In a remarkable article entitled "The Organic Fable" NYT op-ed columnist Roger Cohen attacked organic foods for failing to be more nutritious than regular foods, citing a Stanford metastudy.
People who grow and eat organic foods, however, are trying to avoid pesticides, hormones and antibiotics, which have repeatedly been shown to be dangerous for both the environment and for the people forced to consume them.
Nowhere in his article, unfortunately, did Cohen grapple with - or even mention- this. (This is especially curious because the NYT's article by Kenneth Chang that he links to DOES talk about these concerns.)
What's interesting here is that this line of attack - ignoring the reasons why people want organic foods while focusing on a nutritional claim publicized by the foes of organic in order to discredit it - has been used before. In 2009 in Britain.
And it smacks of corporate com.
Setting up a straw man (nutritional claims) in order to knock it down is a classic Mad Men tactic.
As is changing the conversation.
Organic is about protecting ourselves and our children from pesticides present in industrially produced vegetables and fruits and from the residue of hormones and antibiotics in industrially produced poultry, beef and pork. Its farmers want to protect our land and water from contamination.
It is perfectly understandable that the agribusiness, drug and chemical industries prefer not to focus on these issues. Especially since research on the impact of the consumption of pesticides and hormones on the health of laboratory animals is profoundly negative. And the rising resistance of bacteria to antibiotics has been traced in part to their massive use in industrial feedlots.
What is not clear is why Roger Cohen fell for it.
Mr Cohen, pehaps in your next article you can take a closer look at origins of studies blatantly oriented to serve corporate interests. And report back to us on the conclusions of the many specific scientific studies on the impact of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on our children, and the environment.