The Scientific American article about “dying broccoli” and “toxic corn” drew wide criticism for its unreferenced and outright false indictment of modern agriculture, and flimsy treatment of concepts in microbiomes. My dissection can be seen here.
I contacted the editors, and apparently others did too. I was shocked to find out that there was no peer review or expert consultation. The editors kindly returned a conscientious and conciliatory email that suggested they made a mistake and the authors would revise.
Personally, nothing short of a full retraction was a remedy. That first article was absolutely horrible, D.O.A. horrible. Not only did it vilify farmers, it scared people about food, and misinformed them about basic biology, and it was done under the banner of Scientific American, a trusted popular scientific brand.
Out of the frying pan…
The editors published a “corrected” version. I learned of the revision via Twitter from Dr. Elisabeth Bik (@microbiomdigest) someone that knows a thing or two about microbiomes.
Articles like this get a day in the sun on Twitter. Anti-ag interests will bask in its words and share in their online communities. The real atrocity is how Scientific American destroys its own credibility, abrades trust in farming, and scares people away from fresh fruits and vegetables, the most important food on the plate for long term health.
Read original article: A Lesser Abomination