• Posted by Califia Suntree on September 3rd, 2012, 8:01 PM

    Given that it has both Pollan and Bittman in its stable of writers, it surprises me how the New York Times insists on printing aggravatingly lopsided articles about organic food. In a one-two follow up to the “exposé” of July 7th–of the big-business aspect of organic agriculture–today we saw a report on a recent Stanford study under the misleading headline: “Study Questions Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce.” That, of course, depends on your definition of “advantage.” Not surprisingly, to me anyway, organic produce and meats had no greater nutritional value than conventionally grown food–and just as much bacteria. Thus, the writer declares, no health advantage.

    Except, of course, “[o]rganic produce, as expected, was much less likely to retain traces of pesticides.” Oh, and “[o]rganic chicken and pork were less likely to be contaminated by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.” But other than that, NO advantages. So, the implication goes, you organic crunchy types are being ripped off! I mean, unless you consider the absence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and measurable pesticides in your food supply an “advantage.”

    But what goes completely unmentioned here, and what galls me in its consistent absence from such coverage, is right there in the photo illustrating the article: the field workers who suffer unconscionably from exposure to some of the most toxic chemicals on earth. (Read Barry Estabrook’s Tomatoland if you want a sense of the horrific human toll of pesticides on farmworkers.) While it may be my choice to pay more in order to avoid consuming these chemicals, these workers aren’t afforded that luxury. Does that not count as an “advantage”? Is that not a real, human health impact? Or does only the health of the consumer matter in this absurd equation?

    via Study Questions Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce – NYTimes.com.

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