The Organic Industry Is Lying to You

  • You are viewing Orangepower as a Guest. To start new threads, reply to posts, or participate in polls or contests - you must register. Registration is free and easy. Click Here to register.

RxCowboy

I'm your huckleberry. That's just my game.
A/V Subscriber
Nov 8, 2004
74,252
41,787
1,743
Closer to Stillwater today than I was last year
#1
From the WSJ Oped page:

The Organic Industry Is Lying to You
Normally a strict regulator, the FDA gives advertisers a complete pass.

By Henry I. Miller
Aug. 5, 2018 3:18 p.m. ET

In the mold of “Mad Men’s” Don Draper, clever ad execs know a thing or two about manipulating consumer ignorance, confusion and even fear to sell a product.

Nowhere is this truer than modern food advertising, where dubious health claims and questionable scientific assertions abound. The Food and Drug Administration is supposed to police such deceptive practices, as it sometimes does with ridiculous zeal: Witness the FDA’s warning letter sent to a Massachusetts bakery for including “love” in its ingredient list.

But when it comes to the $47-billion-a-year organic industry, the FDA gives a complete pass to blatantly false and deceptive advertising claims. Consider the Whole Foods website, which explicitly claims that organic foods are grown “without toxic or persistent pesticides.” In fact, organic farmers rely on synthetic and natural pesticides to grow their crops, just as conventional farmers do, and organic products can contain numerous synthetic as well as natural chemicals. As observed by UC Berkeley biochemist Bruce Ames and his colleagues in 1990, “99.99% (by weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves.”

Pesticides are by definition toxic, and many organic pesticides pose significant environmental and human health risks. One is copper sulfate, a widely used broad-spectrum organic pesticide that persists in soil and is the most common residue found in organic food. The European Union determined that copper sulfate may cause cancer and intended to ban it, but backed off because organic farmers don’t have any viable alternative.

In addition to blatant untruths, food marketers are masters at subtly misleading consumers. A favored technique is the “absence claim”—asserting a meaningless distinction between products in order to make theirs seem superior. Generally, the FDA comes down hard on such behavior. They would never allow an orange-juice producer to label its product “fat free,” for example. To claim an absence of a certain ingredient, there has to be a “standard of presence” in that product to begin with, and there is no fat in orange juice.

But Tropicana gets away with labeling its orange juice “Non-GMO Project Verified,” and Hunt’s labels its canned crushed tomatoes “non-GMO,” even though there are no GMO (genetically modified organism) oranges or tomatoes on the market. In fact, absence claims about GMOs are never enforced: I was unable to find a single FDA warning letter or other enforcement action against deceptive “non-GMO” labeling.

The “Non-GMO Project” butterfly label emblazons more than 55,000 organic and nonorganic products on supermarket shelves today—many of which have no GMO counterpart or couldn’t possibly contain GMOs. The clear purpose of these labels, as one peer-reviewed academic study found, is to “stigmatize food produced with conventional processes even when there is no scientific evidence that they cause harm, or even that it is compositionally any different.” The labels and anti-genetic-engineering propaganda are effective. Another recent study found nearly half of consumers avoid GMO-labeled foods.

The FDA’s inaction is all the more surprising inasmuch as it has published explicit guidance on this issue: “Another example of a statement in food labeling that may be false or misleading could be the statement ‘None of the ingredients in this food is genetically engineered’ on a food where some of the ingredients are incapable of being produced through genetic engineering (e.g., salt).”

The FDA guidance goes even further. GMO absence claims can also be “false and misleading” if they imply that a certain food “is safer, more nutritious, or otherwise has different attributes than other comparable foods because the food was not genetically engineered.” But this is exactly what Non-GMO Project butterfly labels are all about. Its website describes certain foods as being at “high risk” of “GMO contamination.”

Giving the organic industry and others a pass to engage in such active deception undermines consumers’ choice, erodes trust in the market, and rigs the game. Consumers need aggressive FDA action to curb these abuses and level the playing field.

