainable on a large scale.
          The most absurd statement I think I saw was the claim that most soils of the world would be unable to grow crops within sixty years as a result of modern monocrop practices. There are 150 years of crop production records in the US for corn and wheat; in summary, per acre production from 1860 to around 1920 was steady or slightly declining, but since then has steadily increased – on land that has been monocropped for 150 years. Instead of 12 bushels per acre in corn, we get over 12 times that, year after year after year. Wheat shows similar sustained improvements – over millions of acres, not just a few farms. That’s not random isolated reports – that comes from the most comprehensive, systematic data on large scale crop production ever collected – for 150 years and counting.
          *
          Clearly, what is being done at Riverford farms works for the owners. But their job add says “you will lead a team of thousands”. Really? In the U.S. we can grow tens of thousands of acres of vegetables with only a few dozen seasonal employees. Food poisoning due to pathogens is the major issue in food production today, and usually the more hands involved, the greater the risk of food poisoning. Showing me a field full of people is not reassuring.
          *
          The vague claims of substantial harm due to pesticide exposure are not supported by the Agricultural Health Survey, which has tracked the health of over 50,000 farm workers and their families over more than 20 years. The AHS data is public data that has been, and continues to be exhaustively analyzed by numerous independent scientific research labs. The AHS data, and the extensive independent analyses of that data, stands as the gold standard in scientifically verifiable data on the effects of pesticide exposure.
          *
          The claims that we are harmed by pesticide residues on food we eat are absolutely without scientific basis. The “war on cancer”, which involves tens of billions of dollars in research every year, in thousands of independent scientific research labs in over 100 countries around the world, produces over 100 new scientific research reports *every day*. Every independent scientist is driven by the desire to make the “next big discovery” that will substantially further our scientific knowledge, and yield substantial improvements in human health and our ability to conquer disease. Over the past decades, this world-wide quest for knowledge has found a few products that induce irreversible harm under specific circumstances: lead, asbestos, and a variety of compounds used in industrial manufacturing processes. Even with the intense biomedical research activity being conducted today in labs all around the world, no consistently verifiable evidence has emerged that the chemical residues found in our diet today have any negative effects. Globally, we suffer only from eating too much food of all types, and from eating food that is contaminated with pathogens. People die from consuming too much alcohol, or even from too much water too fast; a rapidly number of people are living abbreviated life spans due to the complications of obesity from a lifetime of eating too much of everything; many more die due to cancer that develops from long term exposure to tobacco products. These causes of premature mortality are well known, well understood, and represent the current scientifically derived understanding of these factors. No such mortality is associated with pesticide residues on food.
          In summary, the best scientifically derived knowledge does not support the health claims made on the Riverford web site.

          • John Browne

            What??? Monsanto DOESN’T WANT TO CONTROL THE FOOD SUPPLY? Are you MAD?
            (OK… just the ‘seed supply” will be enough, TYVM.)
            I like “scientifically derived” knowledge, which will ALWAYS come with the disclaimer that “WE don’t know Everything… and so new knowledge will be coming”… which gives corporations all the “wiggle room” they need. (“SEE? It isn’t ABSOLUTE! They DON’T REALLY KNOW!” etc)
            ^..^

          • Roy Williams

            John, all corporations want to make money – that usually entails gaining market share. All political activists want to control everything that falls under the umbrella of their particular ideology.
            Monsanto, Bayer, Sygenta, and other biotech companies stay in business because they sell a product that helps their customers make more money. They cannot use fraudulent sales stories, and they must deliver on their promises. They have been doing that for generations. I have no issue with that business model.

            Of course “we don’t know everything”. However, we should base public policy on conclusions based on high-quality data, not on fears which are speculative and unfounded. I certainly do not want public policy that affects my food being based on an ideology promoted by a bunch of people who know next to nothing about toxicology, biochemistry, and molecular biology.

          • John Browne

            Many “non-profits” actually want to make enough money to stay in business… as a secondary goal to their principal one (which might be something as simple as “disseminating information”).
            The biotech companies stay in business because they’re convincing farmers to buy their products… whether they actually ‘work’ or not. And, as corporations become more focused on “short-term profits”, then their methods will reflect that effort; and any possible “problems, down the road” will be discounted.
            Corporations will also manipulate governments to put regulations and laws in place to ‘justify’ their activities. One cannot sue the oil industry for all the smoke in our air caused by their customers burning their products. (Do economists call that “internalizing profits and externalizing problems”?.. something like that.) If the GMO pollen that wanders away didn’t potentially affect foreign sales of grains, why, there’d BE NO problem… because the FDA has ruled that “it’s the same as the old, non-GMO stuff” (except that it can be patented– Win-Win!). So there are nuances that you’re not addressing… but, why would you?
            I don’t want public policy based on “what’s good for chemical companies” with regard to MY food… because that would be an ethics-free disaster to our environment. There ARE OTHER things in this world besides PEOPLE… and, just because they don’t vote- or spend money- doesn’t mean that they “don’t matter”. ^..^

          • Roy Williams

            Speaking as someone who farmed for 20 yrs, I can tell you that farmers only buy a product once if it does not work, not over and over again for 20 years. If you purchased a car from company X that cost you $10,000 a year in repairs every year, would you buy again from that company? I would not. Same with seeds – if you buy a seed that gives a yield that is way below average for your area, you are going to have a long talk with the seed rep and your extension agent.
            You are badly mis-informed: much of the non-gmo seed is patented, even some of the seed you buy in the garden store. Some gmo seed has been off-patent for many years. All new varieties of seed may be patented.
            In your ideology “there are other things in the world”, you are being blinded to the fact that if it were not for what agricultural technology has accomplished over the last 100 years, most of us would either be working in the fields, doing manual labor most of the year just to feed ourselves, or we would be dead. Yes, the technology can be, and will be, improved. To accomplish that, we must continue to invest heavily in biological research, and translate that knowledge into new products that will improve food security globally. Technology that feeds people while reducing the environmental footprint required to feed each person is good for everyone and everything – including the corporations that develop and produce those products.

          • John Browne

            Well, Roy, if you’ve studied parasitology then you intrinsically understand Monsanto’s business plans… and if you’ve studied co-evolution then you’d have predicted the herbicide combinations that we’re seeing now- with 2,4-D thrown in, for starters- and what we can expect down the road, as target weeds develop resistance.
            I remember the bumper sticker “I’ll push my Chrysler home before I’d buy that tinny Jap pickup!” There are a LOT of reasons people will make poor choices about the seeds (and other things) they buy. (You’ve probably read about farmer suicides in India.) If I were farming downwind of a GMO rape grower, I might buy identical seed, just to stay in Business!!!
            I’m familiar with seed- AND plant- patents. (I’ve picked fruit near the Stark Bros. tree in Hood River Valley… a prisoner, of sorts.) And I’m not “blinded’ to ANY ‘facts’ (or your unproven assertions) about “agricultural technology” as an “socio-economic savior”. I DO understand that it has despoiled vast territories in the pursuit of profits… because I’ve been there to see it. The vast mono-cropped ecological deserts that have been created is all too real to me. And the “technology that feeds people while reducing the environmental footprint” is your pipe-dream. What has happened is NOT “good for everyone and everything”. Far from it! You’re welcome to your fantasy… but don’t pretend that it’s “the Gospel”. It ain’t. It’s only a chapter in a make-believe story that I first saw advertised in film strips in junior high… like “atoms for peace”, and how big dams were only “progress”… and “good for everyone”. Nobody mentioned that to the sturgeon, eels, whitefish, steelhead and salmon… and those creatures- including a few humans- who depended on them. Save the corporate BS for the ignorant. you get “No Sale” here. ^..^

          • Roy Williams

            So you really think that using the non-technology approach – like we did 150 years ago – would result in less land being used for agriculture – even though it would take six times as much land to grow the same food we grow now?
            Controlling pests – insects, weeds, viruses, bacteria, whatever- is a continual cat and mouse game. Just as you get a herbicide, antibiotic, insecticide, vaccine, or other pest control measure to work, the target species mutates. Just because that happens does not mean pest control is a bad idea, it just means you need to develop a deeper understanding of the pest and invent new control measures. There are a lot of potential methods for controlling weeds that have not been exploited.
            *
            Monsanto’s business does not pertain to parasitology, so I don’t see your point there.
            *
            Sorry to see you bring up the “farmer suicides in India” – another complex and badly misunderstood subject that people who are prone to want to assign all problems on technology and business are quick to believe without really digging into the issue.
            *
            You see a “vast ecological desert”. I see the best hope we have for continuing to feed a rapidly expanding human population. You see corporate profits. I see an opportunity to bring a better way of life to hundreds of millions of people who live a rough and insecure life in the deepest poverty. You see an “untested experiment”. I see the product of 40+ years technology development in thousands of research labs around the world. You see “chemicals”. I see an alternative method of farming that does not plow the soil nor require the backbreaking labor of hundreds of people.
            *
            You see a corporation as a unethical threat to society. I see corporations as the means society uses to achieve most of the thing it wants: electricity, water, medical care, transportation, clothing, housing materials, communication systems,
            *
            You obviously care about “environmental destruction”, and see it as the result of corporate greed. I see “environmental destruction” as the result of too many people being on this earth – and technology is the only tool we have to mitigate that destruction.

          • Lighthouse

            … Well, you see incorrectly then.

          • John Browne

            The GMO seed business has attempted to strike the death-blow to a tradition that has kept farmers semi-autonomous and independent for millennia. Farmers saved seed based on their understanding of what worked best in the particular soils and microclimates they worked. This was like ongoing research, in a way. The GMO seed business aims to do away with that independence! Forcing farmers to buy seed every year is the first step. When the farmers are no longer needed for their knowledge of their land, and their expertise, they can be ‘replaced’ by “farm managers” who are the peons of transnational corporations… and their principal collaborators- the Banks. Then the USDA strategy that those banks encouraged- “Grow or Die”- will finally pay off for the “big $$ boys” on Wall Street. And their farmhands will all be… imported. ^..^

          • Lighthouse

            All corporations may want to make money but some may be ethical and others unethical in their business practices.

          • Roy Williams

            That is a pretty vague statement. I named names. In my mind, sales and marketing techniques that rely on demonstrably false or misleading statements are pretty high on the “unethical” scale.

          • Lighthouse

            Obviously

          • Roy Williams

            So you are not going to offer any suggestions as to who you think is unethical, or why?

          • Lighthouse

            I’m not playing a game with you Roy.

          • Lighthouse

            Right on.

          • Lighthouse

            Can you prove that there are no long term effects associated from pesticide residues on food (aside from articles that you may chose to support your stand, which may or may not be honest and accurate)?

