IS ORGANIC FOOD REALLY HEALTHIER?
by Alex Avery, Director of the Center for Global Development , Hud
Organic foods are widely marketed as "healthier" and "better for you" than non-organic foods. Yet there is simply no evidence whatsoever that a diet high in or exclusively of organic foods is any healthier for you than a diet of regular food.
In early March 2005, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the United Kingdom - a quasi-government "truth in advertising" watchdog - upheld a complaint against an organic group for fund raising leaflets implying that organic foods were healthier. The ASA's ruling noted that the group "did not show organically-produced food conveyed noticeable health benefits over and above the same food when conventionally produced or that a diet of organic food could guarantee no harmful effects."
Despite the near total lack of evidence, the number of so-called experts extolling the health benefits of organic foods is large and, arguably, growing.
But so is the number of credentialed, independent scientists, scientific organizations, and other experts that have expressed an opinion on the merits (or lack thereof) of organic foods.
You might ask yourself why one should believe the opinions of these scientists over the opinions of other health activists and individuals. After all, nobody has absolute knowledge and scientific opinions seemingly change constantly.
Well, let's examine the track record of previous so-called "healthy lifestyle" experts of the past, who made their living telling people that the medical establishment and food scientists were wrong. Here is just one example of many.
U.S. Organic Pioneer, Jerome Rodale: Widely considered the founder of the U.S. organic farming movement. Rodale began farming organically in the U.S. in 1940 and immediately began promoting himself and his organic beliefs. He launched Organic Gardening magazine in 1945 and Prevention in 1950, so named because Rodale believed that eating organic foods would prevent the onset of disease, cancer, and poor health.
On June 7th, 1971, Mr. Rodale told the New York Times Magazine "I'm going to live to be 100, unless I'm run down by a sugar-crazed taxi driver." The next day, Rodale died of a heart attack at age 73 during a taping of the Dick Cavett television talk show.