Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Changes its Position on Organic Food

Written by Max Goldberg on July 17, 2012. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

Yesterday, I responded to a blog post that the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute put up on its site called “Are Organic Foods Better for You?“, and I heard back from them this morning.

Dana-Farber’s post (which has since been modified – see picture of the original post below) said that “there is no scientific evidence that eating organic foods increases health benefits”.

Not only is this a false statement, but it insinuated that eating conventionally-grown, pesticide-laden foods is just the same as eating organic food. Furthermore, it goes against what the President’s Cancer Panel (PDF File) says – that we should eat foods that have been grown without the use of pesticides.

I lashed out at Dana-Farber and called the post “factually incorrect and morally reprehensible.”

A few hours ago, I got an email from Michael Buller, the Director of Creative & Editorial Services at Dana-Farber, who said the following:

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Dear Mr. Goldberg:

After reading your comments about the Dana-Farber blog post on organic food, we took another look and made a few changes to more accurately reflect our meaning. (http://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2012/07/are-organic-foods-better-for-you/)

One of the points that we were trying to make is that people should eat more fruits and vegetables, and we didn’t want people to be discouraged from eating them if all they could find was conventionally grown items.

Bottom line: it’s better to eat conventional fruits and vegetables than none at all, but it was not our intention to imply that there is no difference between the two.

Thanks for your blog post.

Sincerely,
Michael Buller

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ORIGINAL DANA-FARBER BLOG POST

REVISED DANA-FARBER BLOG POST

As you can tell from above, the sentence “there is no scientific evidence that eating organic foods increases health benefits” was changed to “there is no scientific evidence that specifically ties eating organic foods to a decreased risk of cancer.” 

While environmental factors (pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, other chemicals, etc.) play a huge role in cancer rates and the President’s Cancer Panel still believes that people should be eating foods grown without pesticides, I appreciate that Dana-Farber made the change.

MY TAKE:

This whole episode with Dana-Farber points to a much larger problem in our society.

Everyone who is involved with health – doctors, hospitals, medical organizations – should be promoting and encouraging the consumption of organic food.

But they’re not. And I find this bewildering.

Food sprayed with pesticides is food sprayed with poison. Period.

It is time for the overall medical community to take a serious look inward and ask itself if the health of its patients is truly its number one concern?

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