  • Alokin

    New peer reviewed research published in Nutrition Today shows fear-based messaging tactics used by activist groups and some organic marketers that invoke safety concerns about non-organic produce may be having a negative impact on consumption of fruits and veggies among low income consumers.http://www.foodandfarming.info/new-study-finds-fear-based-messaging-about-produce-negatively-impacts-low-income-consumers/

    A bit of a dilemma, isn’t it? The organic industry demonizes pesticide and claims there is no such thing as a safe synthetic pesticide residue, but by setting the record straight and pointing out there are synthetic pesticide residues on organic produce, one may be reducing consumption of all types of fresh fruits and veggies even more.

    The message that all produce is safe and that one should eat a diet rich in fruits in vegetables is being lost on those who would benefit the most by improving their diet.

  • T.l. Hughey

    I’m just learning how to eat organic because I’m wanting a healthier life style for me and my family, I always clean fruit with white vinegar and water to be safe, I guess I will keep doing so. Thank you

    • Roy Williams

      Good for you – cleaning fresh fruit is important to prevent food poisoning. It is even more important to clean fresh vegetables, as they are a very common source of food poisoning. (Not from pesticides, but from bacteria.) But you missed the whole point of the essay: there are zero health reasons to eat “organic”. And, by the way, there are good environmental reasons to NOT eat “organic”.
      Please don’t fall for the fear mongering scare tactics being used to market “organic” food. Remember: “organic” is not sold for your health, it is sold solely so that certain companies that stoop to such unethical marketing can make a lot of money off your ignorance.

      • John Browne

        There are excellent reasons to “eat ‘organic’…” that have to do with quality of the fruits and vegetables involved… as well as the (still) unknown and untested effects of many of the chemicals used by “conventional” agriculture practices, as they appear over a time period longer than those required by FDA and EPA tests. ^..^

        • Roy Williams

          John. What is your definition of “quality”? Certainly, the nutrient content among samples of the same plant vary greatly. Some modern varieties of plants, from wheat to tomatoes, have somewhat fewer minerals and vitamins per unit weight than some older varieties. The newer varieties have some traits that make them more suitable than the older varieties for large-scale commercial operations. However, in the case of wheat, the modern plant puts about 40% more of it’s total mass into the grain than do older varieties, which is hugely more efficient, economical, and environmentally-friendly.
          *
          Since there are very few cases of nutritional insufficiency in the U.S. in spite of very few people eating “enough” fruit and vegetable, trying assign any significant impact on nutritional status of our population due to changing nutrient density of individual food products is trying to answer the wrong question. On the nutritional side, most people who consume a “western” diet get way too many nutrients. On the environmental side, modern crops produce higher yields per acre, thus reducing the total number of acres of land needed to feed each person.
          *
          The “unknown and untested effects” claim is baseless. The Agricultural Health Survey, which has monitored over 50,000 farm workers and their families for over 20 years, has not shown any statistically valid evidence to support that claim., That Survey is still on-going; all of the data is in the public domain, and has been analyzed by a large number of independent research labs – not just a few industry or EPA/FDA people.
          *
          Every day, over 200 million Americans make a bad food choice: they eat too much. Obesity has been epidemiologically linked to many cancers, as well as a wide assortment of other negative health issues and reduced life expectancy – none of which has anything to do with agricultural chemicals. My own observation at the grocery check-out counter is that the “eat healthy” message is just leading people to eat more: ” here, I am going to buy all these 2000-calorie per serving pizzas, and also this organic kale so that I am eating ‘healthy food’ “.
          *
          Consider these numbers carefully from http://one-simple-idea.com/Environment1.htm:

          The U.S. has 3.794 million square miles, of which 3.54 million square miles is land area (for a fast growing U.S. population of 300 million people as of the end of year 2006).
          That is only 8.09 acres per person in the U.S.
          However, only about a quarter of that is arable land.
          That means there are only about 2.02 acres per person of arable land in the U.S.

          However, consider that there is only 12 million square miles (7.68 billion acres) of arable land on the planet.
          And, ignore for a moment that arable land is being lost at a rate of 38,610 square miles per year.
          That is, lets assume no arable land is being lost for the next 33 years. Then . . .

          In 2006, there was 1.15 acres of arable land per person, world-wide (i.e. 7.68 billion acres / 6.68 billion people).
          By 2039, there may be only 0.59 acres of arable land per person, world-wide (i.e. 7.68 billion acres / 13 billion people).

          However, arable land is being lost at the alarming rate of over 38,610 square miles (24.7 million acres) per year.
          Therefore, by 2039, there may be only 0.53 acres of arable land per person, world-wide (i.e. 6.865 billion acres / 13 billion people).
          At the current rate of loss of 38,610 square miles per year of arable land, and even if the population didn’t grow any larger, ALL arable land could be lost in only 310 years (12 million square miles / 38,610 square miles per year)!
          ***************
          There can be no question that if we are going to preserve civil society in the years ahead, we must find ways to feed the world on less and less land, with less and less water and other inputs – and give up way less to pests and plant diseases (example: right now, perhaps 30% or more of the world’s wheat and potato crops are lost to pests and plant disease).
          *
          Making baseless claims against the safety of modern agricultural technology is a vote for increased environmental destruction, increased loss of crops world-wide, and increased hunger in some areas of the world. Today, we are feeding the world on a few acres per person. Yields per acre 100 years ago were typically 1/5 of today’s yields. Without modern agricultural technology, we would already have mass starvation in many parts of the world, and global destruction of all forests and habitat for all species except humans.
          *
          Now, the most important technology we have available to improve food production – genetic engineering – is being threatened by the uncontrolled greed of those few wealthy individuals and companies who are spending millions of dollars to market their products through a campaign of fear and false claims.
          *

          • John Browne

            By “quality” I mean the % of the consumed plant that has those valuable traces of what modern science considers most healthful, eg the beta-carotenes, anthocyanins (and other anti-oxidants), and a wealth of other phytochemical compounds that are in many cases results of the “immune-responses” of plants to ‘threats’ in their environs… like insects, viruses, bacteria, harmful fungi, even browsing ungulates!
            Over 20 years ago there were studies conducted at U.C. Davis that compared “conventional” fruits and vegetable cultivation with “IPM” practices (not even organic!.. but leaning in that direction). What they found was that “scheduled (prophylactic) spraying” based on emergence times of certain known insect pests was thought to be the main reason that plants treated that way didn’t develop the immune responses that caused the “vitamin content” to go up. This is a fairly well-understood concept among those who prepare medicines from plant sources… that ‘wild’ plants are a lot ‘stronger’ in their medicinal qualities than their ‘farmed’ equivalent. (So those acres of ginseng grown under shade cloth in B.C. don’t have the “OOM-Pa” that the wild-gathered plants do.)

            Re: “On the nutritional side, most people who consume a “western” diet get way too many nutrients.”
            Wrong. You’re conflating “volume” with “nutrient”. “WE” get way too many fats and sugars, and not enough fiber… way too much salt and “enriched” product (which they Should call “impoverished”) and not enough “nutrients”.

            Wheat is a good example. “Enriched” wheat means that they took out the “healthy” part- the germ- because that’s where the OIL is… and oils go rancid… so they do that to extend the flour’s shelf life.
            When you mill wheat (and other grains) about 30% of those volatile oils evaporate in less than half a day. If you’ve ever made bread out of flour that you just milled yourself, you will notice a subtle taste there- a bit like the after-taste of a hazelnut- which is some of those oils trapped inside the loaf. (And that’s why my grandma ate wheat germ on her cereal in the “old days”…)

            Re: “On the environmental side, modern crops produce higher yields per acre, thus reducing the total number of acres of land needed to feed each person.”
            Well, yes, and no. If “WE” are growing more grain to turn into ethanol and to ship soy to China, and also eating meat like we have ever since WWII (when BEEF became a Really big business) then, yeah… I guess you’re right. If “WE” toned down the meat consumption by even 15%-20% then suddenly there’s a whole lot more available farmland! I know that Cargill, ADM, and their ilk wouldn’t appreciate that, but maybe THEY could get behind some diet changes, too… and encourage some other grains that are more healthful and tasty that don’t have the volume yields of modern polyploid strains of wheat.
            I have a niece who works for an airline. She loves pizza (and pasta), but has a ‘reaction’ to it here that doctors diagnosed as “gluten-sensitivity”. It isn’t “celiac-sprue” exactly, just on that spectrum. She discovered that she Never has a bad reaction to pasta (& Pizza!) when she’s in Italy. Do you suppose that they’re using farro (or einkorn) or a less gluten-rich strain of grain? Or maybe it’s a result of farmers in our country “drying out” their wheat in the field, by spraying with glyphosate a couple of weeks before harvest? (When I drove combine last- the 1960s- the local elevators would reject any wheat with a moisture content above 12%. In the Palouse, where I worked, that was rarely a problem… but Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, etc get harvest time showers that would give them grief if they didn’t have time to let their grain dry out before harvest.)

            Re: “The “unknown and untested effects” claim is baseless.”
            Wrong… and I’m not talking about “bad labs”- like IBT back in the ’70s and their falsified records to get approval for certain pesticides and herbicides (for the companies who employed them). I’m talking about the THOUSANDS of chemicals that have Never been tested. And I’m talking about the SYNERGISTIC effects when two or more chemicals are combined. All these ‘tests’ check out stuff like “L/D-50” etc on a Single Substance at a time. Sometimes the “inert” ingredients on a list of ingredients are “known or suspected carcinogens” (or “teratogens”, etc). Beyond THAT, I tried for two years to find out what the ’spreader’ was in the cleaning compound I used to mop the floors every night in a bakery where I worked. It was what I suspected was causing my nose to bleed… but it was a “trade secret” and they didn’t have to tell Anyone! When we finally used up all the 5 gallon buckets of that stuff and bought another cleaning agent, the bloody nose went away… nothing ’scientific’ about that, but it WAS a relief!

            Re: arable land… and its consequences. You know, if everyone in the world is gonna live like AMERICANS, well, we’re DOOMED. The annual per capita consumption of meat here is almost as high as Australia’s- over 200 lbs per person! And think about how many of those ‘persons’ are infants and children… not to mention the vegetarians. (WOOPS— that’s RED meat. Actual figure for MEAT- PER CAPITA here is 265 lb.) You have a handle on statistics, though, so you can figure out how much land- and feed- and WATER- it takes per pound of meat.

            Americans could grow a substantial amount of Food where they (we) currently grow LAWNS… and we’d be a healthier nation for the practice. (This is getting too long, so I’ll come back to some of your other concerns… like the “very wealthy” scam artists and their “organic” snake oil vs the poor little corporate ‘persons’ like Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta, and Monsanto… the poor little darlings!)
            ^..^

          • Damo

            You are a saint. I usually just get frustrated and call these idiots, well, idiots.

          • Roy Williams

            Thanks.

          • hyperzombie

            I agree with Damo, you do have the patience of a Saint… Saint RW, the patron saint of “internet agricultural discussions”

            I will sent the Pope a tweet on your behalf.

          • Roy Williams

            :)

          • Lighthouse

            Too bad it doesn’t sound like Roy really knows very much about this topic.

          • Lighthouse

            Roy sounds very uneducated in this area to me.

          • Damo

            That’s probably because you are unqualified to make that judgement.

