Monday, September 24, 2012

Organic vs. Conventional Food and Proposition 37: A Vote For National Food Safety


“When we began this project, we thought that there would likely be some findings that would support the superiority of organics over conventional food,” said Dr. Dena Bravata, a senior affiliate with Stanford’s Center for Health Policy and the senior author of the paper, which appears in Tuesday’s issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. “I think we were definitely surprised.”

This is how my Labor Day started, reading the New York Times article entitled "Stanford Scientists Cast Doubt on Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce."  I read with intrigue and an open mind to see all that I had learned over the last few years flipped upside down.  Fortunately, the article does everything but cast doubt on the advantages of organics over conventional foods.   

The NYT article goes on to state important findings from the Stanford Study:

"Organic produce, as expected, was much less likely to retain traces of pesticides."

"Organic chicken and pork were less likely to be contaminated by antibiotic-resistant bacteria."

"The study also found that organic milk contained more omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered beneficial for the heart."

"The organic produce also contained more compounds known as phenols, believed to help prevent cancer, than conventional produce."

"Over all, the Stanford researchers concluded that 38 percent of conventional produce tested in the studies contained detectable residues, compared with 7 percent for the organic produce. (Even produce grown organically can be tainted by pesticides wafting over from a neighboring field or during processing and transport.) 

Finally, if you haven't had enough reason to further your understanding of the importance of organic, sustainable, chemical-free food

"They also noted a couple of studies that showed that children who ate organic produce had fewer pesticide traces in their urine."

So where is the doubt of the advantages or organic produce that this clearly incorrectly titled article states?  More importantly, why are the Stanford doctors defending these "doubts?"  The article claims that they didn't find a significant nutritional difference between the two growing methods, yet in the final paragraph it lists a study on organic strawberries that was not included in Stanford's study showing that organic strawberries had higher levels of vitamin C than their conventional counterparts.

Even more interesting to me is the lack of widespread discussion on the recent french study that concluded that mice were significantly more at risk for early death and deadly organ tumors when exposed to Genetically Modified Organisms (or GMOs as they are more commonly known) such as Monsanto's GMO corn which can be found in most processed foods and animal feed in America.  Funny enough, when these products were originally released to the global public, a 90-day study was performed by Monsanto to prove that the GMOs had no negative effects on lab rats.  Mind-blowing when you compare that study with the 2 year study Conducted by French scientists.  According to other sources, French agricultural and health officials have ordered the National Agency for Health Safety (ANSES) to probe into these studies to see if France should refuse these Monsanto seeds and feeds into France, something we should be thinking about as well.  This highly processed and chemical food may be cheap in the short term, but when we are all paying for it years later through sickness and extremely high healthcare bills it won't seem so cheap. 

So to summarize, there are a few stories here, but they all connect:

A.  Stanford recently released a study comparing the benefits of organic vs conventional food supposedly "casting doubt" on organics advantages although the information released seems to prove otherwise.  
B.  Organic foods legally cannot be 100% organic if they contain GMO or have animals fed GMO products, which is found in most of the conventional processed foods and animal feed in the USA.

C.  French scientists recently released a 2 year study concluding that lab rats fed Monsanto GMO corn or simply having exposure to agriculturally accepted amounts of Roundup pesticide in their diet were significantly more likely to experience early death and development of turmors and organ damage.  The same percentage that American humans eat in their diet.

Where is the doubt that organic is less advantageous than conventional?  It actually seems that everything is pointing towards organic and best practice agriculture over the overfunded, over-subsidized  under-tested conventional GMO products that make up an outrageous majority of the food available in this country.  GMO's are used and found in most conventional meat, processed foods and pesticides are used in almost all conventional produce operations, so almost everything not local or labeled organic at your supermarket.

If you are interested in learning more about this or California's Prop 37 vote coming up in November to label all foods that contain GMOs take a look at the articles below.  They are short and all the information is clear and easy to see:

genetically modified maize

Enjoy and eat safe, vote with your dollars and tell anyone you know in Cali to vote yes on prop 37 or please dispute my claims in the comments section below.  I'm always curious to see the opposing view.

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