Study claiming organic food more nutritious ‘deeply flawed’, say independent scientists

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Are organic foods better for you? A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition appears to indicate so and some media outlets that have covered the study seem to agree uncritically, but independent scientists are raising red flags about the claims.

The study, “Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses,” is a meta-analysis of 343 previously-published studies that compared the nutritional composition of organic versus conventional foods. The team of scientists led by Carlo Leifert, professor of ecological agriculture at Newcastle University in England, did not conduct any new original laboratory or field work. The study was funded by the European Union and the Sheepdrove Trust, a British charity that funds research in support of organic farming–in other words, it’s in part an organic industry funded study.

The Los Angeles Times covered the study with a sweeping headline, “Organic foods are more nutritious, according to review of 343 studies.” “Research is first to find wide-ranging differences between organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and cereals,” said an article in the Guardian that broke the embargo on the research last week. Leifert and his team found “substantially” higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic fruits, vegetables and grains than in conventional produce, according to the New York Times.

“It shows very clearly how you grow your food has an impact,” Leifert told the Times. “If you buy organic fruits and vegetables, you can be sure you have, on average, a higher amount of antioxidants at the same calorie level.”

Image via Flickr user muammerokumus

Image via Flickr user muammerokumus

But many in the scientific community are skeptical of the methodology and critical of the broad conclusions drawn in the study, including several researchers quoted in the Guardian and the New York Times. Tom Sanders, professor of nutrition at King’s College London, told the Guardian that the study has been “sexed up.”

There have been three other similar meta-analyses since 2009, which have all concluded that there are few, if any, differences in the nutritional content of organic and conventionally grown foods. The first, a review of 137 studies by scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009, concluded:

On the basis of a systematic review of studies of satisfactory quality, there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs.

Another meta-analysis reviewed 237 studies comparing organic and conventional foods. This study, conducted by a team of Stanford scientists, concluded:

The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods.

The authors of the new study, including Washington State University professor and long-time anti-GMO activist Charles Benbrook, say that the new study is more robust than the previous ones, partially because of the fact that more studies were included in the review.

But Alan Dangour, food and nutrition scientist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and lead author of the first meta-analysis study, disagrees, saying that weaker studies should have been excluded from the analysis.

“The quality of the available data varies greatly and it is therefore very surprising that, in their analysis, the authors decided to include all the data that they found, irrespective of their quality,” he said. “Mixing good quality data with bad quality data in this way is highly problematic and significantly weakens confidence in the findings of the current analysis.”

Hank Campbell, science writer at Science 2.0, explains how such meta-analyses can be massaged to provide desired outcomes when bias is not eliminated:

In a review, they look at no data, of course, and 343 papers becomes the problem rather than the solution when the methodology is flawed. Meta-analysis, as everyone with statistics knowledge knows, can boost the strength of systematic reviews when done properly but easily suffers from bias unless the researchers are truly interested in controlling eligibility criteria and methodological quality. Without controlled eligibility, it’s easy to find any pattern you want.

Some have pointed out that the new study is not independently funded, as opposed to the previous three other studies. Marion Nestle, professor of public health, nutrition and food studies at New York University cited in the New York Times on this study, writes in her blog:

One of the funders is identified as the Sheepdrove Trust, which funds research in support of organic and sustainable farming. … The paper says “the Trust had no influence on the design and management of the research project and the preparation of publications from the project,” but that’s exactly studies funded by Coca-Cola say. It’s an amazing coincidence how the results of sponsored studies almost invariably favor the sponsor’s interests. And that’s true of results I like just as it is of results that I don’t like.

Others note that the study targets ten groups of chemicals, including conventional pesticide residues, antioxidants and metals, but does not examine other pertinent chemicals such as pesticides commonly used in organic agriculture that are approved by the National Organic Program. While synthetic pesticides are not used in organic agriculture, organic pesticides such as rotenone and pyrethrin are used as these chemicals are produced by plant sources and considered ‘natural,’ even though they might be more toxic to people than some synthetic alternatives.

Image via OSU Master Gardener

Image via OSU Master Gardener

“None of the reviewed studies measured any remnants of so-called ‘organic’ pesticides–that is those that are permitted under the National Organic Program,” said Ruth Kava, senior nutrition fellow from the American Council on Science and Health. “There are many of these, and they are not necessarily safe for human consumption, but the organic foods industry seems to want to keep them secret.”

Additionally, there has been little to no reference to the undesirable results found in the study. “The paper also reports a decrease in protein, nitrates and fibre in the organically grown crops, which may be undesirable,” Richard Mithen, leader of the food and health program at the Institute of Food Research, noted, “and which are maybe unsurprisingly not referred to by the authors in their advocacy of organically grown produce.”

“The public health significance of the reported findings have been worryingly overstated,” Dangour added, saying that there has been no good evidence that suggests more antioxidants would have important public health benefits.

The nutritional composition of fruits and vegetables is affected by a large number of factors, from the soil nutrient levels to the time of harvest to how the produce has been handled and transported, according to Bruce Chassy, professor emeritus of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With so much variation and confluence of factors, it can be very misleading to say that any method of agriculture produces more nutritious foods than another based on research examining compositional differences in produce.

“The research (as is true for all crop research) is a photo in time of a single crop in a single field in a single growing season. There is an abundance of evidence that the next year or the next field will yield different results,” said Chassy. “There are nutrient differences between peas in the same pod, and tomatoes picked at 4 different times during the day. One should therefore take any composition research with a large grain of salt.”

There may be many disagreements over whether organic or conventional produce is more nutritious within the scientific community, but one thing is clear: simply encouraging more people to eat more fruits and vegetables, organic or not, will have more far-reaching effects on human health.

“The additional cost of organic vegetables to the consumer and the likely reduced consumption would easily offset any marginal increase in nutritional properties, even if they did occur, which I doubt,” Mithen said. “To improve public health we need to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables, regardless of how they are produced.”

 

Additional Resources:

  • PeterFaletra

    This is old news. Many studies have shown the protein, carbohydrate, and lipid content are not significantly different between organically and non-organically grown plants. This is a straw man argument. The main advantages of organic farming are sustainable agricultural methods, avoidance of monocultures, and decreased pesticide use…all which increase biodiversity and have numerous well-documented advantages for small farmers…alas they are not advantageous to large scale farming if one is interested in short term profits.

    • crush davis

      Well said. Organic production definitely has merit for the reasons you stated–not for higher nutritional value.

    • Decreased pesticide usage? Seems you’ve bought into the hype. Organic uses more pesticides, not less. Also, the pesticides organic farmers use are far more toxic than the ones used by conventional farmers.