          • Lighthouse

            I’m as qualified as you are (and probably more so).

          • Damo

            LOL, you don’t know me and if you believe you are qualified, why do you take such a wrong stance?

          • Lighthouse

            LOL is right… you don’t know me either dumb a**. I think you are the one with the wrong stance.

          • Damo

            Yeah, but you are wrong. I have a degree in science, I understand how science is conducted. I may not have expertise in this field, but I can recognize when someone is bullshitting because of the degree of education I have had. I learned critical thinking skills, something you and others haven’t.

            So, instead of claiming that Roy is uneducated, why don’t you explain how?

          • Lighthouse

            Your degree in science doesn’t mean anything to me/us. It’s very apparent you don’t have expertise in this field and why I think you should get off these posts. To those of us who work with or in the truly organic arena, we don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Get off your a**, be open minded and actually learn about it. I’m not wasting my time on people who want to sit around a diss more obvious healthy choices.

          • Damo

            Obviously my degree in science doesn’t mean anything to you, or you would know why you are wrong. By the way, I work with both conventional and organic farmers. I would say that alone gives my opinion more worth than yours.

          • Lighthouse

            … And posts like that is why we think you are not qualified.

          • Damo

            Who is we? Are you having language problems? How does my post prove I am unqualified? Because I know how to objectively look at and judge evidence?

          • Lighthouse

            ‘We’ is all of us reading your ignorant posts. You’re the one who can’t seem to understand the English language.

          • Damo

            Nope, I think you are having issues comprehending when to use the plural form of the pronoun “I.”

            It’s cool. Why don’t we start from the beginning and talk about the scientific method. After that, we can do some basic biology and chem before we get to the big stuff.

            Sorry, I am not going to touch statistics, but I am sure anyone of the other smart, educated people here can help you with that.

          • Lighthouse

            “We’ was appropriate to use in my post… what a dumb a**.

          • Damo

            No it isn’t, since “we” means more than one and you are only one person.

          • Lighthouse

            Your ignorance is unending.

          • Damo

            Because you struggle with plurals, I am ignorant. Ok, bye.

          • Lighthouse

            You struggle with communication in general.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            incorrect, he is qualified. You are an error waiting to happen.

          • Lighthouse

            And you are an error that has already happened… and just continues.

          • John

            Lighthouse has the connotation of brilliance, a bright light. This is so disappointing to see you rant and show your complete ignorance and uncouth demeanor. You are a sorry excuse for one who thinks so highly of them self. Someday when you grow up you will see the folly of your ways.

          • Lighthouse

            Lighthouse shines light. I think it fits perfectly… shining light on darkness and ignorance.

          • John

            You are delusional. Your ignorance is astounding. Something only the likes of you could accomplish.

          • Lighthouse

            Right back at ya.

          • Peter Olins

            Great commentary, Roy!

            (BTW there’s a typo in your link.)

          • Roy Williams

            Thank you

          • Lighthouse

            Too bad Roy doesn’t really seem to be fully educated about organic vs. non-organic and GMO’s.

          • Lighthouse

            Wake up Roy!!!

          • Lighthouse

            What a bunch of crap. Do you work for Monsanto? There are tons of people in the US with nutritional deficiencies. We need healthy, uncontaminated soil and food. Pesticides, GMO’s and chemicals are not the answer to help with that. Perhaps there is not much of an issue with a single ingestion of a particular pesticide but consider how many we are subjected to and the cumulative affect of them over time… There is tons of data linking these toxins and chemicals to diseases and health care providers all over the globe spend their lives trying to help people detox from them and heal. I think some people on this thread should spend some time researching health care related to this topic.

        • Peter Olins

          “…there are unknown…”

          I don’t follow your reasoning. Can you explain how you can conclude that there is a ‘known unknown’ effect? Or are you simply stating that you don’t know if there is an effect?

          What are the effects that appear over a long time period? The problem with unravelling effects that take years or decades to develop is that there are countless other things that also change over many years. While I’ll admit that it’s plausible that there might be long-term effects, it’s not clear to me how we might figure out if this is true.

          • John Browne

            Sorry, Peter… but I can’t locate the point that you are wanting expanded, or clarified. Perhaps a longer quote from previous text would help. Based upon your first paragraph, though, I’d say that there will ALWAYS be unknown effects… and we “KNOW” that because, if we have pursued scientific careers (or simply logic) we “know” that we “don’t know” everything about most things.
            RE Roy’s statement above: (T)he “unknown and untested effects” claim is baseless. The Agricultural
            Health Survey, which has monitored over 50,000 farm workers and their
            families for over 20 years, has not shown any statistically valid
            evidence to support that claim…”
            would be meaningful IF he had included a link to the study he referred to. That is one of several of his “broad-brush” statements that has no LINK to the information he claims is out there. He claims to be a scientist… so he knows better than that. ^..^

          • Roy Williams

            John, My apologies for a typo. If you search for the exact phrase Agricultural Health Study in Google Scholar, you will find (as of now) 5,190 references, 299 of which have that exact phrase in the title.

          • Lighthouse

            Eating cleaner without pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and GMO’s is a no brainer… what more do you really need???

          • Peter Olins

            A brain?

          • Roy Williams

            “Lighthouse” –
            There has been a substantial exchange of information on this discussion thread. Hiding behind a pseudo-name and throwing insults is not helpful, and I have to believe you are capable of better than that.
            *
            Please think carefully about what I have written here:
            *
            It is a crisis in public policy development that very few people understand biology and biochemistry well enough to make an independent evaluation of the safety of various foods and food products in our modern world. But thanks to the high priority that has been placed on cancer research for decades by various Presidents and public health officials, there are many thousands or research scientists, in independent research laboratories in Universities in countries around the world, trying to understand the biochemical and cellular processes that lead to cancer and other health issues.
            *
            Billions and billions of dollars are spent annually developing new knowledge about living cells work, and why they sometimes get out of control, and what can be done to either prevent cells from becoming cancerous or to “undo” their mistakes. There are hundreds of new scientific research papers published daily on efforts to detect, prevent, and cure cancer – over 50,000 reports in the last 15 months alone, and literally millions more are indexed on scientific literature search engines..
            *
            As one of the many thousands of grad students, lab assistants, and post-doctoral scholars who have spent time working in biomedical research labs, I can say with absolute certainty that if there were something to which people were commonly exposed that was found to cause bad health, it would be clearly identified – like acrlyamide in fried potatoes.
            Most people who are have not been trained in research in some field of molecular biology want simple yes-no, 5-word answers, but biology is not that way, at any level. That is one of the challenges that draws people to devote their life to making new discoveries that will improve the lives of people everywhere. Rather than rebelling against the complexity of the physical world, we embrace the complexity, and seek to learn and discover what we can.
            *
            Every research scientist wants to make that next “big discovery”. A discovery that GMO food caused *any* bad health effects – such as cancer or obesity – would probably lead to a Nobel prize, because that discovery – and (very importantly) the development of the evidence to support that discovery – would likely change a substantial amount of well-established biology. The body of knowledge we call “biology” has been developed by tens of thousands of research scientists devoting their entire professional careers to understanding some specific aspect of molecular and cellular biology and biochemistry.
            *
            I often see demands for “show me one study that proves [GMOs, some chemical, etc] is safe”. That is not how “science” is done, (yes, what you were taught in high school science classes was just plain wrong) and that is not how our knowledge was developed that has led to everything from better cancer treatments, to new materials that have made possible the computer or cell phone you are using . Even major discoveries – like the knowledge that bacteria have an immune system (which as led to much easier ways of making genetic changes in everything from bacteria to mammals) – are built in small steps, with each research project supporting and extending the results of previous projects.
            *
            In the case of food and food products, there is much pointing to epidemiology (like “there has been a dramatic increase in the consumption of [—–], so that is the reason we are all fat and dying of cancer”.
            The disappointing reality is that there are so many exposures that identifying one particular exposure as having more connection to a health outcome than some other exposure is not possible in most cases, and there are many ways to confirm that the that data from even very large epidemiological studies is often inconclusive.
            *
            The statement “people get cancer because of exposure to GMOs” is no more supportable than the statement “people get cancer because of exposure to food that is marketed as “organic” – there is no epidemiological support, or biochemical/molecular/cellular support for either statement.
            *
            If an automotive engineer who specialized in engine design explained to you in some detail how the placement of the spark plug inside the combustion chamber affects the mixture of combustion products, would you insist on saying, “what you are saying is b.s. propaganda”? or would you try to learn and understand more about how engines work?
            *
            I would hope that you would choose to learn – it is a lot more fun than being ignorant, regardless of how bad your experience was in school. As the saying goes: “Fact is stranger than fiction”, learning facts is really a lot of fun (once you get away from teachers demanding that you memorize all sorts of stuff for no apparent reason.) And best of all, learning more about the world around you leads you to more interesting jobs where you are less subjected to being told exactly what to do by a boss you don’t like.

          • Damo

            Very well said, Roy. You explained it very simply and in a way anyone can understand. It really does show that you are a better man than I.

            Can I just add, I was an extremely poor student (due to my own actions of not caring) in high school. I avoided chemistry and instead enrolled in ecology (which was still a good class but chem really should be required). I didn’t attend college until late in life, but once I did, all my previous beliefs melted away. I now doubt everything–until I see evidence for it. And even then, I continue to have reservations, since what we think we know could be disproven tomorrow.

          • Roy Williams

            Damo,
            Thanks for the complement – but I certainly take no claim for being “better” than you. And I applaud you for going back to school. (And you are right about chemistry!)
            *
            You don’t say what was the focus of your latest course-work, but I will suggest that it depends a lot on what field you are in as to the probability that some future set of observations will invalidate what we now know, and – importantly – how much of what we know would be invalidated by some new observation. My list here does not address the question of how significant some new observation (or, realistically, set of observations) will be from a scientific perspective 100 years from now.
            Anyway, here is my list, for whatever you care to make of it, from field least likely to be upended by new discoveries to most likely:
            1. Mathematics
            2. Physics
            3. Inorganic chemistry
            4. Organic chemistry
            5. Biochemistry
            6. Molecular and cellular biology
            7. Ecology
            8. History (since the first written records)
            9. Anthropology
            Full disclosure: I have separate degrees in physics, chemistry, and (soon) genetics, and I start a Ph.D program in computational biology/biotechnology in the fall – so there might be some bias. My graduate level training in molecular biology suggested to me that we are way past much chance of some new set of observations invalidating any major understandings in biochemistry or molecular biology – even going back to Rosalind Franklin, Watson, and Crick. At the time Franklin made the most famous X-ray diffraction image of all time, the scientists involved in the chase to decipher the structure of DNA already had a pretty good idea of what they were chasing. However, at the time, Life Magazine (which at the time, you may remember, was a reliable reporter of the world) portrayed the “discovery of DNA” as a singular “break through”. I am not demeaning the work of Franklin, Watson, and Crick (an a host of minor players) in any way – the point is that a lot of work led them to the point that allowed Crick to apply some physics to Franklin’s image to conclude that DNA is a double helix. Yes it was a historically significant turning point, but it did not happen suddenly, and the whole progression of the discovery of DNA, RNA, and Crick’s “Central Dogma” served to expand knowledge more than replace prior thinking. (If you have followed this so far, you probably know that the “Central Dogma” had to be modified with the discovery of RNA viruses, but that did not invalidate the rest of the “Central Dogma”. ) Even the discovery of the “immune system” of bacteria, from which has come (what appears at this point) to be the most significant scientific achievement of the last 30 years (the application of CRISPR/CAS9 to many species) did not suddenly “happen” in a lab at MIT or Berkeley, (although labs in both places were focal points of development), it is the still evolving outcome of a set of accidental observations, beginning with a report from a corporate scientist who did not pursue his initial observation back in the mid-1980’s
            Anyway – the history of science is all very interesting. Any if your recent study was in molecular biology, my apologies for probably boring you.
            Best Wishes
            Roy Williams

          • Damo

            See, I am not nearly as smart as you, my field was more of the Earth sciences (geography), you have some neurons firing on levels that most of us can’t even comprehend.

