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Critics Raise Alarms Over Stanford Organics Study

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The study adds nothing substantive to the debate and might have been ignored had it not borne the imprimatur of one of America’s most respected universities. Most major media ignored the study’s flaws and reported it as if it were the last nail in the coffin of organic foods.

That is particularly unfortunate now, with Big Ag in a major push to promote industrial, technology-dependent agriculture as the only way to save the world from hunger. The irony of that is, of course, that highly industrialized agriculture is a major contributor to the climate change and environmental degradation that are going to push a whole lot more people into starvation.

Even one of the study’s lead authors admits the study is narrow. Dr. Crystal Smith-Spangler, a practicing internist and research instructor in the Division of General Medical Disciplines in the Stanford School of Medicine, told Remapping Debate her group did not look at environmental or health impacts of non-organic farming. Her comment is telling:

It was beyond the scope of our article to review and be able to really answer [those questions]. In these articles in the medical literature you aren’t given unlimited word count.

The Stanford team was conducting a survey, not writing a definitive treatise. Still, they have done harm to a movement that is working hard, with few resources, to counter the influence of industrialized agriculture. They have done a disservice to consumers, and Big Ag didn’t really need their help.

 

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Photos 1 and 2: Thinkstock; Photo 3 from Austin Valley via Flickr Creative Commons

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101 comments

+ add your own
6:04AM PDT on Sep 25, 2013

Thank you Cathryn, for Sharing this!

3:31AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Thanks for the article.

4:30PM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

Eat organic...better for you...better for the earth...

3:22AM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

Thank you.

5:54PM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

Where are the petitions on the fraud of the study.
WHERE ARE THE PETITIONS.

5:52PM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

THERE NEED TO BE LONG TERM AND SHORT TERM STUDIES DONE BY OTHER PEOPLE.

5:51PM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

THIS STUDY IS SIMPLY PAID FOR BY THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE MONEY ON GMO'S GE'S AND NON-ORGANIC FOOD.
THE STUDY IS A FAKE, A FRAUD, A DISHONESTY.

5:48PM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

People who paid to have the study done -- have their money in non-organic.
PEOPLE WHO PAID TO HAVE THE STUDY DONE -- HAVE THEIR MONEY INVESTED IN NON-ORGANIC. SO THE STUDY IS BIASED.
Many People who have gone all organic over a period of years -- as individuals -- have told me of their imporvement in health.

It would be good to see many long-term studies of people who go organic and taking the other factors in their life into consideration.

12:41PM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

So much craziness over this study and that study, and the refutation of this study and that study. Use your common sense, take it all with a grain of salt.

The industrial food production and marketing industries are feeling the pinch, and they fight back with all the usual methods at their disposal. Debunking them is important, getting nuts over it gives your energy and power away.

I never ate organic because I thought it has higher nutritional value. I prefer to use organic methods and compounds in raising food because it's better for the dirt of the Earth. I eat organic because I don't want to eat any more human-made chemicals when I can possibly avoid them. A lot of organic foods taste better to me...for the same reason home-grown tastes better...and I trust my own taste buds. I like giving my money to folks of whom I approve, so I'd rather give my money to organic farmers...local folks as much as possible.

4:49PM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

thanks

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