“The recently released study by Stanford University questioning the benefits of organic food is flawed and fails to identify some key reasons why people eat organically” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson for Soil & Health – Organic NZ.
The study which suggested the nutritional and health benefit of organics to be minimal has been criticised worldwide.
“It fails to consider that organics, which traditionally have proven to have between 10-30% more nutritional value, than conventional foods also have no additives which have proven health risks. These include GMO’s, aspartame, fillers, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and BPA’s. Seventy five percent of all GE crops are herbicide resistant, most to Roundup. Roundup has been linked to DNA damage, infertility, cancer and over 29 other diseases and despite the studies suggestion that this residue in conventional crops is within safety limits there is no such thing” says Swanwick.
Pregnant women and fetuses have been harmed by low level exposure to organophosphate pesticides. “Eighty three percent of all GE crops are grown in the US, a country which has a 41% incidence of cancer” she says.
Charles Benbrook a research professor at Washington State University cites the metrics used in the study as unusual and unfamiliar.
A statistical risk construct called ‘risk difference’ is used by researchers in the study to explain that there is only a 30% lower risk of pesticide residue in organic foods, which is inconsistent with Benbrooks’ own findings, that there is an 81% lower risk of pesticide residue in organic versus conventional foods.
The study also suggested that it was only 33% more likely that antibiotic-resistant bacteria would be present in conventionally raised pork and chicken versus organic alternatives. Eighty percent of all the worlds antibiotics are given to animals.
Organic food production has been proven to benefit the environment with a reduction in pollutants, preservation of heritage seed crops and protection of biodiversity. Bee populations in the US and UK have declined by as much as 50% in the past twenty five years due to pesticide use which has impacted their navigation abilities two studies by researchers from the French National institute for Agricultural Research and the Univerisities of Lancaster and Stirling have concluded. Two thirds of New Zealand food production relies on bees to pollinate plants.
The funding of the study and Stanford itself has also bought into question bias. “Stanford has received over half a billion dollars in funding from big Agri Tech including such companies as Monsanto and it has been suggested that Goldman Sachs, Cargill, Monsanto and other players profiting from GE are behind this study” says Swanwick.
Ingram Olkin – a co-author of the study was an ‘anti science’ propagandist for Big Tabbaco in the seventies.
“Big Agri Tech has an agenda to denounce organics and it isn’t to benefit the environment, the health of individuals or increase sustainable production (as the Union of Concerned Scientists 2009 ‘Failure to Yield’ study – the definitive study to date in GM crops and yield, identified) – that is the agenda of the organics industry” says Swanwick.
Soil & Health – Organic NZ promote GE free, organic, fresh and healthy food.Oranga Nuku, Oranga Kai Oranga Tangata.