          • Roy Williams

            Geography is very important is this highly interconnected world! Hopefully you have been able to pursue your interests!

          • Lighthouse

            Roy, I’m not hiding behind anything and that is an ignorant assumption. I have worked with health care providers and associates in the organic and non-organic industries. I’m not trying to be rude but it appears there is blatant dishonesty, ignorance and stubbornness in these posts. Your posts sound convincing but from what I have read I do not think you are correct on a number of points and I think you are misleading people.

          • Roy Williams

            Lighthouse,
            There is nothing “dishonest” in what I wrote, and I certainly do write out of ignorance, and my hope in writing is that some readers will be stimulated to learn more about the topic at hand, or at least come to understand that there is for many topics a body of scientifically determined knowledge that applies to the topic. I am curious to know why you think I was “dishonest” or “ignorant” – and be specific.

            I appreciate the fact that you have worked in health care; my experience in that area has been working in biomedical research.

            Again, if you want to have an informative discussion, address specific points with arguments supported by multiple scientific reports and textbooks, as I have. The statement ” blatant dishonesty, ignorance and stubbornness” carries only the information that you disliked what I wrote.

          • Lighthouse

            I have already addressed many points. A lot of the so called “scientific” proof I have seen is nothing more than BS. You can keep the view you have but that doesn’t mean your right. I don’t have to spend my valuable time trying to convince you or provide you with anything. If you have an open mind and are genuine about seeking truth, there are plenty of resources for you to find the scientific backing you seek.

          • Roy Williams

            Almost everyone who makes statements like “the so called ‘scientific’ proof I have seen is nothing more than BS” refuse to engage in any dialog, or offer anything to back up their position. WHY?
            I mean, since you took the time to comment, you must want to influence the beliefs/thinking of others, so why are you backing out now? WHY?

          • Lighthouse

            I think you want to influence the beliefs of others more than anyone else here. I am not going to dig into all my research notes, documents, books and articles, etc. just for you. It is way too time consuming and you can spend your own time doing that. As I said previously, there are plenty of resources for you if you want the truth.

          • Roy Williams

            I am familiar with the marketing and ideological tactics and statements of some of the activist organizations that support “organic”. I thought maybe you had something more.

          • Lighthouse

            Nothing more is needed but to say that you don’t know it all and I think there are many people who disagree with you.

          • Roy Williams

            Why do you find knowledge so offensive? And, why are you so sure that your view of pesticides and GMOs is right?

          • Lighthouse

            Roy, it seems pretty clear that you have an agenda here… which is in support of a contaminated food industry. I’m not interested in corresponding with you and your nonsense.

          • Roy Williams

            You are the one with the agenda: which is to throw insults and claim that anyone who disagrees with you is a fool, but you have offered absolutely nothing to support your belief. Come on and say why you believe you are right.

          • Lighthouse

            I think you just like to listen to yourself. Your posts are self serving and inaccurate. I know what I know and don’t need to waste my time further with you.

          • Roy Williams

            that is a pretty arrogant and evasive behavior all at once. why?

          • Lighthouse

            I think you are arrogant… and antagonistic. I (along with many others) do not agree with or support your opinions… accept it.

          • Roy Williams

            Not hardly – you are the one who has thrown many insults at many people on this discussion. You have refused to offer even one piece of evidence to support your position. You have refused to back up even one claim. It is not arrogant to support a position. It IS arrogant to claim that you are above having to offer any evidence. You are not the Pope, and you do not have some special authority to try to bully people into believing what you believe. Most of the discussion here was a rational exchange of ideas, information, and perspective. Jumping in and trying to insult and discredit people, rather than present your perspective in a rational, respectful manner is 3rd-grade playground behavior – and it does not gather much respect from most thoughtful people, regardless of whether or not they agree with you. And by the way, if you think I am antagonistic, could it be because you have made many statements here that are nothing but insults to me and other people?
            For the most part, people read essays to be informed and to exchange ideas and information. There is no excuse for the sort of things you have said on this discussion. If you want to argue that pesticides are bad, then present your position in a rational, respectful way, and respond to questions in a manner that is thoughtful and maybe even informative.

          • Lighthouse

            Take a look at your own disrespectful posts to others. You want people to bow down to you and your posts… but that’s not going to happen (except for maybe your one or two supporters). I don’t have to do dance for you because you say it must be done. As I said before, you just get ticked off when people disagree with you but that’s too bad.

          • Damo

            LOL, you aren’t going to dig into your research notes, documents, etc. Because they don’t exist.

            I get why you might act this way to me, I am an ass. But Roy has been extremely patient an you are acting like he spoiled child you are.

          • Lighthouse

            Ignorant assumption (as usual)… and Roy has been just as rude as you have been.

          • Damo

            Nope, he has been a gentleman. You have been a spoiled child.

          • Lighthouse

            Wrong again.

          • Roy Williams

            I just read all of your comments here and elsewhere (200+ comments), oddly, most in the last 24 hours – so are you perhaps on some kind of drug trip, or did you perhaps get a new job working discussion boards for OCA or USRTK: Nowhere did you address any points. Pretty sad that you put yourself on such a pedestal that think it is ok for you to come here and just throw insults and engage in name-calling (and nothing more). It is that kind of behavior that gives on-line discussion boards a bad reputation. While there are a few like-minded persons that support you, you are not improving the reputation of the whole “organic” “non-GMO” concept – it certainly appears that your position is “If you don’t agree with me, I am going to do my best to insult you, and discredit you”.
            And by the way, are you being dishonest to claim you have all those notes, books, papers, whatever? Most people who have information are happy to share it, and if you are so committed to your beliefs, I don’t understand why you refuse to discuss it.

          • Lighthouse

            I do not have 200+ posts and you are an idiot with nothing better to do with your time than be a nuisance. The demeanor of my posts seem to match what already existed in this thread. I have addressed your posts. You just don’t like anyone exposing your nonsense.

          • Roy Williams

            my mistake – 143 posts.
            You addressed none of the points I made – absolutely none.

          • Lighthouse

            84 posts… So much for your mathematical and evaluation skills.

          • Roy Williams

            Disqus clearly states that you have made 150 comments on disqus.

          • Lighthouse

            Must be due to edits… you can count them yourself. It will be good practice for you to get your information straight before you post it here for everyone on Disqus… and since you apparently don’t have anything better to do. My posts are not linked to only you so get over yourself. It’s an irrelevant point anyway.

          • Damo

            LOL, can’t count, I see.

          • Lighthouse

            Your post makes no sense… as usual.

          • Damo

            You can’t count. It is obvious. How does that not make sense?

          • Lighthouse

            Ignoramus, I actually counted, he did not.

          • Damo

            So you made 60 some posts since you posted that?

          • Lighthouse

            What difference ignoramus?

          • Damo

            Is you life so empty that you have to be a hate-filled liar on the internet?

          • Lighthouse

            Hahaha… Who’s paying you to be such a jerk on here?

          • Damo

            Uh, this explains your general demeanor. Being an asshole is not a career, so you may want to stop.

          • Lighthouse

            Another stupid post from Damo.

          • John Browne

            Re: “.. learning more about the world around you leads to more interesting jobs where you are less subjected to being told exactly what to do by a boss you don’t like”

            It may lead to a great deal more, Roy… like an appreciation of how “science” is funded (and “why”)… and how the willingness of the big players in private sector agriculture- including the GE/GMO developers and those who may benefit by their efforts- has focused “research” into areas that will ultimately provide benefit to those corporations. The funding by Federal gov’t agencies is being replaced by the “private sector” money… possibly because somewhere above 85% of Federal money for “research” is currently channeled through the Dep’t of Defense. So, to get MONEY for RESEARCH, it means a prospective researcher learns what kind of research will likely appeal to those with the money. This has meant a troubling decline in “pure” research (of a kind that may not be monetized in the immediate foreseeable future).

            The approach to research, then, depends upon funding. The “land grant” colleges, who have been the places where most ag research was conducted, traditionally got Federal funds. Consequently, their “client base” was FARMERS… and, through the machinations of the USDA, generally, they did research MOL connected to agriculture in general. As their source of money shifted to “private sector” interests, so has the focus of research. In effect, the “client base” is now companies like Syngenta, Monsanto, etc. Follow the $$$.

            Additionally, when “research” funded by one of these corporations comes up with results that aren’t supportive (possibly even “condemnatory”) of the sponsors of that research, it is generally dropped from funding. In some cases, where a scientist finds other ways to pay for extending that research, the scientist will be attacked, across a broad spectrum… via the scientist’s employer, via media (sometimes via “ad hominem” means) and even physically, via hired thugs. more often it’s enough to simply “pull the plug” on finances of that line of research. Those that like the work in the lab get the picture… and find other projects (or other pursuits).

            The apparent willingness to consider the plethora of “new” chemical creations of biochemistry all “INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY” is, from my perspective, criminal negligence writ large… by an industry that’s given up any sense of moral responsibility for its actions, especially when an action might hinder the MONETIZATION connected to the “new” creation. This condemnation includes processes (and their offal) as well as the substances, themselves… and industry’s willingness to “shrug off” things like “trace amounts of _____” in commercial products, and “acceptable exposure levels” to ______ established by some Federal agency… with the knowledge that Federal agencies have a history of supporting “business” in all its many endeavors (and I won’t discuss the “revolving door” of “agency people” coming from the affected private sector and going back there again… it’s all “very collegial”… right?).

            While so MUCH of “research” is apparently dedicated to reaching “inconclusive” answers to questions of “risk” (and epidemiological studies), because of the possible disturbance to profitable business practices (maybe my all-time favorite being the battalions of “scientists” who could never figure out if SMOKING was deleterious to human health), there will always be some good– even Great- research going on in the “life sciences” arena. It has always been fascinating to wonder about the interface between the pure physics of living things, and the “animation” of those living things… and, even with all the efforts, and the new tools- from Cray computers to CRISPR- (Who KNEW that palindromes were at work for bacteria???) our species still has a ways to go.

