Stanford’s Report on Organic Food Should Serve as a Serious Wake-Up Call

Written by Max Goldberg on September 5, 2012. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

Late Monday night, I read about the Stanford University report on organic food, which said that organic and conventionally-grown food offered similar nutritional benefits, and have spent the last few days processing this news.

Here are my key takeaways.

INTELLECTUAL HONESTY MUST REIGN SUPREME

Based on the parameters that the Stanford professors used, it was obvious that organic was going to be the clear loser before they even got started.

Why?

The Stanford professors compiled other people’s research, much of which was presumably biased, influenced and/or funded by industry.

And when it came time to studies that favored organic and a person’s health, these appeared to be easily overlooked or not taken seriously, including the real problems suffered by fetuses (autism and ADHD) whose pregnant mothers were exposed to pesticides and the compelling research from Dr. Alex Lu, now at Harvard School of Public Health, which links a reduction in organophosphate insecticide exposure in young children to a switch to organic food.

When it comes to toxic pesticide exposure in this country, as long as it is under EPA levels, most “experts” don’t think it causes any harm nor significantly impacts health or nutrition levels. It is mind-boggling.

How can soil that is not bio-diverse, that has been ravaged by toxic pesticides, and that is not the recipient of crop rotation produce food with the same nutritional content as organic food?

I don’t believe that it can.

How can genetically-modified food (much of which has toxins genetically-inserted inside of it) or food produced with synthetic growth hormones have the same nutritional content as organic food?

I don’t believe that it can.

A person doesn’t need to be a MD or PhD to come to a similar conclusion.

A person just needs to be intellectually honest.

A WAKE-UP CALL

With this Stanford report, there is a bigger message that we all must understand.

There is a massive and incredibly well-funded campaign at work to discredit organic.

Why is this?

Educated consumers know that toxic pesticides, synthetic growth hormones and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) have absolutely no business being on our dinner plates.

Educated consumers are also putting up increasing resistance to our water supply being ruined by poisonous chemicals and are filing lawsuit after lawsuit to prevent the USDA from force-feeding us a slew of new GMOs.

And the number of educated consumers is growing by the day, which presents a serious problem for Big Ag’s plans to control every aspect of the world’s food supply while making billions in the process.

Even though industrial agriculture has proven that it can “buy” food policy on the federal level, by spending $572 million on lobbying and campaign contributions from 1999-2010, it is facing its largest threat yet – the upcoming California ballot initiative to label GMOs.

Because California citizens will be voting on this measure and California citizens cannot be “bought” via lobbyists, industrial agriculture will be pulling out all the stops to damage the organic brand.

By discrediting organic, it is creating doubt and confusion in the minds of those people who do not fully understand why they should be eating organic and avoiding genetically-modified food.

It is also creating doubt and confusion in the minds of California voters, who will associate GMO-labeling with organic.

Is it any coincidence that this research report came out of Stanford, a world-class institution which just happens to be based in California?

Is it any coincidence that this research report has come out just a few months before the GMO-labeling ballot initiative takes place in November?

For me, the answer is a resounding “no” to both of these questions.

Any educated consumer who understands the true value of organic knows that this Stanford report has zero merit.

However, the problem is that there are far too many people out there who don’t know the truth about organic and are ripe to be influenced by misleading propaganda. As such, they are susceptible to making dietary and voting choices that will be detrimental to their own health and that of future generations.

That is precisely why this Stanford report, which spread like absolute wildfire across the national media landscape, should serve as a serious wake-up call to all of us who understand that high-quality, organic food is essential to our well-being.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

We need every American citizen actively engaged in this fight to protect our food supply. Here’s what you can do:

- Continue to purchase organic. As Joel Salatin, star of the movie Food, Inc., told me, “there is nothing more powerful than voting with your dollars.”

- Inform your friends and family. It is imperative that we are all educating our friends and family about the importance of eating organic food – food that is free from toxic pesticides, synthetic growth hormones and very risky genetically-modified ingredients.

- Get involved and support the upcoming California ballot initiative to label GMOs (Proposition 37). Even if you don’t live in that state, a victory will have a monumental impact on food policy throughout the nation and will affect every single one of us.

To learn more about this ballot initiative, click HERE.

To learn which conventional, organic and natural food companies are trying to defeat the mandatory labeling of GMOs, click HERE.

Thank you so much for supporting organic food.

 

Other Posts You May Enjoy

22 Comments

  1. Max:

    We are in full support and believe you have absolutely hit the nail on the head. Thank you for reinforcing the importance both of Intellectual Honesty and for each of us to take action.