      How can anyone possibly think organic is more sustainable? Take a field of wheat. With organic techniques, you’d get about 800 lbs per hectare one season, and maybe 620 lbs the next. With GMO techniques, you get 3200 lbs per hectare every season. Fluctuations are not a sign of something being sustainable.

      • Violet Sunderland

        There are organic pesticides and I know an organic grower who uses them. They’re plant-based. Crops of such plants could be grown to produce them on a large scale and there are other plants that can be grown alongside that deter insects.
        I think I know where your info came from that GMO crops have higher yield – corporate propaganda – but reality is the exact opposite:
        http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/failure-to-yield.html

        Their best record is in the creation of superbugs and superweeds. In the meantime, soil and water have been contaminated and the population’s health is in serious jeopardy.
        Fluctuations are normal. That’s the basis of an old line that “farmers are the biggest gamblers of all” and long-term stats bear that out over decades prior to the beginning of GMOs.

        • “Corporate propaganda?” No, try science. Hate to break it to ya, but Big Organic’s shills don’t have it on their side.

          Oh, and by the way, “Fluctuations are normal. That’s the basis of an old line that “farmers are the biggest gamblers of all” and long-term stats bear that out over decades prior to the beginning of GMOs.” However, since GMOs have come about, it’s less of a gamble.

          Check this out: http://actionforag.org/newsroom/

          • Violet Sunderland

            You must be new to research to pass off that web page as gospel. Like I said, corporate propaganda, big time. Croplife International and its various national subsidiaries are the epitome of slanted content.
            Konstantinos Vlahodimos, a former director, is owner of Executive Coaching Services (www.optir.eu) with a background in political science. Another, A. Charles Fischer served as President and CEO of Dow AgroSciences and as a member of Dow Chemical Company’s Executive Management Team until his retirement in 2004 according to his Forbes profile. He worked for Dow for 37 yrs.
            Like other organizations having dubious reputations, it’s changed its name — was American Crop Protection Association, and before that was the National Agricultural Chemicals Association.
            Croplife certainly wouldn’t mention on its site that back in 2008, with Monsanto, Syngenta and BASF included in its membership, pulled out of a major international project to map out the future of agriculture, after it failed to back GM as a tool to reduce poverty and hunger. “Bob Watson, director of the project, which is based on the work of 4,000 scientists and experts from around the world, said he was “very disappointed” by the companies’ move.” They didn’t like it that an early report draft
            highlighted the risks of GM crops and said they could pose problems for the developing world so like spoiled brats, picked up their toys and went home. “The draft report says there is a “wide range of perspectives on the environmental, human health and economic risks and benefits of modern biotechnology, many of which are as yet unknown”.
            http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/jan/22/gmcrops.climatechange
            The site also wouldn’t mention the 5 shipments China has turned away or that shipping companies now require proof of acceptance before loading GMO cargo.
            You must have a cracked crystal ball because common sense predicts GMO farmers can count on going broke sooner than later. They can also count on being ostracized among their near neighbors when another gets sued by Monsanto for patent infringement just because the wind was blowing the wrong way. That’s happened more than 400 times. If they have hard water, kidney disease racks up a few points. Glyphosate bonds to the mineral content and takes years to degrade. That’s the reason Sri Lanka has banned it and El Salvador is having problems as well. Then there’s fertility/birth defect and gastrointestinal issues documented among both humans and livestock but the good side is that the farmer won’t have to worry about rats. They’ll all be dead from cancerous tumors according to Serralini’s study.

          • Henry Ford manufactured vehicles for both the Allies & the Axis in World War II. Allen Oppenheimer, and Albert Einstein worked on the atomic bomb. So what? You think just because someone worked for a certain company, or did something wrong, that discount what good they’ve done?

            I wasn’t passing off a webpage as gospel, merely was pointing to it as an example of folks in the science of agriculture who know what they’re talking about.

            But, hey, if big business is bad & corporations are shady, you might want to stay away from these guys:

            Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, The Fresh Market, & Fairway Group Holdings. Those are the big corporations for Big Organic. o.o

          • Violet Sunderland

            I still disagree with the Croplife site as it gives wrong information about all that is known to the contrary. There are no citations to back up the fluff pieces, and that’s a no-no in the company I keep. Bear in mind, I have 50 yrs of genealogy research behind me which aims for 3 sources for info if at all possible. It’s a practice that fits well with most research.

            I did shop at Sprouts Farmers Market when I was with my daughter in TX in 2009 but nothing like that exists anywhere near where I live now. No matter anyway because I can/freeze my needs this time of year for winter use, all grown just outside of town by people I know, and have salad makings in pots over winter.

            I think you must be quite a bit younger than me because there were no cars being produced in this country during WW2. This article, http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/automobile-factories-switched-to-war-production-as-america-entered-world-war-ii/ ~ that I checked just to make sure my childhood memories were correct, says 250,000 autoworkers were laid off so the factories could retool for war-related materiel. I’d forgotten they made aircraft,

            What I remember is the 1935 Plymouth my dad had before my folks were married, a 2nd hand 1940 Chev sedan they got in 1944, also gas and tire rationing which kept a *lot* of traffic off the roads, then the 1st new car in town, a 1946 Ford that stuck out like a sore thumb even to a kid. Our situation with planing mill ownership gave us more gas but I do remember my dad’s chagrin at having 5 flats on the way home from Portland, OR to get what he needed for building his new sawmill.

            At any rate, you’re probably young enough to reassess what you believe about GMOs further down the line. Hugh Grant and other top Monsanto execs may have been looking at the handwriting on the wall when they sold huge blocks of stocks last year:
            http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/blog/2013/01/monsantos-hugh-grant-sells-3-million.html

          • You have genealogy research behind you? So you look at birth, death, and marriage certificates to find out who’s related to whom, right?

            That’s quite a bit different than biochemistry, biogenetics, botany, or anything like them. Those are the folks I listen to when they say GMOs are safe. Not knuckleheads like Mike Adams, or Vani Hari, nor Vandana Shiva.

            I may have misremembered Dr Oppenheimer’s name, but my point still stands. Same goes for Henry Ford.

            As for Hugh Grant selling blocks of stock. what kind of sale was it? Was it post-, or pre-IPO? Maybe he had a short-term need of cash? Not only that, but he still has over 500,000 shares left. And, according to what you linked me to, he’s the only one who sold, not “other top execs”.

            As for the writing on the wall about Monsanto: As of 10 A.M EST on 21 July, 2014, it is trading at $199.98 per share. It’s worth $62.94B total, and has an 83% market share. 93% of corn, soy & cotton crops in the US are GMO. I’d say it’s outlook it pretty good.

