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24 Nov 2012 - Show Me The Science

A few weeks ago when I devoted this column to asking the question, “Why Do Organic Foods Cost So Much?”, I heard from many of you, especially organic farmers, most of whom stated your reasons very well. You may recall the question came from a single mom in Chicago, who wanted her children to eat organic food, but said she couldn’t afford it.

One of the e-mails I received said, “Mr. Samuelson, again you are showing your bias against organic foods.” No I’m not. I just asked a question and I’m delighted when farmers produce a food they can sell for more money. She then went on to say “I’ll bet you won’t print this in your Samuelson Sez.” So let me share the article from the Huffington Post entitled ‘Food for Thought’ and headlined ‘YES, ORGANIC CAN COST MORE. HERE ARE 10 REASONS WHY IT’S WORTH IT.

  1. Organic farmers get no government subsidies or handouts. Whether you are liberal or conservative, that’s a good thing.
  2. You will automatically become an environmentalist without having to make a donation or show up for a protest. Here’s a short list of things organic farmers help keep totally out of our soil, water, air and bodies: toxic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, sewage sludge, antibiotics and growth hormones.
  3. You will be healthier. You can pay more now or pay later (in health care costs). Agricultural chemicals are known to cause diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, asthma, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, ADHD and perhaps, even autism.
  4. You can feel good about your contribution to a better world.
  5. You are supporting families and businesses that are making the world better.
  6. You will be helping to prevent climate change. Organic soil holds much more carbon, uses much less fossil fuel resources.
  7. You will be helping to prevent droughts and floods.
  8. You will be doing your part to leave the world a better place than you found it.”
  9. Karma Points. When you pay more for good things, other people can afford to pay you more.
  10. And lastly, it tastes better.

So now I have printed most of the article and here’s my question...Where’s the science? It’s great to make those “feel good” statements that are based primarily on emotion, but as a journalist, I need facts based on science. I’m especially troubled by Points 2, 3, 6, & 7. I’ve seen no research to back those claims and stating “perhaps, even causing autism” is something I could never do in a story without thorough medical research. And I have no idea how eating organic foods can prevent drought and floods.Show me the science, then I will believe you.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.