Above all else, the United States is the marketing capital of the world. Our society is built around products and services and all the ways they are advertised to us in a way designed to outpace the competition. While it may be unethical to do so, marketing fosters its share of lying, truth-twisting and censorship by omission. The food industry is a model food chain — the big guys try to swallow the small guys, which is why organic foods are slandered by food giants and Big Agra.
Over the years I have read several so-called "studies" that would have us believe that organic foods are no different than non-organic foods. While these may be confusing for many people, those who have been eating organically for many years remain unmoved. The scientific evidence of the dangers of pesticides and other chemicals used in growing and processing non-organic foods is too great to ignore.
One simple question cuts to the heart of the matter
Ultimately, to cut through the confusion, we can ask this one question to appeal to reason over the organic food issue: In what instance would it ever be advantageous and beneficial to ingest pesticides? The question is easy for health-minded people to answer, but impossible for conventional food producers to answer honestly.
Clearly, it is never a good idea to eat pesticides, for many sound reasons.
What you don't know about conventional foods can kill you
Conventional foods (those grown using pesticides and other poisonous chemicals and those grown in oft-nutritionally depleted soil) contain a variety of chemicals that are poisonous to the human, plant and animal organism. This main fact is often overlooked in the so-called "studies" comparing organics with non-organics. Instead such studies focus on nutrient content, although not according to any scientific model.
Non-organic food growers use chemical sprays that are neurotoxic (damage the nerves), endocrine disrupting (interfere with hormonal systems), carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and disease causing in various other ways. Not only are pesticides used on non-organic crops, but also employed are herbicides and fungicides.
Endocrine disruptors and cancer
It would be impossible to report all of the ill effects of pesticides, but it bears mentioning at least one example merely to give the reader an idea of the types of poisons people are consuming and that the commercial food industry claim are harmless (and even beneficial) to consumers.
The National Institutes of Health report, "Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) are compounds that alter the normal functioning of the endocrine system of both wildlife and humans. A huge number of chemicals have been identified as endocrine disruptors, among them several pesticides... [A]n increasing number of epidemiological studies tend to link environmental exposure to pesticides and hormone-dependent cancer risks. High levels of PCBs [polychlorinated biphenyls], DDE [dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene], and DDT [dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane] have been found in fat samples from women with breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer is said to be four times greater in women with increased blood levels of DDE. One of the latest epidemiological studies performed in Spain between 1999 and 2009 shows that among a total of 2,661 cases of breast cancer reported in the female population, 2,173 (81%) were observed in areas of high pesticide contamination. Moreover, it was also suggested that women with hormone responsive breast cancer have a higher DDE body burden than women with benign breast disease."1
There are hundreds of scientific references to the deleterious effects of pesticides, yet all are ignored in Big Agra's argument that crops sprayed with them are equal in health value to those that are not.
What's in the food you're feeding your family?
University of Florida researchers report, "U.S. pesticide amount used in 2006 and 2007 exceeded 600 million pounds both years ... The largest portion of U.S. agricultural pesticides used each year was herbicides, followed by nematicides and fumigants, insecticides and miticides, fungicides, and other pesticides."2
The annual application of synthetic pesticides to food crops in the EU [European Union] exceeds 140,000 tons, an amount that corresponds to 280 grams per EU citizen per year.3
The EPA reports, "Approximately 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States."4 If you read the labels on the bottles and cans of pesticides you will see explicit warnings not to consume the stuff. Odd that they don't put the same warnings on your bananas, strawberries and grapes.
Money talks, health walks
While it is no secret that bug sprays are bad for our health, we have to consider the political power (and motives) of food giants who are able to bypass all logic and provision for the protection of public health and market their products despite the realities of health risk. There are many examples of politics trumping public health, including the introduction of aspartame into the market despite scientific proof that aspartame was a known neurotoxin and carcinogen prior to the green light given to the product by the FDA. Now we are seeing the same situation with genetically engineered food, already known to pose health risks, with Monsanto still forging ahead with its plan to bring these Frankenfoods to your dinner plate despite many scientific findings that these foods pose a health threat.
The only threat that organic food poses is economic. And it's Big Agra and the commercial food industry that feels threatened. Organic food is a thorn in Monsanto's side. So what better way for the corporation compete than brushing off their well-worn manual on slander and deceit? Plus, there's a chapter in the manual about deception that is valuable to nefarious corporations — merely marry into major universities and influence them to publish reports that make people question the integrity of organic foods. In the world of capitalism, anything goes.
Censorship by omission
Omitting facts about the dangers of pesticides is a tactic used to keep people from discovering the truth about poisons in their foods. The focus of the anti-organic reports is on nutrient value, while omitting the truth about known toxicity, cumulative effects of consuming poisons on a continuous basis and from a variety of sources, the interaction of poisons with other poisons in our bodies, the horrific impact of synthetic chemicals on the environment (including soil depletion and dead zones), and other factors of great importance to the perpetuation of good health. Even claims about nutrient content are skewed and untrue.
Banking on public ignorance and laziness
Lying and deceit are nothing new, but what makes such practices succeed is ignorance and laziness on the part of consumers. If you want to know whether pesticides are good or bad for you, all you have to do is a little searching online. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of scientific articles showing the poisonous effects of these chemicals. Or you can be lazy and merely accept the propaganda of Dow, Monsanto and their peers. You can believe university studies that are sponsored and/or influenced by the giant food growers or you can find independent sources of truth and good science.
And then there's common sense. If you were to seat a group of average Americans at a counter with two salads in front of them, and pour pesticides over one of the salads as they watched, how many would you guess would want to eat the one without the pesticides? Is this a rhetorical question? Not really. We've done the same test with participants in our seminars, but with grapes. We've taken a bunch of grapes, held them up for everyone to see and then doused them with a can of Raid (which was really just water in a bottle that looked like Raid). Then we asked who wanted to eat some of the grapes. The responses were predictable — no one cared to eat them.
It already seems backward and inconceivable that foods should be acceptable for consumption when grown in an environment of toxic pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, but a movement to eradicate organic farming is nothing short of insanity and an assault on the health of every living being (including the planet).
1. Effect of Endocrine Disruptor Pesticides: A Review, Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 June; 8(6): 2265–2303; Published online 2011 June 17.
2. Fishel, Frederick M., Pesticide Use Trends in the U.S.: Agricultural Pesticides, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi176,
3. The use of plant protection products in the European Union. Data 1992–2003. Eurostat statistical books [http:/ / epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/ cache/ ITY_OFFPUB/ KS-76-06-669/ EN/ KS-76-06-669-EN.PDF]
4. The EPA and Food Security, http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/factsheets/securty.htm, January 2012