          • Violet Sunderland

            Genealogy research comprises a lot more the B-M-D records, or as we call them, “hatch, match and dispatch.” Add baptism/christening, wills, census, tax, property, school, cemetery, military, association membership and anything else that can reconstruct a person’s life. Don’t get confused if a couple has 3 children with the same name – they kept trying to honor someone by using that name until they had one that lived. Connect those who migrated west with the buried family members they left behind.Throw in 3 different spellings of a surname in the same document for pulling related families together. So very many old courthouses burned, genealogy is quite a detective game. One courthouse got moved overnight to the next section, which when thinking about it, is pretty much like the truth about GMOs. If you don’t like what exists, change the landscape.
            The news about the Monsanto stock sale was long enough ago that I don’t remember much about what was said in discussions I was privy to. What sticks in my mind is that Monsanto requires its top executives to retain a certain percentage of shares relative to each one’s salary and it may be that those who did sell, divested down to that requirement. That wouldn’t be the case for Bill Gates, though. I can probably trace it back if you’re unable to.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            I believe you do not fully understand the profile, huge and blessed shadow and influence well informed Violet Sunderland casts over the landscape. Violet, I’ve never met you and probably I never will. May you and yours be the future successful inheritors of Life sustaining farming methods around this Planet. Meanwhile, I’ll keep purchasing Tillamook cheese from Tillamook County, Oregon.
            Tillamook County and Oregon dew, where one can sink a broom stick 14-18 inches into the topsoil without much effort, even in small farms parallel to Highway 101 and farmers can grow cattle fodder twice in a row without replanting, in some cases, naturally.

            Saiful Rimkeit
            San Jose, CA

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            You sound like a knucklehead yourself.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            You must have used many Kerr and perhaps Anchor jars for food storage throughout your life.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            RE: “I wasn’t passing off a webpage as gospel, merely was pointing to it as an example of folks in the science of agriculture who know what they’re talking about.”.
            Of course they know what they are talking about. The worst part about their business is creating spin. It makes it sound as if they are saving farmer’s lives, when in fact they sell poisons which affect all levels of Life — from the bee to the food harvester in a negative manner. And then, we buy into it thinking its good.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            RE: “Like other organizations having dubious reputations, it’s changed its
            name — was American Crop Protection Association, and before that was
            the National Agricultural Chemicals Association.”
            Big synthetic material corporations and allies love to use euphemisms in their titles and brands in order to hide their true agendas.

        • Organic farmers use both natural and synthetic pesticides. Natural pesticides are neither safer nor less safe than synthetic ones as a class. Some natural pesticides, such as copper are far more toxic than some targeted synthetic pesticides such as glyphosate.

          All farmers use pesticides. Many organic farmers use far more pesticides than non organic farmers. Some GMOs, such as Bt varieties, have cut the use of insecticides by 90% or more over the past 15 years, making them less impactful to the environment and human/animal health than conventional or organic varieties.

          You write that GM crops do not have higher yields than non-GMO crops. That is just not accurate although there is a tiny grain of truth to that statement, but misleading as to the point you are trying to make. Many GMOs are not designed to improve yields per se. For example, Bt crops are designed to reduce the use of sprayed insecticides, and they have done so–dramatically. That has cut farming costs and resulted in a greater yield-to-cost ratio, which is really the point of modern large scale agriculture–how do you increase yields with less environmental impact and lower costs. So indirectly that’s a huge boost in productivity.

          The introduction of Bt cotton in India, for example, has resulted in yield boosts of 15-25%. There is no evidence that soil and water contamination is on the rise on a per yield basis or that human health is being compromised by modern agriculture. Almost all diseases are trending downward and stomach and other related cancers, which could conceivably be impacted if modern crops posed a health problem, is in clear decline over the past two decades.

          The report you cite by anti-GMO activist Doug Gurian-Sherman, who was recently pushed out of of the Union of Concerned Scientists in part because of his relentlessly anti-science views on genetic modification–a real embarrassment to UCS–is consider propaganda. It directly contradicts research produced by truly independent organizations, such as the World Health Organization, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, and the Science Academies of Germany and France, among others. Good luck with arguing that such views are “corporate propaganda” while the views of an anti-NGO/anti-science crusader who was just pushed out of his job at UCS is independent science. Let me know how that goes.

          • Violet Sunderland

            “All farmers use pesticides. Many organic farmers use far more pesticides than non organic farmers” is a blanket statement that’s too easy to tweak one way or another. I don’t give it any credence. Even the current guidelines for organic certification are probably not stringent enough because Tom Vilsack of USDA and Michael Taylor of FDA are pro-GMO. EPA has raised the tolerable level rates of some chemicals and taking 5 years to study the cause of colony collapse disorder is outrageous when so much is already known. Whatever happened to the precautionary principle and why do we have to repeat everything from scratch when other countries are ahead of us?
            If an organic farmer is really devoted to his business interests and really conscientious about his methods, he will adjust the guidelines accordingly, If he isn’t, he will reap the consequences due to all unethical individuals. Are you either an organic or non-organic farmer yourself and if so, do you seek advice from your county agent?
            Now that bt crops have been found to adversely affect people and animals — the bt in the product does the same thing to gut bacteria as it does to the insects it’s used for — it’s one of the reasons many doctors have started prescribing Non-GMO diets with good results regarding leaky gut issues.
            Copper may be used every 2 years with soil sampling as a control. Have you studied the guidelines for organic certification? A 15-hr prep course is available on Rodale’s websiste.
            I’m pretty confident UCS is capable of taking care if its business although I’ve never heard of Doug Gurian-Sherman and am not familiar with the case you mentioned but now I’m curious and*will* look it up. The UCS member I’m familiar with is Tony Samsel, co-author of the Samsel-Seneff study. We have corresponded occasionally in the past and I’m sure he will know about anything I can’t find on my own.

          • Tony Samsel has no connection with UCS other than that he is member, which anybody can be, but he is certainly an idiot when it comes to glyphosate and GMOs. His “studies” are a laughing stock in the science community.

            As for chemicals, in organics and ag, I know more about it than you will learn in three lifetimes, having written two books on it.

            CCD has zero link to GMOs and none to glyphosate or neonics.