    Written by Meg Carlson on September 5, 2012 @ 12:56 pm
  2. Hi Meg,

    Thanks so much for your feedback, and I hope you had a great time in NYC!!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 5, 2012 @ 1:35 pm
  3. Thumbs up to you Bravo and all that stuff! I also believe you hit the nail on the head. My opinion was that Monsanto is behind the whole research some how.
    I never quite believe a lot to these studies because they are usually bought and paid for before they are ever done. Much thanks for speaking the truth.

    Written by Marla on September 5, 2012 @ 4:22 pm
  4. You believe? Let’s be intellectually honest – you don’t have any formal education other than beliefs and you’re trying to sell something too. Quit pretending that you’re trying to help when all you are doing is selling something. Just keep it intellectually honest.

    Written by Joe on September 5, 2012 @ 4:37 pm
  5. I was an Organic Dairy Farmer in Vermont in 1950. After three years of experimenting with both Conventional and Organic for three years I changed totally to Organic. In 1958 I won the New Endland in Winter Green Pastures Contest over several hundred farmers all using Chemicals. The Judges gave me the award because of the best Roughage and Healthest Dairy herd they saw on the 2000 mile trip. I would like to send you a book of my story, information and education I have been told. Learned by the Fencepost (Lessons in Organic Farming & Gardening. It can be reviewed on Amazon by the title. Max you are so correct. Colleges are geting 15m for Organic resarch and wasting it. Please send me your address . learnedbythefencepost@hotmail.com
    I have not ever and never will take any grants from the Government as they would be in control. I have learned so much on my own and talking with many scientist since the book was published in March 2011. Hope I can help with some facts and logic. I would like to write an article to rebut the media story but doubt it would be accepted. Donald E. Lewis

    Written by Donald E. Lewis on September 5, 2012 @ 4:55 pm
  6. Thanks Marla! Yes, I am with you and firmly believe that Monsanto or some other party has some connection to this. This study was a total joke.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 5, 2012 @ 6:19 pm
  7. Max:
    Thank you for your cool-headed, cogent commentary on Stanford’s study. Your points all add up- including the study’s intentionally influential timing.
    Come on everyone , you know , even without studies that chemicals+hormones+GMO activity can NEVER = a safe product. And while micro and macro nutrient values may sometimes appear to be equal the rest of what the product contains is the danger.

    Written by Caroline Nation on September 5, 2012 @ 6:26 pm
  8. Hi Donald,

    Thanks so much for your comment and I cannot imagine the incredible knowledge that you accumulated over the years through farming organically.

    I will check out your book on Amazon and get back to you. Thanks for writing.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 5, 2012 @ 6:28 pm
  9. Thank you Max! When I saw the news yesterday morning I couldn’t believe it. My feeling is that they completely missed the point of organic/non gmo foods. There was so little mentioned about the harmful chemicals/pesticides. I feel that they “big food” are really trying to confuse those that do not have the resources to research and make an informed decision. We certainly aren’t perfect in our house but do the best we can. Thanks again for all of your valuable information. Keep up the fight!!!

    Written by Marsha on September 5, 2012 @ 6:28 pm
  10. Hi Caroline,

    I appreciate your feedback, and the timing of this report was very, very suspicious. It’s very dangerous when mainstream media is essentially telling people not to eat organic when pesticide-laden, GM-grown food carries such health risks.

    See you soon!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 5, 2012 @ 6:41 pm
  11. Hi Marsha,

    Yes, the general message about these dangerous pesticides is not getting across, especially when chemical companies want approval for more GM-crops resistant to 2,4-D (Agent Orange) and Dicamba. Our government’s tolerance for these poisonous chemicals to be sprayed on the food supply is ridiculous.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 5, 2012 @ 6:44 pm
  12. I can not believe that the Children eating Organic food showed any insecticide. It was not grown Organically. I would ask did Stanford get the 15m grants from the USDA to do Organic research. If they did they are connected to Monsanto through the USDA. I sent my book to 12 Colleges because of the Organic Research that they were suppusedly doing. One Professor called and wondered why I sent the book. He just skimmed it and I asked what do you do as my other questions about Organic not answered. He was the grants writer. Another college had 88 Farmers do Organic resarch and only one completed the program. Not any chance to interest the FFA chapters big money from Monsanto

    Written by Donald E. Lewis on September 5, 2012 @ 11:16 pm
  13. I would like to know if the soil was prepared for Organic as for chemical farming. The chemical Farmers do not have to have a deep seed bed and Organic matter because all the chemicals do is stimulate the plants without any root growth. Anyone can test this with tomatos. Get some organic potting soil and some chemical potting soil. When trans planting .to the garden the Organic roots will fill the plant pot. The chemcal hardly a root to be seen. Organic needs a deep root bed that has been absent in agriculture for many years. If this was their test the Organic roots could not get to trace elements that are so nessasary for healthy plants to ward off insects and disease. Why do you think that the chemical growers have to use so much insecticide and fungicide?

