Organic BS

Activists have convinced Americans that “organic” food is better — healthier, better-tasting, life-extending.

As a result, poor parents feel guilty if they can’t afford to pay $7 for organic eggs.

This misinformation is spread by people like Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association. She says organic food is clearly better: “The nutrition is a huge difference.”

But it isn’t. Studies find little difference.

If you still want to pay more for what’s called “organic,” that’s your right. But what’s outrageous is that this group of scientifically illiterate people convinced the government to force all of us to pay more.

Congress has ruled that GMOs (genetically modified food) must be labeled. Busybodies from both parties supported the idea.

Politicians like Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said, “It doesn’t cost any more. This idea that … this … will raise food prices is ridiculous.”

It’s McGovern who is ridiculous. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the GMO labelling will cost from $598 million to $3.5 billion.

“But the public wants GMOs labelled,” say advocates. “Surveys show that.”

Of course they do.

Ask people if DNA in food should be labelled, and most say yes. Yet DNA is in everything.

Polling is a stupid way to make policy.

The idea of modifying a plant’s DNA may sound creepy, but people have cross-bred plants and animals for years.

“The corn we have today, there’s nothing natural about that,” I say to Baden-Mayer in my new video. “What native people ate, we’d find inedible.”

Baden-Mayer laughs at that.

“You’re saying indigenous corn is somehow inferior because you’ve seen it dried and it has tiny little kernels?” she asks.

“Yes,” I reply. I’ve tried to eat it.

“That’s another myth of the industry,” she responds. “People like you believe that.”

I sure do. I also believe it’s good that genetic modification lets us alter nature more precisely, gene by gene. That’s better and safer than the more haphazard crossbreeding that’s been done for years.

This new precision lets scientists make plants that save lives.

In poor parts of the world, half a million people per year go blind due to lack of vitamin A in their diets. Many die.

Scientists have created a new genetically modified rice that contains vitamin A. This “golden rice” could save those people.

“I’ve heard of golden rice,” sneers Baden-Mayer. “That was a project that all of the chemical companies invested in.”

I sneer right back.

“Golden rice hasn’t succeeded partly because scientifically ignorant fools like you convinced the world that it’s harmful!”

“I knew at a certain point you would resort to name-calling,” she replies. “But it doesn’t change the science on this.”

Sadly, in some countries, people listen to advocates like her and believe that Americans want to poison them. One group of GMO fearful protesters invaded a golden rice field in the Philippines, ripping up all the plants.

Thousands will die or go blind, needlessly, because the organic cult spreads misinformation.

At least educated skeptics now understand that they were wrong about GMOs.

The New York Times points out that many “quietly walked back their opposition” to GMOs. “The science is clear,” says a former opponent in The Wall Street Journal. “They’re perfectly safe.”

The Philippines recently approved golden rice.

But the hardcore zealots will never be convinced.

Baden-Mayer claims GMOs cause cancer.

“We’re using more GMOs than ever,” I point out. “There’s less cancer now. Life spans keep increasing.”

“Compared to when, 100 years ago?” she scoffs.

Absolutely, yes. We live about 25 years longer than Americans did 100 years ago. Even compared to 10 or 20 years ago, we live longer.

The National Academy of Sciences calls GMOs safe. So do the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA.

But no amount of science will convince people like Baden-Mayer. “The GMO issue just has not been investigated enough,” she says.

Organic promoters are wrong on the costs and wrong on the science.

Sadly, they’ve won the battle of public opinion.

24 thoughts on “Organic BS

  1. John,

    Love your reporting. I really appreciate you cutting through the spin.

    Could you specifically address glyphosate? My wife avoids GMO not because of the modification, but because of the glyphosate used with Roundup Ready crops. Monsanto has insisted that it is safe, but a minority of experts in the field have insisted it’s not. It’s hard to cut through spin on this specific chemical because of confidentiality agreements in lawsuit settlements and corporate interest (and money).

    Please help!

  2. Apparently you haven’t read any books about GMO. You focus on the foods, but completely leave out what is being done to the soil and groundwater. And what about the 14,000 lawsuits, the first 3 have awarded the plaintiffs charging glyphosate with causing their cancer. You focus on the ticket price of organic food (which was just called food before industrial monoculture), and leave out the externalized costs of GMOs. Altering DNA of a plant is not like hybridizing. I would love to see you prove anything you said, which you did not, and instead astro-turfed the entire time by attacking the messengers. You have done a great job in the past, but you get a big fat F on this one.

  3. I did not realize that GMOs are safe. I’ve been spending more buying organic. I can save a little now! I trust you John Stossel that you Have done research and would not steer us wrong. Thank you.