          • Doug Gurian-Sherman

            Jon Entine is incorrect about my leaving Union of Concerned Scientists. I was not forced out, and they have not disavowed their support of my work with them, and still support it (and maintain it on their website). I have no idea where Entine got this information, but it is wrong, and he should stop spreading false rumors.
            The results of the report linked in a previous comment, that Entine calls propaganda, has been largely confirmed by subsequent peer-reviewed studies. And in fact the report was based on analysis of many peer-reviewed studies, and reviewed by several academic and USDA scientists for accuracy before publication.
            Entine characterizes me as anti-GMO, even though that is not true, and I have acknowledged that some GMOs could be beneficial in the future, and that current GMOs have some benefits (but these are outweighed by problems like resistant weeds and insects and increased pesticide use as a result).
            The report found that some GMOs have resulted in modest yield increases due to reduced pest damage (but no increase in yield potential), while others have not reliably improved yield. Importantly, however, these yield increases were much smaller than has been achieved by breeding and improved agronomy in the US, which shows that so far, other technologies are much more successful at imp[roving this important trait.

          • Actually Doug, I have confirmed that indeed you were forced out and the Union of Concerned Scientists will be refocusing on the science of GMOs and away from the ideological approach you have taken (and are carrying on at the activist/non-science Center for Food Safety), which is exactly why you were pushed out. Your views were becoming an increasing embarrassment for the organization–and you know that is true. This information, confirmed my more than one source, comes from inside UCS. You know this from your meetings with top UCS officers. If you believe I am spreading a false rumor, it is your right to challenge this legally.

          • Doug Gurian-Sherman

            This is blatantly untrue. It is revealing that you do not reveal who at UCS supposedly said this to you, and what they said. In other words, it is a fabrication.
            And I have no idea what you are talking about concerning John Stossel’s show. I don’t remember ever being on that show, let alone with you, and had nothing to do with a tomato image with a needle in it. Where is your evidence?
            US law requires, as far as I know (I am not a lawyer), not only that someone lies about you, but also that the aggrieved party can show that it has caused harm…a difficult thing to do. In other words, as you likely know, you are allowed to say dishonest things. It is not worth more of my time.

          • There is nothing about John Stossel’s show in my post. And let’s just say that my information is impeccable and it’s from inside UCS–at the highest levels. If you do not know how you were perceived–inside your former organization and in the science world–that’s on your shoulders.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            Highest Levels, Impeccable information, Jon?? Even the best top dogs at the CIA, KGB and MI5 have been known to be the best fabricators of lies. As I coined the phrase: “The best conspiracies happen right in front of your eyes”.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            “Let’s just say,” ey? Hey, this sounds similar to the the Iraqi Abu Ghraib torture incident type language coming from the early main stream press reports. “High Sources reveal that nothing happened. And if it did, it’s not true.” Or the husband in bed with a guest, when the wife walks in to the bedroom and the husband declares “Nothing is happening. Who are you going to believe, your eyes or me??”

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            You sound sinister. The image conveyed in my mind while you are making this statement sounds like you are making it next to a dark alley in a busy parking lot with lips tightened while whispering the words and wearing a hat partially covering your face. A film noire scenario from the early 40s.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            Jon, you push the view natural food grower advocates and natural farm growers as an “ideological approach” and throw them under the bus with your argument.
            This “ideological approach” as practiced by farmers such as farmer Violet Sunderland has been practiced for millenia. People like you love to reverse Life and debates in general in order to get your way and be on top with arguments and product with which one can make handsome profit from. Doug Gurian’s views and proofs were becoming an embarrassment to his peers because he was likely exposing GMO for what it is. Most of it is shuck and jive. GMO works on the old adage “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. It’s natural to want to be a winner all the time, even when such desires are authored by our lower and darker elements in our human makeup. You and your advocating for GMO synthetic methods of Life alterations are the new upstarts in the neighborhood. Before you, the canned industries touted how much more superior canned foods were over non canned foods. That was false, other than nearly life deprived canned foods last longer than fresh on the shelf and even when refrigerated. Then came the frozen food engineers who were more concerned about how food behaves in the assembly line than how nutritious and additive intensive foods are nowadays filled with miserable food additives like high fructose corn syrup, a slow killer and diabetes type two creator. Now the new boys and girls are in town selling GMO foods, when it is slowly becoming evident that most GMO Foods are creating damage to animals and humans, while some are killing insects beneficial to plant life. Aside form that, there are clubs in the world wanting to reduce human populations by the billions, who likely buy shares in GMO businesses who tout wanting to create greater yields in grain and beans in order to feed the “over abundant masses”.
            I’ll take Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman’s and 5 generation natural farmer Violet Sunderland’s views over yours and your peers any day of the week.

          • Mass Spectrum

            In terms of the article topic (food more/less nutritious): What are the raw chemistry differences between any source species/strain, and then the resulting GMO version? I’ve never seen such empirical data rolled out in any anti-GMO / pro-organic / etc propaganda. Note I’m not asking about things unrelated to chemical analysis, and things directly in line with that.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            Do not forget to cite studies of animals fed GMO grains are being affected adversely. Specially the gut area. Inded, it appears that some GMO crops may damage human intestinal track as well. There is a lot of money riding on these arguments to win clients in the new farm industries. Violet Sunderland, you are splendidly well versed.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            RE: “The introduction of Bt cotton in India, for example, has resulted in
            yield boosts of 15-25%. There is no evidence that soil and water
            contamination is on the rise on a per yield basis or that human health
            is being compromised by modern agriculture. Almost all diseases are
            trending downward and stomach and other related cancers, which could
            conceivably be impacted if modern crops posed a health problem, is in
            clear decline over the past two decades.”.

            You sound like the guy who is trying to prove that the goop used to bathe the interior of old transformers with were never a problem to health if that material was set loose in the environment. Yet time and again, it’s been shown that said material is detrimental to a persons health when it was sprayed on some dirt roads in small towns by incompetent crews who knew not what they were doing.
            You would also carry water for people who say that the Fukushima disaster is “not so bad” as stated by some. Yet the Right Wing, Left Wing and Libertarian Independent Press continues to present articles that even Tokyo has been contaminated with poisonous isotopes.

        • Mass Spectrum

          Ricin toxin comes from (castor) plants. ORGANIC! Eat some I triple dog dare ya!

      • Bill Pilacinski

        There is no GMO wheat – not that we didn’t try.

        • Saiful Rimkeit

          That is a total misinformation or you just don’t know. Even Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_wheat does not reveal the full scope of GMO wheat. It is older than mentioned in this and other forums.

          Go here to find out, for example:

          http://davidduke.com/how-wheat-has-been-modified-and-why-you-should-avoid-it/

          From the website:

          The following article was written by cardiologist Dr. William Davis, author of the Wheat Belly, and explains how modern wheat has been altered and in its modern form in unhealthy for humans. Highly recommended reading!

          Wheat Belly is, first and foremost, about the changes introduced into
          modern wheat by the work of geneticists during the 1960s and 1970s, the
          same kind of research that led to the creation of Agent Orange, DDT,
          and other “better health through chemistry” types of efforts.