Dr. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He was founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology.
 

Boomer.....

Territorial Marshal
Feb 15, 2007
7,990
6,402
1,743
OKC
#5
I used to defend the FDA. I think they have done a good job of protecting people from bad drugs in the past. But they've become too big, too bloated, and have too many functions.
Yet at the same time we hear that they do not have the man-power to stay on top of things.
 

SLVRBK

Johnny 8ball's PR Manager
Staff
A/V Subscriber
Oct 16, 2003
16,553
5,973
1,743
Katy, TX
#6
Was it the Dept of Ag or FDA that brought us the widespread whole food/natural foods/organic foods products?

There was a news story several years ago, 60 minutes perhaps, where the gov't was pushing farmers into the organic movement as a way to increase their margins.
 
Feb 11, 2007
4,945
2,122
1,743
Oklahoma City
#7
The FDA has a massive job that covers the safety of all drugs and all foods sold in the US. That massive responsibility is well beyond their limited ability to comply with. Our food for just one example is imported
from all over the world. The last time I heard we have only five inspectors to inspect food coming from all over China.
 

Boomer.....

Territorial Marshal
Feb 15, 2007
7,990
6,402
1,743
OKC
#10
The FDA has a massive job that covers the safety of all drugs and all foods sold in the US. That massive responsibility is well beyond their limited ability to comply with. Our food for just one example is imported
from all over the world. The last time I heard we have only five inspectors to inspect food coming from all over China.
Google "foods/ingredients banned in other countries" and it'll make you shake your head. The FDA allows practically anything in our diets and the food manufacturers take full advantage of it and their marketing campaigns directed towards the public.
 
Feb 6, 2007
4,347
4,569
1,743
Ardmore, Ok.
#12
Google "foods/ingredients banned in other countries" and it'll make you shake your head. The FDA allows practically anything in our diets and the food manufacturers take full advantage of it and their marketing campaigns directed towards the public.
Many of the bans are political, trade issues, and not food issues. The EU, for example, banning implanted beef (the use of estrogenic growth promoting hormones) is purely a trading issue. One will consume more estrogen in one serving of ice cream, English peas, cabbage, and many other foods than you would from over 1,000 lbs. of beef from an implanted steer. In fact, your own body manufactures more estrogen than you would consume from implanted beef. Don't imply that food risks and government bans are synonymous.
 

SLVRBK

Johnny 8ball's PR Manager
Staff
A/V Subscriber
Oct 16, 2003
16,553
5,973
1,743
Katy, TX
#13
Much of the world will not drink tap water because they're afraid it will kill them, I'm talking about the industrialized world, not sure that I put a lot of weight in what additives they allow.

Not sure about the latest info but there was a viral list several years ago, most of those items are approved by the EU now.
 
Feb 11, 2007
4,945
2,122
1,743
Oklahoma City
#14
Google "foods/ingredients banned in other countries" and it'll make you shake your head. The FDA allows practically anything in our diets and the food manufacturers take full advantage of it and their marketing campaigns directed towards the public.
But it is also a two way street. In the winter here we all want summertime foods that can only be grown in the
the summer hemisphere thus we import a massive amount of these foods.
 
Aug 11, 2004
1,268
94
1,678
59
Newkirk, Ok
#17
99% of the time. If you are one of the 2 or 3 people that have an allergy then it is helpful. Other than that it is nonsense. I had shampoo that said gluten free. I kid you not.
I understand the problem celiacs have but I'm talking about products like your gluten free shampoo that never had gluten in them to begin with.
 

Duke Silver

Find safe haven in a warm bathtub full of my jazz.
A/V Subscriber
Sep 17, 2004
31,874
14,492
1,743
Cozy's Bar
#18
I understand the problem celiacs have but I'm talking about products like your gluten free shampoo that never had gluten in them to begin with.
Absolutely. All of the terms in this thread are marketing terms just to sell stuff. Organic is actually worse for you than regular. The nutritional values is exactly the same except you get a good case of food poisoning to go with it.