  4. I am convinced to eat organic foods just from 1 fact: organics are not raised using glyphosate (RoundUp). Glyphosate kills bacteria, including our tiny gut bacteria. The nutritional value may not be much different, but the chemicals used are definitely different.

  5. There are a lot of problems with GMOs that go beyond just whether one is healthier or not. If you’re a farmer that doesn’t want to use Monsanto’s roundup-ready soybean, and instead want to plant organic soybeans, you will encounter a slew of problems:
    1) Roundup sprayed on the roundup-ready crop can destroy yours
    2) Monsanto will sue any farmer that has seeds that have cross-pollinated with Monsantos
    3) Because of #2 farmers can’t clean and reuse their seeds
    4) All this has the effect of reducing biodiversity that will ultimately put the food supply at risk

  6. “The National Academy of Sciences calls GMOs safe. So do the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA.” You are kidding! John Stossel says we should trust these political and corporate corrupted agencies?! It’s probably true that some GMOs are not dangerous. Whatever they did to the wheat is – obesity is increasing all over the world – it is very dangerous. And those same agencies still falsely promote the “mis-information” that humans are omnivores – also very dangerous because humans are herbivores just like our closest DNA mammal relatives; apes, gorillas, and orangutans. And who exactly did the testing? They aren’t very good shoppers – organic may not always, taste better for all fruits and veggies, but celery, carrots, beets, to name just a few, always taste better!

  7. Thanks for this article. Do we know about the different chemical pesticides used in foods? My wife often tells me about “the dirty dozen” These are the foods with the most pesticides, and the ones for which we usually shell out the extra dollars for organic.

  8. What about “Roundup Ready” GMO corn and soy beans? I live in the Illinois corm belt and, to my knowledge, there no longer exists a non-GMO seed option, which exposes everyone to glyphosates, including those people that eat corn-finished beef, pork, chicken and eggs.

  9. Very Interesting take, I do have a question though, my specific reason for choosing organic and/or non GMO has to do with Gyphosate. I’d love to hear what you think about that.

  10. Actually GMO’s can cause totally unintended consequences. I have a friend who moved to Peru because GMO’s were making her sick and they are nearly unavoidable in our food supply. After 6 months in Peru, her health was restored and she remains healthy, and remains in Peru. Also many GMO’s cause higher use of harmful pesticides. Also do some research about what has happened in India since GMO’s were introduced…..

  11. I want organic to avoid the chemicals sprayed on the food. The vegetables are less likely to be “perfect” and may or may not taste better. The rest of the argument is yet to be proven one way or another. Better safe than sorry with GMO. One note, the wheat that is sprayed with Round Up to dry it out does affect some kids negatively. Round Up is systemic and cannot be washed off. How much research did you actually do?

    1. It’s never been proven by any reliable source that “organics” are any better, either. It’s just a ruse to charge more for the same product.

  12. Unfortunately, none of these organizations you list have any credibility because of their past inaccurate comments. Who can you trust? Most folks are pretty skeptical about anything the WHO says. The AMA has spouted politically tainted views in the past. Lord knows all those US government agencies sneer at truth.

  13. I’ve NEVER believed the claim that organics are better. I think it’s a hoax that allows vendors to charge exorbitant prices for the same product. I don’t have cancer and neither does anyone else in my family. It’s just another hoax that gullible/dumb people are conned to believe!

  14. I normally like Stossel. However, he should have split organic and GMO into two separate segments. I think he’s wrong on both and his evidence was thin. Would love to see his data on life expectancy going up and cancer rates going down. I honestly wish it were true. Statisticians can cook the books on most anything. For example, remove infant mortality from deaths and I’d bet life expectancy has gone down over past 100 yrs.

    1. You’re spot on John! I was thinking the very same thing as I was watching. Both issues could take up an hour time slot easily.

  15. Please respond to the questions about glyphosate.
    It is my understanding that the crops that are genetically modified to make them “round up ready” (Round Up being the Brand name of sprays containing glyphosate, which is a weed killer) are in fact being sprayed with glyphosate. Are you thinking that glyphosate is okay for us to consume? Is it just topical or is it taken into the plant via the root system?
    Pesticides are my main reason for eating mostly organic.
    Also, please address the high increase in autoimmune disease in people. I was diagnosed w two of them 45 years ago. I was told by my doctors that no one knows what causes them. I took drugs, had surgeries etc to try to live with them. Eight years ago, under the care of a nutritionist, I stopped eating these foods that caused inflammation in my body. I was able to stop taking the medications I had been on. I am a believer.
    I would really like to read what you have discovered about glyphosate!

  16. So, first Baden-Mayer says the science ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY shows that GMO’s are dangerous.
    Then she says that, “The GMO issue just has not been investigated enough.”
    Well, which is it?

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