          The failure of agricultural geneticists and agribusiness to ask
          questions about the suitability of a genetically unique crop means they
          unleashed a foodstuff on a public . . . with no understanding of its
          effects on humans who consume it.

          Among the changes introduced into wheat by geneticists:

          –Enrichment in the glia-alpha-9 genetic sequence that provokes celiac
          disease. Nearly absent from the wheat of 1950, nearly all modern
          semi-dwarf wheat contains this genetic sequence. Is it any wonder why
          the incidence of celiac disease has quadrupled?

          –Gliadin is a more powerful opiate–The changes introduced into the
          gliadin gene/protein make it a more potent opiate. While the digestive
          byproducts of gliadin bind to the opiate receptors of the brain, they
          lack the pain-relieving and euphoric effects of heroin and morphine, but
          “only” provoke addictive eating behavior and appetite stimulation.
          People who consume wheat consume, on average, 440 more calories per day,
          365 days per year.

          –Changes in the lectin unique to wheat, wheat germ agglutinin, that
          is responsible for 1) direct intestinal damamge, and 2) a Trojan horse
          effect of helping foreign substances gain entry into the bloodstream.
          This is likely at least part of the reason why wheat-eaters experience
          more lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, type 1 diabetes in
          children, worse ulcerative colitis and Crohns, more Hashimoto’s
          thyroiditis: Foreign proteins gain entry to the various organs of the
          body and result in “autoinflammation.” Changes in wheat lectin may have
          also led to more effective blocking of the hormone of satiety, leptin.

          –Changes in alpha amylase inhibitors–These are the most common sources of wheat allergies, e.g., wheat allergy in kids.

          Eliminating wheat is about undoing all these effects, effects that
          have broad implications for human health across an astounding number of
          health conditions.

          Wheat Belly is an exposure of the destructive changes introduced into
          wheat by unwitting geneticists during an age when such things were
          unquestioningly viewed as scientific progress. It is an accusation that
          Big Food, likely aware of these phenomena for 25 years or more, has
          quietly put these effects to use, especially appetite-stimulation, to
          increase revenues. And it is an exposure of the incredible ignorance
          (collusion?) of official government agencies, such as the USDA, FDA, and
          U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who tell us to eat more
          “healthy whole grains,” then watch healthcare expenditures and American
          waistlines explode . . . then blame the disaster on our gluttony and
          sloth.

          Original article.

          Be warned of spinmeisters in the food industry!

      • Saiful Rimkeit

        “Fluctuations are not a sign of something being sustainable.” So, where is the point in that argument about sustainability and output fluctuations. You make no sense at all.
        Exactly so. Volume of food has no bearing on sustainable techniques, where every entity is fed, from the microscopic and worm animals working the earth to birds, other mammals and finally humans. Can your GMO corn growing techniques claim the same where it’s been proven that GMO corn kills butterflies, among other creatures?? I go with Violet and her arguments which she bases on real experience and well informed understanding of natural life, living in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. No pesticides of any kind, no GMO foods of any kind.
        You are the one who has bought into the HYPE.
        Long chain molecules of synthetic pesticides are far more damaging to any naturally existing being in all parts of Nature. You also sound tike a troll being paid by the synthetic farming industry.

        • Oy. The shill gambit. Where have I heard that before?

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            And you point is??? Why do people like you want to minimize the argument and usually point to the negative when cornered? Are you a modern Democrat?? That’s the usual modus operandi there.

        • organikness

          One argument from the conventional sector, is that organic farmers use copper sulphate, which kills micro organisms and worms that live in the soil among other aspects, and decreases biodiversity.

          I’m pretty forgetful on the exact information I was reading. Do you have any thoughts on this subject?

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            The difficulty in writing in these posts is that we can potentially misunderstand each other. Sometimes easily because long explanations take up too much space. However, the way you answered leads me to think of one possibility. Instead of defending your position, you introduce a malady which is being exercised by “organic” farmers. That practice of using the copper molecules on crops is also not cirrect. As the saying goes, “Two wrongs don’t make a Right ‘. It’s like arguing it’s OK for Nero’s minions to set fire to Rome because the Vandals are also doing it. That is “mee-to-ism” support.

          • organikness

            Apologies, but I cant understand what you are saying. Stop over intellectualizing things, and take my question as the simple question it is. Stop looking for conspiracies and dark corners where their are none.

            I ask the question about copper sulphate, as its use and effect on the environment is regularly sited 🙂

      • Saiful Rimkeit

        Blanket statements make for poor arguments.

    • Saiful Rimkeit

      That is a good observation. My interest in the lesser proteins, fiber and carbohydrates grown by organic and natural methods, if true, may be a normal reaction to growing more naturally. My take is that if this observation is true across the board, plants, who are constantly being sprayed for generations with synthetic sprays of all types may be growing more proteins and more fiber b ecause they are reacting to the poisons disrupting their natural life cycles. Makes sense?

    • BrS

      Is it really sustainable? In other words efficient enough to feed all the people on the planet and keep food prices down?

  • Allan Felsot

    No need to engage in ad hominem arguments about the quality of this recently published study. Focus on the data. As stated in this ‘news’ report about the article, protein content of so-called conventional commodities (meaning not organic, but across many studies that could be highly variable as to certification) was significantly higher than organic products. Given that nitrogen is a limiting factor (in addition to water) for growth of plants (and the need to moderate our use of nitrogen inputs no matter the source), I would think that fact about protein content differences is relevant to sustainability. Of course the authors downplay the significance of this finding. Even more important is the three measures of total antioxidant activity, which is much more important than the concentration of any one biochemical with antioxidant properties. Two of the three measures of total antioxidant activity had confidence intervals that overlapped zero (i.e., the neutral line of no difference), making any conclusions about antioxidants impossible. If antioxidant activity is important for “nutrition” (which is quite arguable and not agreed upon as to its significance), then readers of the paper may have been misdirected by the mishmash focused on flavonones. In other words, don’t fall for the sleight of hand but look at the non-significant results for two of the three measures of total antioxidant activity. This paper is another in a long line of reductionist approaches to what a healthy diet is about. In other words, it’s worthless for conclusions about how single chemical concentration in food contribute to human health, if indeed they do (which I am very skeptical about).