            The teamwork necessary in scientific research, where the logical result of the deductive reasoning of “scientific method” has produced zillions of “specialists” in an incredible number of “specialties”, many of whom have only rudimentary knowledge of other pursuits, has (to my mind) increased a need for at least a small population of “generalists” with a willingness to develop “Inductive reasoning” skills… and perhaps a willingness to “go with their gut” (which we are learning CAN affect our “thought processes!). Is there a significant service played by such people in the pursuit of a combination of idealism and skepticism, like the promulgation of the “Precautionary Principle”? The obvious downside– the possible stifling of profits to capitalistic corporations– is possibly too great a barrier to overcome. There are far fewer restraints on economic pursuits than mankind has ever experienced… and, except for a very few instances, “we” only really worry about effects on People. The rest of the biosphere is only there to accommodate our curiosity (and, of course, economic pursuits). Where are we all going with this?

            Re GMO, I’ll say this: I prefer the devil I KNOW, to the devil I DON’T KNOW. (and, even the devil I Think I know, still holds a lot of
            cards up a lot of sleeves). Fooling around with inter-Kingdom gene insertion to “make money faster” is both “playing God” and demeaning “natural selection”. In the conventional world we have already done that, by replacing the ecology of the Midwest (etc) with a monocrop pursuit of industrial wealth. What my gut tells me is that we’re compounding a great injury with a brash insult… one hippie’s opinion.
            ^..^

          • Roy Williams

            John
            Thanks for sharing your perspective – way more literate than most. There are some points that I would like to discuss, but right now I busy preparing a presentation for a conference – so it may be a while before I can get back to you on that.

      • John Browne

        I AM TRULY AMAZED BY THIS STATEMENT:

        “Remember: “organic” is not sold for your health, it is sold solely so
        that certain companies that stoop to such unethical marketing can make a
        lot of money off your ignorance.”
        Roy, this is So wrong, inflammatory, deceitful, probably libelous… and if it WERE “true”, would CERTAINLY be True, as well, of the corporations willing to foist GMO crops into our national agriculture community. How do you consider yourself a “science-friendly” person and then spout this kind of “broad-brush” drivel? What do you actually KNOW about “organic agriculture”? (I’m almost sorry that I went back to read more closely on your comments, to try and establish some kind of sense of continuity. This is “free speech” of a most unseemly variety!) ^..^

        • Roy Williams

          The reason that I consider much of the marketing of “organic” as unethical is that the marketing is all about how “bad” conventionally produced products are for one’s health. If there was a solid body of research to support the claim made by “organic” marketeers, I would have a very different opinion. But when people promoting “organic” do so almost exclusively by trying to discredit independent scientists working on ways to improve crops, and continually broadcast much falsehood about “science”, deny that “science” is “right”, and promote fear of what we are eating – then it is unethical – particularly since those claims are so readily accepted by so many people who are not in a position to make an informed evaluation of any claims about the safety or “healthy” character of food.

          • Lighthouse

            I agree with John and from what I have read of Roy’s posts, he simply does not know what he is talking about. Organic crops may not be as perfect as one might think but a better standard for our health is always better. Less pesticides and NO GMO’s is a no brainer. Wake up Roy!

          • Jason

            Based on what evidence?

          • Lighthouse

            Give me a break. Based upon mountains of evidence that many have reviewed. Read the other posts or get off your a** and do some research for yourself.

          • Jason

            Well, that’s why I ask. I have done the research for my self. And the weight of the evidence has not concluded any substantial health benefits or decreased risks.
            So that leaves me wondering what evidence you have that would contradict that.

          • Lighthouse

            That’s nonsense. We’re pretty sure some of the people posting here work for associated companies because the responses are so ridiculous and seem to be self serving.

          • Damo

            Who is we?

            And no, I am employed in conservation and help both organic and conventional farmers protect soil and water.

            You are just uninformed.

          • Lighthouse

            No, you are.

          • Damo

            Ok, when you have something to say that is beyond a three year old’s vocabulary, we can talk.

          • Lighthouse

            You must be referring to your vocabulary and posts.

          • Damo

            Good job, you used a multi-syllable word. Now try putting several together to make sense.

          • Lighthouse

            Ditto.

          • Damo

            Nope, ‘fraid you made a mistake there. That was one word. Try, try again.

          • Lighthouse

            Ok, here’s a little more for you: Get off this thread ignoramus.

          • Damo

            Now you got it.

            At this rate we may be able to cover the beginning lessons of science in two to three years

          • Lighthouse

            It probably would take you that long.

          • Damo

            I agree, teaching you the basics of science would take anyone years, and you still would probably deny it.

          • Lighthouse

            What an idiot. All you do here is continue the thread with your junior high school level of communication and talk about your science classes.

          • Damo

            Yeah, that is all I do because that is all you can understand.

          • Lighthouse

            Go back to junior high school Damo… or do something else constructive.

          • Damo

            Why? I am adequately educated. It is obvious you are not.

          • Lighthouse

            You think you are… with a junior high level of communication skills and nothing better to do.

          • Damo

            Nope, I communicate like an adult, you just can’t recognize it as such, since you can’t.

          • Lighthouse

            Lol… yeah right. Have fun in school today (junior high school, that is).

          • Damo

            See, that is what I am talking about. If you have something to add to the conversation that isn’t an insult, let’s hear it. But you don’t. You just have insults.

          • Lighthouse

            Take a look at all of your posts over this entire page… you have offered nothing but an ongoing list of ignorant and insulting remarks. Go do something constructive (as stated previously).

          • Damo

            Yep, if you think I have done nothing but insult and you haven’t there is no hope for you.

          • Lighthouse

            Repeating: Go find something intelligent and constructive to do with your time.

          • Lighthouse

            Right back at ya Damo.

          • Damo

            More proof.

            Stop being an asshole.

          • Lighthouse

            More proof is right… shut your foul mouth and go do something constructive.

          • Damo

            You seem to think that me stopping you from spreading misinformation is not constructive. You are wrong.

          • Lighthouse

            Stop me? Misinformation? LOL People who want the truth will find it. Your ignorant posts will be viewed as such.

          • Jason

            Well, I’m not really concerned with who people work for. The evidence is the evidence. And the evidence that I’ve seen shows no tangible health benefits.

            So, again… what evidence do you have to the contrary?

          • Lighthouse

            No, the evidence isn’t the evidence unless it comes from an honest source. You should be concerned about who people work for because data can be tainted by people associated with large corporations and for an agenda. You haven’t provided any evidence to support your stand – and I don’t owe you any evidence here. The evidence is available to you if you honestly want it but you’ll have to put forth a little effort.

          • Jason

            Ok… we both agree. Honest data is important. So where is your evidence?

          • Lighthouse

            I have already answered that question. Now, where’s your evidence?

          • Jason

            You have? All you said is that it’s available to me. Well, I realize that some evidence is avialble. But all that I have seen has not concluded any appreciable health benefits. So that must mean that you have evidence that isn’t readily available to me. So, would you mind sharing?

            My evidence? You could start with the largest review to date.

            http://annals.org/aim/article/1355685/organic-foods-safer-healthier-than-conventional-alternatives-systematic-review

          • Lighthouse

            That wasn’t evidence.

          • Jason

            Oh? A comprehensive review of all of the available data on the topic isn’t evidence? Interesting take.

            I couldn’t help but notice you still haven’t supplied any of yours. Hmmmmm…..

          • Lighthouse

            I don’t need to spend my time teaching you. Do some legitimate research.

          • Jason

            Don’t worry… you’re not teaching me. But you have the opportunity to teach all the people reading this thread. Why not take that opportunity? Surely you weren’t just making stuff up…. were you?

          • Lighthouse

            You are right… I have better things to do with my time than get into long debates and arguments with certain people who think they know it all. Go and learn.

          • Jason

            More unsupported claims… color me surprised.

          • Lighthouse

            As I said, get off your a** and go learn.

          • Jason

            Oh yes… of course! It’s up to everyone else to back up the wild claims you make.

            Sounds legit.

          • Lighthouse

            I haven’t made any wild claims ignoramus. Get off your lazy a** and learn something. It’s not my job to teach you (already stated).

          • Jason

            And I haven’t debated any of them. I just asked what evidence you had to support them. The fact that you’re violently refusing to provide any leads one to believe you might have been lying. Care to prove me wrong?

          • Lighthouse

            ‘Violently’ refusing? You are a joke.

          • Jason

            Well, you did resort to name calling after several sincere requests to for the evidence you referenced. What would you call it?

            Wouldn’t it just have been easier to just reference the evidence you’re referring to??

          • Lighthouse

            No it definitely would not. And I won’t spend more time arguing with you about it.

          • Jason

            Well, you’re not doing much to convince anyone that you’re not full of sh*t.

          • Lighthouse

            I don’t have to convince you. It’s not my job.

          • Jason

            So you only do things that you get paid to do? I guess that means you’re shilling for Big Organic?

          • Lighthouse

            I don’t have to convince you. It’s not my job.

          • Jason

            Ok… I’ll take that as a “Yes”.

          • Lighthouse

            Take it any way you want… I don’t really care.

          • Jason

            Yes… I’ve gathered that you don’t really care about a lot of things. Like, for example, whether your beliefs are actually true or not.

          • Lighthouse

            Stupid assumption… as usual.

          • Jason

            Assumption?? You’re demonstrating it with every post. I’ve shown you evidence it’s not true. You’ve shown nothing to the contrary, have no evidence to the contrary, and yet keep repeating your mantra. It’s obvious you don’t care about truth.

          • Lighthouse

            Do us all a favor and find something else to do… I’m not going to spoon feed you my research because you don’t want to put forth the effort. You’re the one keeping this thread going saying nothing but whining a lot.

          • Jason

            Your research!? I literally laughed out loud.

            Have a good day.

          • Lighthouse

            What a fool. Who cares about your ignorant assumptions and whether you laughed out loud or not.

          • Damo

            Don’t you have something intelligent and constructive to do?

            Apparently not.

          • Lighthouse

            That’s what I’ve been directing you to do for quite some time now. Do us all a favor and go do it.

          • Damo

            I am doing something constructive. I am stopping you from spreading lies.

            Go read a book, learn chemistry, find out why you are wrong.

          • Lighthouse

            Do us all a favor and just shut up Damo.

          • Lighthouse

            That’s what we’re all waiting for you to do.

          • Damo

            You have been waiting for me to stop you from lying??!?!?!

            Just stop lying on your own.

          • Lighthouse

            You’re not fooling anyone when you try to make a play on words… it just makes you look like even more of a dumb a**.

          • Damo

            You are stupid. What play on words? I said I am stopping you from lying, then you said that was what you were waiting for.

            Get some help, you are deranged.

            Get a hobby or something better to occupy your time with. You’ve been waiting all night, while I slept, to respond to me. This is not healthy.

