There are few things in this fleeting world that get me all riled up, but last night while cleaning up after dinner (which of course was organic, including the cleaning supplies), one of those few things came on television!  You see, my husband turned on Fox news, which we enjoy often, and Stossel was on.  We love watching Stossel; he is great.  However, last night he was reporting on "Stupid Consumers", and one of the reports was on organic food.  You can watch this episode of "Stupid Consumers" on Stossel's website.  I completely comprehend what Stossel was trying to get at when it comes to consumers falling for creative and profitable marketing and advertising trends.  But come on Stossel, Justin Wilson? Justin Wilson is with the Center for Consumer Freedom, which sounds great, right!?  Consumer Freedom, woohoo!  Less government, yes please! But the Center for Consumer Freedom seems to me that they might just have their own agenda, and it is not to give consumers freedom.  It seems to me that they work to misinform, mislead, and completely confuse people on the truth.  More on this in a minute; lets talk about the report.

Lets start with Organic foods.  According to Justin Wilson, Organic food is “just a scam”, those of us who purchase organic produce and other products are being “led around by our nose…”, the organic label is all about marketing, “that’s about all there is to it…”, people like organic to “stay ahead of the trend, if your cool friend says I eat organic and what do you mean you do not use reusable bags…there is a little guilt and a little bit of wanting to be cool.”  Wow! Did I just hear that correctly, people eat organically to be cool and stay ahead of the trend?  I happen to know a lot of people who make a conscious choice to purchase organic foods and products, not because it is trendy, but because they believe it truly is healthier. However, according to Wilson, he says that studies have been done over and over again to show that the health benefits of organic food over conventionally grown food is “negligible to zero”. That is interesting, so organic food is not any healthier for you than food that has been grown using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides?  I am not convinced.  Why would you want to eat food that has been sprayed with pesticides (neurotoxins)?  We are already burdened by an unthinkable and unavoidable amount of toxins on a daily basis, so why eat foods sprayed with toxic chemicals.  

Lets say there is not a difference in the nutritional content between organic and conventional foods, at all. Why choose organic?  Well, I choose organic to reduce my body burden of toxins, but not because it is trendy, cool, or because marketing says so. I believe food grown in healthier soil, without the use of pesticides that have been linked to a number of health concerns, is obviously superior.  Why wouldn’t I want to feed myself, and my family, the best food available?  The way I see food is simple, if the food does not bring nourishment, energy, and life-long wellness to the body, then one must wonder, what purpose is it serving? 

What you eat is a choice, a freedom, so choose wisely.  Make educated choices, not choices based on what the Center for Consumer Freedom says; they say trans fats and high fructose corn syrup are fine in moderation.  It is almost as if, in their attempt to “promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices”, they are actually speaking out against health and wellness.   Perhaps it has something to do with some of the businesses that fund their organizations, like restaurants and food companies, which they “cannot” disclose.  I do not know.  Perhaps their heart is in the right place; I am not to judge that.  If you really want people to have consumer freedom they must first be educated, and people cannot be educated if nutritional information is not disclosed and people continue to send mixed and unclear messages about what is good and what is not. 

I agree that we should not be policed by the government on what we can and cannot eat.  However, the public must be rightfully informed on what is in the food they are eating.  In my opinion, going on the Stossel show and basically saying that people that spend money on organic foods are stupid is disrespectful, arrogant, and flat-out ridiculous.  That is not the way I would promote consumer freedom.  Instead of saying it is a waste of money, unsafe, and a placebo, based on “studies” which were never defined, how about bringing the attention of the consumer to the back of the product they are purchasing as well as educating the public on what pesticides are and why they are dangerous!  Learn to read labels and understand the ingredients list.  Mr. Wilson gave the example of the juice, and said if there were two options of juice for the same price and one read “natural” on the front, people would go for the one that is natural.   Maybe so, but why not educate people to turn the bottle around, read the ingredients, understand what they are reading, and then decide which one they want, regardless of what the front of the bottle reads.  This allows people to make an educated choice rather than look at everything as a marketing scheme, which is what the Center for Consumer Freedom appears to do.  On the show, he said it is pretty much all marketing, which leads people to believe that we should run from “natural”, “organic”,"local", and “cage-free” products, in order to avoid being suckered and unfairly knighted a “stupid consumer”. 

The way the message was delivered was misleading.  Not to mention, the question an audience member posed at the end of the show (not seen in the video) was not really answered, and it ended with Mr. Wilson saying that Monsanto is good and would decrease the amount of pesticides used.  All I can say is wow! We will have to cover genetically-modified foods in another post. 

I was a bit disappointed to say the least, but it’s OK, Stossel, we still like you, and we could never stop watching Fox News! Next time you should bring on someone who actually believes in health and wellness for people through education!

 

I have posted some studies (there are many) I came across in looking further into this issue.  Please enjoy, and if you would like more information or would be interested in reading my paper titled, “ Honey, Pesticides are Killing the Kids: The Importance of Organic Produce and products for a Country Full of Sick Kids” send an email to drflynn@organichealthinstitute.com.

 

Just a few studies:

A study from Environmental Health Perspectives (2006) journal demonstrated that “organic diets reduce children’s organophosphorous (OP) pesticide exposure and the health risks that may be associated with these exposures. This reduction in exposure was dramatic and immediate for the OP pesticides malathion and chlorpyrifos, which are commonly and predominantly used in agricultural production and have no or minimal residential uses. The findings for the OP pesticide exposure in children from this study therefore support the conclusion made by the National Research Council (1993) that dietary intake of pesticides could represent the major source of exposure in infants and young children.”

Pesticides are linked to several chronic health effects, including respiratory problems such as asthma, neurological, reproductive and developmental problems, and cancer.  Health effects due to toxic pesticides is seen more severely in children than in adults, because children tend to eat more pesticide-burdened foods such as fresh fruits, fruit juices, and vegetables.  In addition, they “eat more food per body mass than adults” (Curl, C.L., Fenske, R.A. et al. Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington USA).

A study from the journal, Pediatrics, concluded that their hypothesis was supported by their findings that exposure to organophosphates in children may contribute to the prevalence of ADHD (Bouchard et al, 2010). In another article, in the Alternative Medicine Review, Dr. Walter Crinnion looked at the nutrition differences between organically-grown foods and conventionally-grown foods.  In the article, different studies were reviewed, and though there were not always clear-cut lines in the nutritional differences between the two, organic foods did show to have higher levels of vitamin C, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and phytochemicals (anthocyanins, carotenoids, flavonoids) than the conventionally grown foods.  In addition, “organic fruits and vegetables appear to have the potential to diminish the mutagenic action of toxic compounds and inhibit the proliferation of certain cancer cell lines.  Furthermore, when you choose organic foods you are choosing foods with far less pesticide residue (Crinnion, 2010).

By free choice I choose organic!

References:

 

1.     Crinnion, Walter J. “Organic Foods contain Higher Levels of Certain Nutrients, Lower Levels of Pesticides, and May Provide Health Benefits for the Consumer” Alternative Medicine Review 15 (2010): 1-10.

2.     Curl, Cynthia L., Fenske, Richard A., Elgethun, Kai.  Organophosphorous Pesticide Exposure of Urban and Suburban Preschool Children with Organic and Conventional Diets. Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington USA

3.     Bouchard, Maryse F., Bellinger, David C., Wright, Robert O., et al. “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides” PEDIATRICS (2010)

4.     Organic Food Worth the Price: October 28, 2011 

5.     Consumer Freedom

Posted on 10/31/2011 12:00 AM
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