    • Saiful Rimkeit

      Allan,
      Suzi Irons is taking the studies into account, and she is not engaging in ad hominem arguments. The fact that Suzi did not write in your style and truncated the comment means nothing to support this argument. You are the one throwing a canard, a red herring into the argument suggesting the stats are not being focused on. Were you there when Suzi Irons read the article and beam into Suzi’s psyche to figure out what Suzi was thinking? As Suzi said, if the study is paid for by Cargill and Monsanto, I would not put two cents worth of trust in the Stanford U. study either, even though Stanford is a revered entity. As to antioxidants being dubiously important for “nutrition” as you state — even putting the word “nutrition” in quotes makes me suspicious about your bias. Anti oxidants have been plentifully studied in pier review releases. It use to be that scientists use to be skeptical about the nutritional need for vitamins and minerals. Yet, little by little, the nutritionists’ studies of the 1930s and 1940s are being peer reviewed and findings about the usefulness of vitamin D, for instance, have been found to be medically useful as exactly measured in findings done in the 1940s and more has been added since then with the help of modern measuring instruments, including aura photo taking cameras, known about since Nikola Tesla’s time, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It wont be long before the usefulness of antioxidants in “nutrition”, as you put it, are also found to be medically useful. The same or similar bias in studies and outcomes, of course, happen when organic farm monies are used to study organic vegetables.

    • Saiful Rimkeit

      You sound like the Grand Wizard behind the curtains, manipulating reality in the movie “The Wizard Of Oz” with this statement alone: “No need to engage in ad hominem arguments about the quality of this recently published study. Focus on the data.” Ha!

  • Violet Sunderland

    Of course I am interested in what this article suggests but am not swayed by it. I was raised on food from the family garden, have had many of my own for at least 50 of my 78 years and 20 of those were on our 27-acre farm when I was first married. At the same time, in-laws and other relatives as well as family friends were doing the same thing. We all preserved what we grew for winter use, we traded for what we didn’t have. We composted, used the manure from our critters for fertilizer, untreated water for irrigation.

    Anecdotal evidence? Yes. Confidence that it was right and worthwhile? Absolutely! Multiplied, extended and adapted according to location and climate, the world could and should return to some semblance of those growing practices and stop polluting the planet. What good is nutrient equivalence if toxic content produces systemic harm? The one thing the studies show is that everything is out of balance with nature, that genetic manipulation, chemicals and synthetics don’t work.

    http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

    • Thorne Melcher

      You clearly didn’t read the article, as it discusses the fact that organics are sprayed with pesticides as well, it’s just from naturally derived sources. That doesn’t make it any safer, however.

      Rotenone has been shown to cause brain damage and greatly increase your risk of Parkinson’s disease. Pyrethrin has been shown to be as harmful for developing brains (i.e. fetuses or children) as lead.

      Sounds like “toxic content” to me.

      • Violet Sunderland

        Reread my comment. “Rotenone” does not appear. We never used it nor would i use it or any other chemical today.

        • Thorne Melcher

          That’s wonderful. However, that has nothing to do with organic vs. non-organic, and so your statement about “not being swayed” is irrelevant.

          The whole point of this is that organic doesn’t offer any benefits over non-organic.

          But completely pesticide free would offer benefits over organic (other than reduced crop yield).

          • Violet Sunderland

            You’re preaching to the choir. I don’t want lab-made chemical pesticides anywhere at any time, no matter what. I don’t want curb-side or roadside spraying, my neighbors squirting their dandelions, etc, playgrounds, golf courses, parks — you name it, but getting rid of those in our food supply has top priority.

            Forget organic vs non-organic. That wouldn’t even be an issue if there were NO pesticides, period.

          • If we did not have pesticides, we would not have food. Organic farmers extensively use pesticides, in some cases far more pesticides than do conventional farmers because certain GMOs, like Bt crops, result in the sharp reduction in the need for insecticides. You need a bit more nuance in your understanding of how food is grown. It’s not grown in grocery stores…it grows in nature, and there are pests that will destroy it unless pesticides are used.

          • Violet Sunderland

            My gr gr grandmother was a Cornish immigrant widowed in Illinois w/6 sons who moved and homesteaded in S Dak where they farmed. She was illiterate but prospered well enough to leave an inheritance to each son. One, my gr grandfather, journeyed here to Oregon w/5 of his 7 children, 3 of whom were married and brought their own families, You can read the rest from my first post. I’ve lived my whole life in the Willamette Valley. This is a rural county, the seat of which numbers 16,000 and there are no larger cities. That makes 5 generations of us who have been involved, boots on the ground, with farming, yet you think I need a better understanding of the subject? Forsooth!

          • Growing food for one family is nowhere near growing food for a country, or the world at large. The scales are immeasurably different, and to elude to the idea that they are one in the same because they both use the core of farming is exactly why Jon Entine pointed out that you need more understanding of the subject.