          • Lighthouse

            Very, very stupid post Damo.

          • Damo

            Whatever it takes to feel good bout yourself, I guess. Have a good life.

          • Lighthouse

            That’s what I’ve been directing to do on several posts. Do us all a favor and go do it.

          • Lighthouse

            That’s what I’ve been directing you to do on my last several posts. Do us all a favor and go do it.

          • Damo

            Are you drunk?

          • Lighthouse

            Be quiet dumb a**. Haven’t you found something constructive to do yet? You obviously want to keep this dialogue going or you wouldn’t keep coming back. Go ahead… let everyone see what a junior high schooler you are.

          • Damo

            Yeah, that’s why in the middle of the night you sent me three responses to each of my posts. You obviously are attention starved.

            Pretty sad. I pity your empty life.

          • Lighthouse

            I’m working on a project… you’re the dumb a** who keeps coming back looking for attention… but all you are is annoying.

          • Damo

            Working on a project? What is your thesis the effects of being an online troll?

          • Lighthouse

            Almost time for you to get up for junior high school Damo.

          • Lighthouse

            Stupid assumption… they just keep coming from you.

      • Lighthouse

        Not so for true organic, Roy… and there are many who know it.

      • Lighthouse

        That’s not true. And people in the heath care industry know this isn’t correct.

        • Sounds like an appeal to authority fallacy, if you have links to studies that prove Roy is incorrect please share them. Telling us people in the health care industry know this is correct is not a sound argument when there is people in the health care industry who support what Roy has said.

          • Lighthouse

            There is ignorance and lack of knowledge in the health care industry but the information in my post is solid and stands whether you agree or not.

          • You have not provided any information, just unsupported claims and fallacies.

          • Lighthouse

            I think your just want to argue for the sake of arguing. I’m not interested in dealing with close minded people.

          • You havent provided any reason for anyone to change their minds . Also can you please limit yourself to one reply to each of my comments it gets messy otherwise.

          • Lighthouse

            Oh yes I have. And you could find them too… if you really wanted the truth. You probably believe every report there is supporting chemotherapy and vaccines without questions too.

          • I make my mind up on a case by case basis, chemotherapy is not something I or anyone I know have had to have, I will wait to I might need it before doing any research on it.

            It does not surprise me that you are an anti-vaxxer.

          • Lighthouse

            It does not surprise me that you are a pro-vaxxer.

    • Damo

      If you truly want a healthier lifestyle eat more fruits and veggies–organic or not. And if eating conventional saves you enough money to eat more, do that!

      • Lighthouse

        If you want pesticides and a bunch of crap in your food you can eat non-organic… TRUE organic is a much healthier (and obvious) option.

        • Damo

          Wrong, been proven no difference.

          • Lighthouse

            Wrong, there is a difference for TRUE organic.

          • Damo

            Go ahead post the proof.

          • Lighthouse

            It’s a no brainer. We’re just reading ignorant posts here against it.

          • Damo

            Seriously, post the evidence that leads you to believe this.

            That you won’t is proof of you not being qualified to have a judgement concerning science.

          • Lighthouse

            Your measurement of proof means nothing to me. I don’t work for you and don’t have prove anything to you. If anything, it’s the other way around. What you consider proof here is just a dogmatic opinion.

          • Damo

            Just post why you believe that. If you can’t, then you need to rethink your position. Go away until you can form an argument.

            Thanks.

          • Lighthouse

            I don’t work for you dumb a**. I think you and some others are just programmed idiots holding to your programmed teaching. Get off this thread until you have something intelligent to say.

          • Damo

            Is that what you think conversation between adults is? You make a claim, then expect, without reason for everyone to agree.

            If they don’t they are dumbasses?

            I think I have said enough intelligent things, your turn.

          • Lighthouse

            Your demeanor and posts speak for themselves. You can eat crap food and chemicals if you want to (and be an idiot). The evidence of what is going on with out food supply is overwhelming. It’s not my job to provide that to you because you are apparently too lazy to look.

          • Damo

            That’s the thing. I did look. I used to be just like you. But once I looked beyond just a superficial reading of this evidence, I found many, many problems with the evidence. Mostly that it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. So, no, I can’t find any evidence that backs up your claim, and if you are unwilling to provide any new evidence, I and evberyone else will just assume that you are wrong.

          • Lighthouse

            You may ignorantly assume I’m wrong but not everyone will. And no, you have not thoroughly researched or you would not being taking the stand that you are.

          • Damo

            Like I said, provide me with evidence. I have vast experience working with both organic and conventional farmers. Organic farmers pollute more often than conventional.

          • Lighthouse

            That doesn’t mean they all do.

          • Damo

            I never said they all do. What does that matter?

          • Lighthouse

            You’re the one who brought it up.

          • Damo

            No, I said they pollute more. As in more pollution occurs on organic than conventional farms. So, one or two organic farms are doing ok–so what?

            You really are this dumb?

          • Lighthouse

            You don’t make any sense. Say something intelligent or get off this thread.

          • Damo

            Please don’t address me when you are giving yourself advice. Thanks.

          • Lighthouse

            What a dumb a**.

    • Biron_1

      The pesticide residue you are cleaning might be less toxic than the vinegar.

      • Lighthouse

        Stupid post.

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          Not stupid ,correct.

          • Lighthouse

            Not correct, stupid.

  • Tami Chapman

    Ill still take natural pesticide over synthetic, and you didn’t even address the GMO issue.

    • Imidacloprid is a synthetic neonicotinoid with an oral LD 50 to mice of 130 mg/kg while the natural nicotine has an oral LD 50 of 3.34 mg/kg to mice making it far more toxic.

      Been “natural” does not make something safe.

      • John Browne

        Right… and “LD50” may have nothing to do with the harmful effects of chemicals, ‘natural’ or “synthetic”. People that publicly ate a tablespoonful of DDT did not die! Of course, their eggshells may have been weakened, but that’s not on anyone’s radar, is it?
        The effects of previously unknown chemicals in the biosphere can emerge at the strangest (to us) places. ^..^

        • Hi John, my argument was not that LD50 is the most accurate measure of potential harm to the enviroment/long term health. I am just saying that if you have two chemicals one “natural” and one “synthetic” there is no reason to assume that the natural one is safer just because it is natural.

          Also, we have come a long way since DDT was first used, it now cost on average $286 million to develop a new pesticide, a large part of this cost is testing for environmental effects, environmental fate, human health effects etc.

          • John Browne

            Hi… yes– and I agree with your argument… and was pointing out that some measures don’t really indicate the real harm done by some of these chemical compounds. It isn’t “only about humans”.
            Amazing that, given THAT level of expenditure, the results can be so inadequate, so often. ^..^

          • What recent results have been inadequate?

          • John Browne

            I don’t know how “recent” the work around endocrine disruptors is… but it began decades ago, and still hasn’t reached that “critical mass” where the info around it is transmitted to the medical profession (and others who may have a position to educate and institute practices to deal with this problem. (Theo Colborn who died in 2014, was my information source.)
            The continued testing of a single ingredient in isolation is inadequate… ie it may be Necessary but it is insufficient. Chemicals- herbicides, fungicides, etc aren’t applied in isolation… they’re part of a “cocktail” of ingredients. And, in most cases, Industry gets the ‘benefit of the doubt’ (because of the expense that they suffer); ie chemicals are considered “innocent” until proven ‘guilty’. One helpful practice is that the States have the right to do their own testing and set rules of their own. Even given the strength of ag lobbies, there are sometimes stringent limits on certain practices (eg sprays for aquatic weeds) that go further than the Fed rules.
            It all makes sense, since our government has always gone to great lengths to encourage U.S. business interests. The prophylactic use of antibiotics (used as much for growth enhancement as they are to fend off infections) in CAFO livestock operations is simply insane. Ask any medical professional. But… so what? ^..^

          • So no specific examples?

            I would suggest reading about how pesticides are regulated in your country, I think you will find the process involved in gaining pesticide registration is incredibly thorough, probably why there has been no confirmed cases of people dying or getting sick from consuming residues on food.

          • Lighthouse

            Cancer and a lot of diseases are linked to toxic chemicals… it’s common sense. Get educated.

          • As other posters on here would say, there has not been a single confirmed case of a person getting sick or dying from pesticide residues on food.

          • Lighthouse

            No one knows how all the chemicals in our foods and in our products has completely affected us… but we do know there are a lot of diseases that people are dealing with and we do know that care providers all over the world who deal with these patients know that there is a link. I don’t care what you and “other posters” say because those are uneducated posts in my opinion.

          • Lighthouse

            …Maybe not that you know of and maybe not from one instance of ingesting… but the cumulative affect can be quite different. And you’re not even considering how they interact with the other chemicals we are subjected to.

          • after 80 years of widespread pesticide use people are healthier and living longer than ever.

          • Lighthouse

            Rubbish. You don’t fool me one bit.

          • Lighthouse

            Rubbish. You don’t fool us one bit.

          • Do you have a reference or something that disputes my statement?

          • Lighthouse

            Do you have a reference that disputes mine? Interesting that you jumped on here the same time Damo did.

          • you have not provided a reference in any post.

          • Lighthouse

            Nor have you.

          • In any of your posts ever, I have provided links to studies before and provided opinions and facts I know from my education and experience, you have done none of this.

          • Lighthouse

            I haven’t seen anything substantial whatsoever.

          • Lighthouse

            It’s common sense that true organic is the more healthy choice to conventional farming. If you need someone to prove that to you, you will need to get help elsewhere. There are tons of references and resources for you to learn from. Start in the health care industry with providers who deal with toxicity and diseases (not standard MD’s who have only been educated in one area)… then research nutritionists, patient testimonies, organic farmers, lab results… then you can also check the dozens of research studies and documents on this subject. I don’t have the time to debate this issue (especially with people who are not open minded). I think some people just want their ears tickled so they will feel better about not spending a little more money for a cleaner product.

          • “It’s common sense that true organic is the more healthy choice to conventional farming”

            Wrong, there may be a slight difference in some antioxidants levels and some vitamins between organic and conventional food, but this difference has not been proven to be relevant to humans. There may be slightly more pesticide residues in conventional food but this is not biologically relevant to humans and organic food tests positive for pesticide residues too. Furthermore, organic food is more likely to contain higher levels of e coli which can be and has been deadly to humans.

            ” Start in the health care industry with providers who deal with toxicity ”

            How about I do the “common sense” thing and start and finish with peer reviewed studies that compare organic food directly with conventional food. Which is what I did, and the information above is what I found. Organic food is twice the price for slightly less pesticide (but not zero) residues, which are not at biological relevant levels anyway, slightly more phyto nutrients (which the health effect is unknown) and higher levels of dangerous e coli. You cannot draw the conclusion that organic food is the more healthy choice.

            ” I don’t have the time to debate this issue”

            Correction, you don’t have the ability to debate this issue.

          • Lighthouse

            … Your post only demonstrates your ignorance on the topic.

          • Lighthouse

            I have already commented in several places.