    Written by Donald E. Lewis on September 5, 2012 @ 11:31 pm
  14. “I don’t believe that it can.”

    And that is the biggest problem I have with this article. Let me be clear, I agree with you, but I will also say that this article is terrible.

    “A person doesn’t need to be a MD or PhD to come to a similar conclusion.” So just throw away science, let’s go with our gut? What makes your gut better than their science? The fact that you presume some of their research was biased (“much of which was presumably biased”)? That hardly seems like a reason for me to ignore their findings.

    “While I could go on and on poking holes at this report…” Please do, because at this point, you haven’t really poked any holes in it. You’ve said that they weren’t long term studies, which makes sense considering their findings were about the nutritional value of food, not long term affects of pesticide exposure, you said they compiled research, oh no!, and you presumed it was biased. Those aren’t holes you poked.

    “Any educated consumer who understands the true value of organic knows that this Stanford report has zero merit.” More bold statements without any evidence of your own.

    “WHAT YOU CAN DO

    We need every American citizen actively engaged in this fight to protect our food supply. Here’s what you can do:”

    Here’s what you can do: If you’re going to write an article about how bad someone’s science is, you could at least have a shred of science of your own to back yourself up. If you’re going to lambaste a Stanford finding because it goes against what you believe, have some evidence to show why what you believe is correct. And if you’re going to have a call to arms in your article, and you truly care about the issue, take the time to actually prove your point. That way your opponents don’t have one more article to point to as an example of the opposition who argues strictly from some emotional point that has no visible evidence in science.

    Written by Matt on September 5, 2012 @ 11:31 pm
  15. Have done research on this myself for 10 years and there is a huge difference. All you have to look at is the difference in methods of obtaining nutrients to realise it cannot be the same. Yes, in soil without enough living organisms, organically grown crops will not only give poorer yields but also of poor nutritional value. In humus rich soil with enough soil organisms the yield will be better and the nutritional value far better than chemical grown crops. The more chemicals used to increase yield , the poorer the nutritional value. Even fertiliser reps. know this and they call it nutrient dilution .

    Written by Hennie Eksteen on September 6, 2012 @ 7:30 am
  16. I think researches and studies in agriculture tend to proof the thesis of who is paying the research…

    Organic farmers know that what they do, make sense for their families and for their customers and do not use studies to prove it…

    On the other end, agrochemical companies need a lot of studies to try to prove their thesis and it is good for them that they have a lot of resources dedicated to research and studies because otherwise they would be already out of the food business…

    Organic food may or may not have additional nutrients (depending on the study we can say one way or the other..) however most studies tend to agree that organic food has no heavy pesticides, chemicals, synthetic hormones and antibiotic (in the case of meats) and GMOs. Also organic food is way more environmentally sensitive than conventional food, and I think nobody argues that…

    It is regrettable that within capitalism, the power of money and profits is greater than health, well-being and common sense…

    America is unfortunately the sickest country on earth and we are off the charts on all the diseases related to diet… This is what science says and that is also aligned with our national heath stats..

    I personally believe that organics are the greenest way to a better future and I buy as much organic food as I can for my children and I also suspect that agrochemical companies executives also buy organic food for their own children, even thou they sell something else…

    Written by Alberto Gonzalez on September 6, 2012 @ 12:40 pm
  17. Thanks, Max. As always, I SO appreciate your voice.

    Cheers,
    Lacey :)

    Written by Lacey @ KV Organics on September 6, 2012 @ 4:41 pm
  18. Max,

    Thank you for this post! It would be a great service to us all if you could find out who funded this review, and the research that it is based on. I suspect that you are right, and there is industry money involved in a big way. It would be great if this information became as public as the “conclusions” of that review!

    Written by Dina on September 7, 2012 @ 10:57 am
  19. Max,

    Thank you for this post! It would be a great service to us all if you could find out who funded this review, and the research that it is based on. I suspect that you are right, and there is industry money involved in a big way. It would be great if this information became as public as the “conclusions” of this review!

    Written by Dina on September 7, 2012 @ 10:57 am
  20. Hi Dina,

    They have claimed that no outside funding was received but connections have been unearthed between people at Stanford and Monsanto. It is possible that direct funding was not made but “indirect” or untraceable funding is very, very likely in my opinion.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 11, 2012 @ 10:28 am
  21. Some research links casting doubt on the rigor of the Stanford studies. Data > gut

    Written by Asdf on September 12, 2012 @ 1:08 am
  22. Hi Dina,

    In a post I put up yesterday, the school at Stanford that supports the researchers has received donations from Cargill and The Gates Foundation, both of which are HUGE GMO-advocates. That says it all.

    Take a look at that post, if you haven’t already.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 15, 2012 @ 9:10 am

Post a Comment