          • Violet Sunderland

            Athena, I’m not ‘eluding’ nor alluding to anything of the sort and I don’t understand your misunderstanding.
            Everything I refer to is within the scope of my experience here in this locality that I know first hand. The Willamette Valley consists of something like 450,000 acres with the Cascade Mts on the east and Coast Range on the west and there is great diversity because we can grow just about anything and it thrives.
            The Willamette is rare because it flows from south to north and there are feeder rivers and streams that flow into it from the mountains. We don’t know drought as it’s experienced elsewhere.
            Family farmers and the big guys aren’t segregated. They know each other from the specific concerns in their own locales to their memberships in various organizations, are customers of the same merchants plus school districts and church. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that they “neighbor” back and forth – I know a number who do – and if they disagree, it’s most likely at a football game.
            Some have been persuaded by the likes of Monsanto that GMOs are the only way to go and we’re in the process of exposing the corporate misinformation and hype.
            In my day, I was among the kids who went to the fields, often with our mothers and I got an early start. It had been family tradition for most since my mother’s childhood in the 1920s.
            In 1943, there were heavy rains just before the start of hop picking season, the vines became too heavy and started pulling the overhead wires down and the call went out for help. Even small store owners from several small towns closed shop to pitch in.
            When pole beans came into the picture a few years later, there were camps set up for migrant workers but even before that, those Oregonians at a distance would go to camp during the week or for the peak of the season. There were Japanese farms near here that had been taken over and we used what facilities they had set up. At one place where high water from the river was a given, there was a long dormitory-type building on stilts with canoes tethered under it and each had a sun symbol painted on it. We kids had a ball playing there. When I was too young for being up and awake at daylight, my mother would turn over a sack of hops still warm from the previous day’s heat and I’d finish my night’s sleep there.
            The summer between 8th grade and start of high school, we were considered old enough to go out on our own and from then on, our folks provided room and board and we earned our books, clothes and spending money. I’ve picked strawberries, all kinds of cane berries, pole beans, prunes, hops, walnuts and filberts. We used to have more major name brand canneries, also dryers, then frozen food plants, and they ran 3 shifts a day. Early on in marriage, I worked 2 seasons in a frozen food plant. There are fewer now and the prune dryers are gone. Mechanical harvesters and the use of pesticides have done away with that kind of harvest work for the most part and the migrants are Latinos rather than Dust Bowl refugees.
            Back then, once the grass crops were cut, the stubble fields were burned. Added to the wigwam burners at all the lumber mills, it could get very unhealthy unless atmospheric pressure was high enough for marine air from the coast to carry it up and away. Both smoke sources have been phased out for a number of years.
            The state’s seed industry brings in $5 billion annually and the specialty seed crops here in the valley total $40 million. The 2 main veggie/herb/flower seed companies, Territorial and Nichols, are located south, near Eugene and Albany and I’ve gone to both — they’re awesome! Here are pictures of typical specialty seed growing: http://horticulture.oregonstate.edu/content/specialty-seed ~ Pesticide overuse would devastate them because of drift. They and most of the lower valley population know that but the Portland metropolitan population rarely look our way or have much interest in what we experience.
            Whatever USDA’s desk jockeys have determined as regulations imposed on organic vs non-organic crops are unrealistic. One size does not fit all. Almost universally, every farmer has a family garden even if he doesn’t grow a food crop for sale and it’s highly unlikely that any family would opt for aerial spray, There *are* organic pesticides, after all.
            One sister-in-law and husband had a 300-acre farm and I have close friends with 1200 acres. We communicate daily on Facebook. My nearest neighbor is the overseer of a huge fruit orchard just outside the city limits. He recently brought me a large bag of cherries picked after work, maybe half an hour from tree to me and all they needed was rinsing. This is the perspective I’m coming from and I don’t consider it to be unique.
            One comment in the article, “weaker studies should have been excluded from the analysis” sent up a big flag for me. Meta-analyses are dicey enough without cherry-picking for a questionable result but that seems to be the way it’s done anymore. They’re more interested in playing around with the variables and running with the averages rather than focusing on one specific for one situation. If an experiment proves out and can be replicated, it should then become the standard but only if it is compatible in other areas. Show me a pesticide study alongside a health/medical study and an environmental study, consider where the funding came from and *if* they all show positive long-term indications, only then can they be accepted. Corporate influence is wrong. We are our own customers and it’s *our* life-oriented bottom line that is imperative. Mother Nature still knows best and is proving it. All the money being spent to disprove it and the consequences of same could solve so very many problems in the world.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            ” They and most of the lower valley population know that but the Portland
            metropolitan population rarely look our way or have much interest in
            what we experience.
            Whatever USDA’s desk jockeys have determined as
            regulations imposed on organic vs non-organic crops are unrealistic. One
            size does not fit all.”
            On the first part, too bad quite a few Portland people are not well versed with farming concerns. Perhaps more Op Ed writings and articles about what is needed should be submitted to and appear in the well distributed Willamette Week.
            As to the USDA desk jockeys and bean counters you and your neighbors have to deal with, as you may know, it was well established in centrally run Soviet farms where Moscow apparatchiks would tell farmers what to plant, how much and when did not work at all. It was a disaster.

          • Jl Lin

            YUP Violet. Always follow the REALLY BIG MONEY.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            It’s been shown that large farms where mono crop culture raising is exercised invites greater number of insect crop eating infestation.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            You and Jon Entire and others like you are the ones who do not fully understand Violet Sunderland.

          • Organic Rusty

            Agreed that our modern food production needs the inputs it currently uses. How else could a system over-produce to the point of making a majority of its consumers overweight or obese. Over production of food calories, coupled with capitalism, has given rise to robust snack food and healthcare industries. We clearly don’t need all the calories our farmers are growing. Also, unfortunately I have to agree with your point that we need pesticides to grow our foods these days because our overuse of pesticides have basically wiped out our natural predators and have created such an imbalance in nature that naturally raising food is a challenge, at least on the Mega-Ag-Corp levels. As for organic farmers using pesticides, this is true but I’ll bet anything your statement that organic farmers are using MORE pesticide inputs than conventional famers is grossly misleading. It may be true in some cases as organic pesticides tend to need greater application rates due to their milder action, but most organic farmer’s I know would only use an organic pesticide as a last resort as opposed to many conventional farming practices using them as a standard practice. Of course, if you are counting my compost tea that has a pest-ridding action as a pesticide, then I may lose this argument. And, unless we start comparing organic vs conventional pesticides side by side to determine which ones persist longer in the environment – organic pesticides tend to be water-based with shorter half-lives – than it’s pretty hard to make any conclusions. Without a doubt, organic farming practices are gentler on the environment, with a goal of building the soil and farm ecology according to the tendencies of nature. So, as a whole and IMHO, organic farming is a much better bet for all of nature, including the human race.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            Money must be put aside to repopulate lost animals due to poison spraying of food crops that feed on vegetable eating critters. This must be done by organic farm institutes without fail.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            “If we did not have pesticides, we would not have food. ”
            You sound like an extremist. I think your post shows you come to foregone biased conclusions without sustained merit. Thank you Violet. Some of the best tasting cheese comes from Oregon.

          • Jessica Lindsey

            GMO crops actually ended up requiring more pesticides and herbicides, contrary to their initial claims that they would require less:

            http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1931020

            https://emiliocogliani.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/pesticide-use-skyrocketing-on-gmo-crops-while-pro-gmo-media-run-interference/

          • Doug Taylor

            I am an organic farmer and we are not allowed to use ANY pesticides. If insects are reducing my yields, I live with it. If weeds are causing problems, we cut them down mechanically and plan crop rotations next year in order to reduce weeds. Organic prices are higher partly to compensate organic farmers for their lower yields. But we are forbidden to use pesticides, at least by the organization that certifies me.

          • Jl Lin

            If you grow your own food, you are most apt to know with what your food is grown. Industrialized farming–GMO–inorganic pesticides–dude, it’s all about major industry and massive money and politics. You think uneducated consumers don’t know this? Please.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            Or it wouldn’t be an issue if GMO plants did not exist. Well said. When my mother bought a baby apple tree decades ago to plant in the back yard, she was offered chemicals to spray on the tree to discourage the eating of apples by worms. Said she to the seller:
            ” In Latvia, we use to cut out the worm eaten portion of the apple and eat the rest ourselves. No need for the pesticides, thank you”. We have been sold on the efficacy presented by poisons added to the food chain since WW1. It’s a socially ingrained and powerful money making entity and lobby and the same can be said about the GMO foods groups. What is the main purpose to create GMO foods but to control the food production and seed sales. Besides, what’s to hold us back from being affected by all this unnatural DNA splicing? Only double blind tests would prove that one way or another, but the skeptic in me rather eat local foods which even have been naturally selected by people like Luther Burbank and not GMO foods.
            Dealing with another side of synthetic products: As a Swiss AIDS drug manufacturing company representative said in a U.S. Congressional hearing dealing with excessive costs of AIDS drugs: “We are not here to save lives. Essentially we exist to make a profit.” That goes for the manufacture of GMO seeds and foods, as well.