          • you didn’t provide any information in your posts.

          • Lighthouse

            There is too much to share in this forum. You need to be open to truth and put forth a little effort to find answers… more than what you’re providing here.

          • How about i just continue to read what the science says about pesticides, pesticide residues and organic food . I suggest you do the same if you want people to take you seriously.

          • Lighthouse

            If that is your only resource, then in my opinion, your research is very unrounded and self serving.

          • you are defiantly not smart enough or qualified to debate this topic, scientific studies are the best resource we have.

          • Lighthouse

            You are ignorant with unrounded research.

          • SageThinker

            The other here is clearly an agenda-pushing troller for the industry position so disregard their insults. You’ve stumbled upon a topic that seems to be the new climate change denialism — the defense of the agrochemical industry by single-purpose accounts whose sole purpose seems to be to use all the psy-ops techniques of denialism to maintain a position for as long as possible to extend industry profits.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            More shill gambit accusations from integrity free sageless.

          • SageThinker

            Oh no, did you say “shill gambit” ?!?!?!? You just said the magic words. Help! I’m melting! …………..

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            How would you know. By your comments your brain melted long ago. A symptom of that is use of the shill gambit.

          • SageThinker

            Really, the use of the phrase “shill gambit” is more sad than the actual use of the shill gambit. The thing is that i do not know or really even care if you or anyone else is paid per post or paid to write a review article in Critical Reviews in Toxicology or paid to attack “Food Babe” because she’s a popular person critiquing the industry, or if “Science Babe” is a purely unconnected character from the agrochemical industry even though she happened to be working in an agrochemical company, or if Steven Savage got paid more than the free trips to Hawaii for writing his tripe on the Forbes blog, or if Draco and Senapathy and the rest of the pseudo-Skeptics are paid or just enthusiasts (one might say “useful minions” harnessed in a Bernaysian way to change public perception)…. etc….

            You see, it doesn’t matter if you’re paid or if you do this from an ideologically blindered perspective.

            I do this for free, working as a carpenter, because i am passionate about end-running propaganda. I see the propaganda machine and my sniffer has proven correct over and over. I knew Greim and Williams review articles were industry tripe. I knew the EPA memos show collusion since the 1980s to the present day with Jess Rowland’s fiasco and the recent FOIA reams that show such PR efforts and collusions.

            So the “shill gambit” is a sad phrase that’s so hackneyed and part of your mindset because it’s a sonorous conjoining of two rather antiquated words. Good band name.

            Bye.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            The only reason shill gambit is used to describe evidence free and integrity free individuals such as yourself. Is because such low life types use it almost constantly. Thus the use and existence of the phrase is due to you and other wacktivists. “Attacks food boob because she is a popular person?” Nope, Because she is a liar. The safety records of both glyphosate and biotechnology have exposed you to be dishonest. You lose.

          • Lighthouse

            Nope, I think you lose. Anyone who defends glyphosate loses credibility right away.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Well that is a foolish remark. Essentially what you just said is that defending truth causes a loss in credibility. I think that claim can be safely rejected as nonsense.

          • Lighthouse

            Your truth is not the truth. I think your claim can (and has) been safely rejected as nonsense.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            “Your truth?” The truth is the same for all. That your truth, my truth stuff is hippy nonsense. You don’t think. You have a leftist opinion that defies logic and documented facts.

          • Lighthouse

            There is ‘the truth’… but your opinion does not constitute as the being the truth just because it is your opinion… nothing to do with hippies. You have a biased opinion that defies common sense.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            “common sense?” acknowledging the facts on glyphosate is common sense. Arguing, as you do, that the facts don’t matter is delusional. Shut up or provide evidence.

          • Lighthouse

            I don’t work for you. I think you and some others are just programmed idiots holding to your programmed teaching. Get off this thread until you have something intelligent to say.

          • Damo

            OK, please present evidence that explains why he is wrong.

          • Lighthouse

            The evidence is everywhere

          • Damo

            You don’t work for me? What does that even mean?

          • Lighthouse

            I don’t work for you. I’ve reviewed the evidence many times over. Get off your ass and go find it yourself.

          • Damo

            How can I find what doesn’t exist?

          • It appear Lighthouse is the idiot of the week.

          • Lighthouse

            No, you got that title long ago.

          • Lighthouse

            I don’t need to. The evidence is overwhelming and many of us know it. I don’t have to take my time to write a documentary for you because you are uninformed, uneducated and apparently too lazy to do the research on your own.

          • Damo

            So a carpenter knows more than professionals. You are weird.

          • Lighthouse

            Lol : )

          • Lighthouse

            Sounds like he has integrity to me.

          • Damo

            You forget, the only one denying facts here is you.

          • Lighthouse

            I don’t think he is.

          • Lighthouse

            If I understand your post correctly, I think you hit the nail on the head.

          • Lighthouse

            John Browne – I have glossed over most all of these posts and yours sounded intelligent and knowledgeable in the middle of a lot of ignorance.

          • John Browne

            I’d say that one inadequacy is how baseline rules are ignored. For example, “Data collected is used to determine THE ACCEPTABLE TOXICITY LEVEL, defined as: The level of pesticide present in food or water in which a lifetime of human consumption is not likely to cause adverse health effects in humans.” OK?

            The neonics are based on a discovery in the 1970s… & Bayer got a patent on Imidacloprid in 1985. Now, if the above “toxicity level” rule was involved in determining that patent, how did they do that without waiting to see the effects on a number of humans exposed to the chemical at birth, and then tested again when they reach whatever the current Life Expectancy is for human beings? It was “identified to have some possible value as an insecticide” in the mid-1970s. So, in 10 years it’s in use.

            imidacloprid is currently the “most widely used insecticide in the world”. If “exposure” started 10 years after it was ‘discovered’ and has been in use for over 30 years, shouldn’t we be waiting to test people for possible health issues linked to this chemical in 40 years or so, before it’s “approved for general use”? ^..^

          • John I am disappointed, you acted as if you knew what you were talking about,

            Pesticides undergo many safety assessments before release including animal feeding studies and crop residue studies this is the data that is used to determine if harm to humans is likely.

          • John Browne

            Is this what you do for a living? Do you know (or understand) the “rules” and policies? If so, explain the ‘disconnect’ between the actual practices and the “rules”. I’d love to know how this is justified… and you seem to be quite knowledgeable. ^..^

          • I wouldn’t say I am quite knowledgeable about all the rules, however I do provide research at one of the steps in pesticide product development. Nothing special but I enjoy it. In my area the rules are followed extremely well or we lose accreditation to do what we do.

          • Lighthouse

            Are you kidding me??? Why would someone defend pesticides? I have read about the damaging effects of pesticides for years. What an ignorant post!!!

          • I defend pesticides because I know they can be and are used safely. I also understand how important they are to sustainable agricultural production. I understand that without pesticides resulting crop losses would make food unaffordable for many. I can guarantee you, me and many others here who also defend the responsible use of pesticides have far more relevant education about this topic than you do. Furthermore, I know the stuff you have read about the “damaging effects of pesticides” is fear mongering crap from organic industry activists etc.

          • Lighthouse

            I don’t agree that you have more relevant education and that seems apparent in your posts.

          • What exactly is your relevant education?

          • Lighthouse

            Years of research, hands on work and common sense.

          • So no relevant formal qualifications, I thought as much. All you have done since you got here is call people names and tell people they are wrong without supplying evidence for your position. You do not appear educated.

          • Lighthouse

            I’m sure I have more than you do. BTW, some of the most credentialed individuals with the “formal qualifications” that you are impressed by are the unethical and evil people that are involved in corruption (including the food industry).

          • Even if you have more qualifications you still appear uneducated.

            So what you are really saying is that the educated people in these debates are more likely to support ag bio tech, maybe you should find out why that is dumbass.

          • Lighthouse

            I don’t see many educated people in these debates… dumb a**.

          • Then you haven’t been paying attention dumb ass

          • Lighthouse

            It certainly isn’t you.

        • SageThinker

          You see, you’re right about this, John, and yet this EFFNNELL is on some kind of permanent mission to defend the agrochemical industry at whatever cost, without integrity — meaning they push fake facts and arguments like a lawyer, whatever the reality. Don’t you find it odd how there are dozens of people out here doing this in comment-land? I do. I think it’s the new Climate Change Denialism but in the chemical sector. They read like bot trolls.

          • I never said that John was wrong, just that he was not addressing what I was actually arguing.

            Surely we can both agree that a “natural” chemical is not safe just because its “natural” and a “synthetic” chemical is not unsafe just because it is “synthetic”.

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      There is no GE issue. They approved ones are as safe as any varieties.

  • Ruth Kastner

    Once again, a misleading article from this pro-GMO propaganda site. Some
    people buy organic to make sure they’re not getting GMO produce for
    reasons other than whether the produce itself has pesticide
    residues–e.g. not wanting to support widespread use of glyphosate
    (“Roundup”) which is killing off the monarch butterfly and causing birth
    defects in amphibians and could pose a threat to human health as a
    carcinogen and toxic agent to beneficial gut flora. This article misconstrues the ‘organic’ vs ‘conventional’ as something concerned only with whether there is residue on a given piece of produce. The issue is much bigger than that. The article in effect demonizes people with legitimate concerns about genetic engineering of crops. The GMO industry has many in its back pocket because of its immense power to destroy careers. Dr. Seralini just won 2 defamation lawsuits against the GMO industry for defaming him and his research. His research, demonstrating tumor growth in animals exposed to glyphosate, was retracted based on industry defamation, but has now been vindicated.

    • Mrzyphl Moon

      Those lawsuits were against journalists accusing him of fraud. There is no proof that Seralini knew his research was deeply flawed.

    • Roy Williams

      No, his “research” has not been vindicated. In fact, his “demonstration” is incredibly misleading. The fact is that millions of laboratory animals are, and have been, fed rations for 20+ years that contain GMO soy products. If the feed were causing unexpected effects, it would have been discovered many, many years ago, in hundreds or thousands of independent research labs.
      *
      The claim that pesticides are killing off bees has been extensively studied; the scientifically obtained evidence finds a multitude of factors are involved in bee decline.
      *
      It remains scientifically verifiable than zero negative health effects have ever been observed as consequences of consuming GMO food – not in mice, not in cattle, not in horses, not in humans – ever. There are tens of billions of dollars being spend every year, around the world, looking for causes of cancer. A scientist that could provide scientifically verifiable evidence that a GMO food, in and of itself, caused cancer or any other health problem simply because it was a GMO, would not only add major new knowledge in biology, they would also win a Nobel Prize.
      *
      As noted in another comment, the lawsuit was not against “the GMO industry”. The lawsuit does not change the fact that his research does not meet even minimal scientific standards for research.

    • Patrick

      GMO is another issue all it’s own. Organic is about the type of chemicals used on plants and the residues left behind plain and simple That is the only thing that applies to organic. GMO is whole other can of worms because there are organic GMOs out there.

