The organic food industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry and organic foods are the fastest growing segment of the food industry. The organic food movement is based – in part – on the concept that in the past when America was a more agrarian society the people were healthy and the food was more nutritious because our soils were better and filled with the nutrients necessary to produce great foods. As the story goes, this situated existed because food was produced without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
The Truth About Organic Foods (Volume 1, Series 1)
Alex Avery states quite clearly that this myth is demonstrably false and he does so with reams of data and peer-reviewed studies, but doesn’t rely on technical jargon to make his case. Avery is the director of research and education at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues (CGFI), and describes the CGFI as not being “anti-organic” but “pro-human,” and states that his group is “the world’s best informed non-believers in the organic religion.”
Avery isn’t trying to make the case that organic food is bad or that it should be banned. “The Truth About Organic Foods” points out the myths and misconceptions that exist regarding organic foods – many of which have been propagated by the organic industry. As Dr. Ruth Kava, the Director of Nutrition at the American Council on Science and Health write in the Foreword, Avery, “just may make you think twice before spending more to buy foods that are really no better than conventional ones. Hook: Very simply, organic food is no better than conventional food and that organic equals healthier is a myth. Gimmick: If disseminating peer-reviewed research and digging deep into details of these studies is a gimmick, than Avery is a Gimmick Maven. Inconsistency: None that I can find.
Avery promises to make a compelling, fact-based case for his position that organic a marketing tool and organic foods are no better than food that’s conventionally produced. He delivers on this his opinions do not infringe upon the data. Glaring Omission: Can’t find one. After reading 231 pages you’ll get a complete picture of the organic versus conventional foods argument. Annoying Feature: If you’re a pro-organic foodie (or is it, “fooder?”) this book is 231 pages of annoyingness. Most Outrageous Claim: I hate to keep invoking the length of the book, but the case can be made that there’s an outrageous claim on almost every page in this book. And depending on your feelings on this issue, “outrageous” can be a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t like to give away a lot of information, but I will leave you a couple of Avery’s Most Outrageous Claims.
- Only 40% of today’s population could be fed via organic farming. Do the math…
- “Biodynamic” or “Demeter” farming and products are based on the premise that invisible cosmic forces make them superior to traditional products.
- Lady Eve Balfour, a British pioneer in the organic movement, stated at a meeting of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM, the main international organic lobby), that after 30 years of research she found no nutritional differences between organic and non-organic foods.
- Organic proponents that claim nutritional content of food has declined due to the advent of synthetic fertilizers are engaged in, “revisionist history that is simply amazing in its audacity.”
- “The notion that organic food is more nutritious or healthful than ‘conventional’ foods is the oldest organic myth.
- Organic farming is not pesticide-free and organic farmers use organic pesticides that are just as toxic, if not more toxic, than synthetics.
- Conventional milk in the United States is 100% free of artificial hormones and 99.999% free of antibiotics and people are paying twice as much for organic milk that is identical to the conventional variety.
Say Something Nice: Buy this book. Read this book. Now! Bottom Line: Anyone who is even remotely curious about whether or not organic food lives up to the hype and is worth the extra money must read this book. True-believers will never be swayed, and Avery is not trying to convert the choir. Don’t listen to me; I’ll leave you with the words of Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Distinguished Professor of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. Professor Borlaug says, “The book offers scientifically sound evidence that the more affordable conventional foods are healthy for families and also good stewardship of nature.” The Truth About Organic Foods (Volume 1, Series 1)