          • Saiful Rimkeit

            Being not swayed is very relevant in this forum based on the salient points offered.

            The credible difference between non chemical farming organic and conventional growing is near esoteric and evidenced through taste and condition of the food when purchased. By condition, I mean a wholesomeness evident when life cycles of plants are not shocked and truncated by bad handling and spraying of toxic chemicals. It is similar to buying eggs at the local small ranch where chickens lead a normal outdoor life and eggs produced from caged, limited moving chickens dwelling in factory farms. We think that plants do not have a life, that it doesn’t matter how chickens feel in an enclosed, prison like environment while producing eggs and some may think I am insane
            for stating this, but the plants do have a life of their own on their
            level of existence. Does anyone think for a moment that all creation
            does not have a purpose for existing? How droll and limited to think so. There have books already written mentioning studies proving that plants act and react to how humans act and react to them and with them in various ways.
            We should be capable of dealing with Life beyond our limited material
            existence and embrace more on what the Universe offers. We have removed ourselves from even our own true natures for such a long time and we are so far from our original human status that we argue in favor of what we are accustomed to today and vote with money spent in favor of offerings given by large farming businesses and huge food preparation conglomerates as if we owned part of the business and it was really in our true interests to eat food which has been so miserably handled. That is where our communications and affinities have turned into, on the main. I sadly see beef cattle fed in 2 large lots that stink from 1/2 mile away, sometimes, and sometimes further, on the side of Highway 5 traveling north in Southern California. What a sorry sight. Poor sad animals and the conditions they have to put up with. And to think this is part and parcel of the food chain provided by large business firms. I eat less meat today out of necessity, but I tend to want to pay more for organically raised, grass fed beef when we buy it. Make sure that the last days of that noble animal I am partaking of was not spent walking in dung. Would you like to live in a house or apartment steeped in feces and stench? Then why treat our food source they way we do? Permitting large businesses to do this.
            I traveled through the U.S. in 1962. We came upon a horrible, horrible stench traveling across the Plains in corn country. The stench was so bad we were gagging in response while the car was moving. I remember closing the windows did not help. The source of the stench? A Purina factory situated about 1/2 mile from the highway. I was not impressed forever after with Purina. No matter what they were producing in that factory — whether it was animal fodder or human food. How disgusting.
            Be real honest with yourself, would you prefer to eat vegetables raised in farms practicing spraying deadly chemicals on the plants and being fed synthetic food, or would you prefer to eat vegetables grown in farms that feed the soil which feeds all life living within it and don’t poison food workers, butterflies, birds, friendly bugs and other beings? Eat animal product coming from animals treated like criminals or animals living in farms living a normal, wholesome life? See how far we have separated from the cycles of life to want to vote to eat criminally handled animals and synthetically fed vegetables? Go your way and pay more attention to people like Violet Sunderland. It will even positively affect your descendants for the next 7 generations and do them good too in their future.

        • You can’t avoid chemicals. Everything is chemicals.

  • Russel Dymond

    If you grow your own without pesticides then you can be sure its organic.The rest is all dodgy no matter whats on the label

  • Nickolaus Alexander Hammack

    Could we discuss how the author of this article takes issue with the backing for the most recent study that finds in favor of organic food but does not even address, acknowledge, or question those who funded the studies she uses to counter the British Journal of Nutrition study. At least hold all parties to the same standards of comparison; do not harshly examine various parts of one while passively accepting those which support your point.

    So strange that the organic industry would fund a study that supports their industry. I’m fairly certain no other industry in history has ever done that. Let’s try and be impartial in our journalism, hmm?

  • Ron Hollis

    Score victory for Violet Sunderland for being well-informed and articulate in the face of adversaries. GLP should recognize that there is validity in eschewing GMOs.

    • Saiful Rimkeit

      Yes, Sunderland’s gift with research and word usage paints true, factual great verbal landscapes dealing with any subject being debated in this forum.

  • Conventional ground beef irritates my throat, but grass fed beef doesn’t.

    Also organic grapes are far denser than commercial grapes. The result is that half as many fill me up.

    When I wash commercial fruits and vegetables with a produce wash there is often a yellow tinge in the water. Not so with organically raised produce.

  • Suzy Irons

    It has been alleged the Stanford study you refer to above had funding links to Monsanto and Cargill so is not necessarily “independent” as suggested. One of the lead researched was also Oleg Ilkin – a researcher who was employed by Philip Morris to suggest on court smoking didn’t cause cancer in tobacco court cases in the 80’s, so I wouldn’t hold anything resulting from Stanford’s study as being unbiased or credible.

    • Joe N

      Allegations without supporting evidence are meaningless. You can accuse anyone of nearly anything, that doesn’t mean its reasonable or correct

    • Fullerene

      “It has been alleged.” It has been alleged that you’re a witch, so nothing you say should be believed.

      See how innuendo works?

  • Karl Baba

    I’d like to see more research into the effects of consuming increased Glyphosate in round-up ready crops and wheat drying using Glyphosate and also the digestive consequences of GMO crops that incorporate BT toxin pesticide into the food (so you can’t wash it off like when organic farmers use it)

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/

    http://sustainablepulse.com/2014/04/06/worlds-number-1-herbicide-discovered-u-s-mothers-breast-milk/#.VEks3VblarY

  • Are the people who ran/funded this study the same people that espouse treating chronic disease with toxic pharmaceuticals is the best medicine available? What I do know is that I have worked in allopathic medicine for 15 years and no one gets cured. You can’t cure anyone when you don’t add health to their body and remove the obstacle to cure. And you can’t cure anyone when you don’t restore their physiology to a balanced state.

    On the flip side, many people are being cured of their ailments all over the world. It’s just not on mainstream media, and why is that? It couldn’t have anything to do with money, could it?

    These articles are a laugh. They attempt to displace common sense, and it works on many people who just fail to do their own independent research, but more importantly, who have lost the ability to use common sense. The notion that man is separate from the earth and does not respond favorably to that which is “organic” is at the height of absurdity. Believing this has the same fate as walking across the road without looking.

  • Human

    What a bloody head spin, I’m going to buy an apple from woollies and enjoy it, organic or not!

  • Justin

    The fewer poisons that you put into your body the less likely you are to be poisoned. How can you dispute common sense? Conventional produce is covered in poison and often grown with seeds containing systemic pesticides. Poison poison poison. It’s a no brainer

  • Irina Godunko

    There is no such thing like “INDEPENDENT SCIENTISTS! LOL!