So I learned of the Stanford report in the NY Times claiming organic food is no healthier than conventional, from a friend who forwarded it to me after her father (a doctor) sent it to her. She wanted to know what I thought given my advocacy for children and families eating organic. I didn’t get too worked up but said the study actually says pesticides were found at higher levels than conventional, and acknowledged most people if feeding children would err on the side of caution.
The fact that the nutritional value is the same is not surprising or new. An apple is an apple. There would be the same nutrients and vitamins. However the difference, and I think importance, is the levels of pesticides and chemicals. Thus an apple with pesticide is different than one without. It seems more of a food safety issue than a nutritional one.
I made a sarcastic remark to my friend’s father (not an organic advocate) that trusting the FDA in terms of pesticide safety levels would be like going back to days of the FDA saying smoking wasn’t bad for you and colleges passed them out in dorms (that’s when my mom smoked). Now ironically one of the scientists in the study is being criticized for conducting studies for tobacco companies 35 years ago. Ironic? Coincidence? Also I found it interesting that a day after I read the Stanford study there was a new EPA ban on an apple pesticide, azinphos-methyl (AZM), also known as Guthion. So we are learning and hopefully moving ahead. I wish the study had been about something more current and relevant to the pesticide and GMO issue rather than nutrition. Today there was a good rebuttal in the LA Times about the controversy and where some stand – notable are Marion Nestle and Michael Pollan. The fact that there’s a petition by move.org to discredit the Stanford study seems silly and unjust. The findings are the findings whether you agree or think they should’ve been done differently. I like many of move.org’s petitions, but I’m not signing this one.