    • Good4U

      Seralini is a fraud, nothing more than a circus sideshow. None of his animal experimentations were conducted in accordance with Good Laboratory Practice, meaning that his “data” (if in fact there were any) are subject to external audit. It’s nothing more than a black box; you can’t see what’s inside.

    • John

      Ruth are you smoking crack. There is pro GMO or demonization of organic. Simple statement organic foods have orgaically listed pesticides on them and conventional farmers use these same pesticides for safety.

  • cheleagh

    This Steve Savage works in the Agri-business field, was trained in that arena so he would be quite biased against organic farming because his industry would not in any way benefit from promoting organic farming.
    Science results can be influenced. Scientists can be encouraged to fudge the figures slightly. We can have pure science but the human element can change all that.
    Look at the latest whistle blower from the CDC. They changed the results of certain studies done within the CDC because the outcome wasn’t suitable to them and their lobbyists.
    There will always be unscrupulous people about in all fields of play. Tread carefully with eyes and mind wide open.

    • Patrick

      Agri-Business is in the Organic Farm Business. All farms are agri-business’. Farmers who use organic chemicals will apply the limited number of “organic” chemicals 3-5 times more frequently than non-organic. So they are burning more fuel and compacting the soil of their field more. This has a greater negative impact on the environment than the chemicals used to protect plants from disease and pests.

    • Good4U

      Your rhetoric doesn’t have a point. The author states facts about the detections of pesticide residues on “organic” foods. Those residues aren’t supposed to be there, yet there they are. The author’s point is that this supposed “organic” movement is just a great big fraud. You can’t argue with the facts, much as you might wish to do so.

      • cheleagh

        Seems you are unaware of overspray from nearby conventional farms, also water contamination in rivers and streams, etc., etc..
        Here in Australia the organic farmers are allowed up to 7% contamination in their crops without losing certification. status.
        The author stated also that the pestiside/chemicaal residue found in organic foods was far lower in proportion to regular foods. His argument was that the toxicity was higher in that residue, or words to that effect.

        There is fraud in all industries. What is your experiences with organic food and farming? or do you just read about it?
        And what is your interest in hoping the organic industry is fraudulent? is it vested?

        • Good4U

          My knowledge of agriculture, including such as is practiced in Australia, is greater than yours. I know as well that “organic” food supplies are intrinsically more contaminated with naturally occurring and human deposited microorganisms and toxins than are conventional food supplies. I consider biotech food supplies to be better than either. The facts are that the “overspray” concept as you term it is nothing but a lame excuse for the fact that “organic” farmers cheat, and they use synthetic pesticides simply because they couldn’t stay in business if they let pests ruin their crops completely. They are content with marginally productive cropping systems that surreptitiously use just a little bit of pesticides.

          • cheleagh

            So you are saying ALL organic farmers cheat, and that overspray doesn’t happen, or doesn’t deposit any chemical residue on other crops?
            I have said that there are cheats in any industry, but organic farming is strictly monitored. Now whether this policing has slackened off since my friend has retired from being a certification officer in the organic industry then it still is strict.
            i cannot take your claims too seriously without knowing who you are or what your credentials are. And whether you have vested interest in the biotech industry.
            I’m an open book with very little vested interest in the organic industry. I deliver organic food on a casual basis and I supplement my pay with a part pension. See my chats below with Roy.
            SInce Organic food hit the magic 1% of the market the ‘opposition’ has had it’s claws out to discredit the industry. Big Corporations only have one law – The Bottom Line. If that gets affected then it’s action stations and the ‘soldiers’ come out.
            Nice to chat. Cheers.

          • Good4U

            I have no vested interests in any industry, much unlike yourself who has closely vested interests in the “organic” industry. As for the bottom line, the “organic” big industry players have the same motivation….to sell unsuspecting and uneducated foodie customers feces laden, pest infested, toxin infused, and, yes, pesticide laced products that they marketeer at artificially cushioned prices. I don’t want any more of your junk in my diet.

          • cheleagh

            Me??, vested interest??!? i draw half a wage and the rest is made up of my pension. Wow, I’m really a high flyer!! :-)
            Babble on all you like about organic food, it’s free speech in OZ.

          • Good4U

            Right…so your babble is nothing more than support of the feces industry. Go ahead, eat it!

          • cheleagh

            Your assumptions about me are proven wrong, yet instead of accepting that,(and maybe apologizing) you have a need to carry on with rubbish. Trying to add to your character building? Good luck.
            See there you go, you caused me to be unkind to you. I apologize.(I think?!?!)
            Oh, and the medical people now use feces to help cure people of ailments. i don’t support the medical but I’m aware they do it.
            Cheers. :-)

          • Lighthouse

            …And we don’t want any of your chemical, hormone, antibiotic, pesticides and GMO crap food in our diet. TRUE organic (in the US) should be clean – or a step up from non-organic products at the minimum.

          • Good4U

            Right….organic food should be clean; but it’s not. It’s filthy. It has sickened or killed hundreds of people, and it’s full of pests and diseases that cause toxic responses in people who eat it. So, I say yay, eat it. All this “organic” faze is nothing more than a self-limiting phenomenon. Darwinism in action.

          • Lighthouse

            I think you are ignorant and extremely unknowledgeable on this topic… you probably want to believe what you wrote so you won’t have to spend a little extra money for a cleaner and better product.

          • Lighthouse

            Right on… good post Cheleagh : )

          • John Browne

            Well, you blew whatever ‘cover’ you THOUGHT you had with statements like “..the “overspray” concept as you term it is nothing but a lame excuse for the fact that “organic” farmers cheat..”
            Nothing “surreptitious” about the unadulterated bovine excrement that you’ve sent into the conversation. ^..^

          • Good4U

            Speaking of “blew”, yes, you do, and have done. The bovine excrement that you refer to is what you put on your “organic” produce, along with what comes from your fertilizer human inputs….

          • Lighthouse

            If I remember correctly, the author of the article in review said that organic crops had “less” chemicals than non-organic crops.

        • John

          cheleagh, you may be in agriculture but here in the USA, overspray is monitored very carefully. Growers can loose certification if their crop has overspray with pesticides not certified organic. You need to understand that even table salts can have an LF50 that can be toxic if used at high enough dosage.

          You seem to have a chip on your shoulder but I have not seen any science coming from you, just you feelings.

          • Lighthouse

            I’ve talked to grocers who said they used to work with non-organic produce and would get rashes and that the pesticides comes up out of the ground and into the crop. Cheleagh doesn’t need to provide you with “science”… this is common sense.

          • John

            Oh the only way you can communicate is to get personal. Very intelligent. Of course you never provide science you only run on emotion.

          • Lighthouse

            Like you do?

          • John

            Are you kidding me. That is such BS. If that was happening you don’t think the grocers would have a law suit going in a heartbeat. How can you be so gullible?

          • Lighthouse

            No, it’s not BS. I know the person personally. Pull your head out.

          • Damo

            Pesticides do not “come out of the ground” and into the crop. You are unhinged.

          • Lighthouse

            Oh yes they do.

        • Lighthouse

          Right on.

    • John

      You should tread carefully about suggesting Dr Savage as unscrupulous. Tread carefully is correct as most of the articles that push organic are not peer monitored or reviewed sicience but someones feelings.

      • cheleagh

        What!!??!? Where the hell did i specifically state that Dr. Savage was unscrupulous??! If you interpret scientific data the same way you interpret my comments then i can see there may be a problem. If you have ever heard of a ‘broad statement’ then that’s what mine was.
        “There will always be unscrupulous people about in all fields of play.” And that of course can possibly include someone in the organic sector. I always intend for my comments to be unbiased. I guess though i can’t do anything about some people’s ability to read them correctly.

        • John

          If you make your statements correctly then I will read them correctly.

          • cheleagh

            Ok John I will attempt to better my written word, and it would be helpful if you could point out exactly where i have caused you to misinterpret my words.(saying he would be biased?)
            I always willing to learn and improve in certain areas.
            Even though i may disagree with some comments I still read them all carefully hoping there is something there that may be useful for my ‘earthly cultivation.'(for want of a better term)
            Cheers.

          • John

            It is a very common thread that when the oganic side or non GMO side doesn’t agree, more often than not they will get personal with all who disagree with their thinking. You were talking about Dr Savage’s work then you went into the issue that not all people who do research are credible. To me that intimates that you are suggesting that Savage is not credible.
            Hey, I have nothing against organic and I do have issues with Roundup ready corn alfalfa and beans. I do not want my children or grandchildren eating it. But again it is a personal choice. Roundup ready crops have been considered safe but it is my choice not to eat them.

          • Lighthouse

            Roundup crops are considered safe by WHO? NOT!!!

          • John

            Lighthouse you need to follow the conversation. You really must be ADD

          • Lighthouse

            I was following the conversation dumb a**.

    • Damo

      Since you have so keenly observed that Savage is biased, I am sure you can provide an example or two of where that bias has been found in the text of the article. Of course, you will have data that backs it up as well. I mean, you certainly seem to be an expert at bias in science–so I am looking forward to you showing me how Savage misused data to confirm his bias.

      • cheleagh

        I see very little wrong with someone being biased in their chosen industry/career. And i also see very little wrong with someone pointing that out.
        And i can see nowhere that i said he misused data.
        All i said was, “Science results can be influenced. Scientists can be encouraged to fudge the figures slightly.” This is a broad statement, and it specifies no one in particular, and it was never my intention to do so.
        next………??!?

        • Damo

          So you merely laid down the suggestion that he can be biased, even though you don’t know for a fact that he is. Gotchya–incriminate without evidence. Good bye.

          • cheleagh

            Concession seems not to be part of your demeanor.
            You’re like a terrier. You’ve got hold of a notion and you just don’t want to let it go, even when it’s very clearly explained away.
            Enjoy gnawing on your imaginary bone.
            And if you are used to wanting to have the last say then be my guest.
            Cheers.

          • Damo

            Yeah, you just conveniently brought up bias in a comment while talking about Savage.

            No harm done, I am sure.

            Hey, I am not saying every commenter who uses this tactic is intellectually dishonest,just that some are. I am not saying you are guilty of trying to undermine someone’s reputation by casually claiming that bias occurs while directly replying to a professional’s opinion piece, only that some unscrupulous people do so.

            Hey, I am not making a claim that you are misleading anyone by saying that I am a terrier for pointing out these tactics,just that some assholes that use the same tactic are.

  • What a great article by Dr. Steve Savage.When you look at the substances themselves and not at the use rates, organic represents the least toxic set of substances,The majority of organic-approved pesticides are used in fruit and vegetable production.Very few are used in organic grain production.
    https://supremegrowers.com

  • John

    I am amazed that so many of the so called organic experts on this site are only stating their feelings. Not one of you has put down any peer reviewed science to back up your claims. Organic is a preference of individuals. People tout that Europe is so much stricter than USA well for your information a majority of our produce fruits and nuts are shipped to Europe and their is a maximum MRL for pesticides and the product cannot be unloaded until it meets the MRL.