In Defense of Organic Farming

LESS THAN A CURE-ALL, MORE THAN A FAD

In September, Stanford University’s Center for Health Policy released a controversial report called Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? The study—a meta-analysis of more than two hundred studies—concludes that there is “little evidence of health benefit from eating organic food.” The researchers found that, according to vitamin and mineral content, organic products were no more nutritious than conventionally grown meats and vegetables.

The media offered a bewildering array of reactions. New York Times opinion columnist Roger Cohen disparaged the organic-food “fad,” calling it an “elitist, pseudoscientific indulgence shot through with hype,” and claiming organic food offered “no obvious health benefits” over cheaper, conventionally produced foods. The Los Angeles Times, on the other hand, published an editorial noting that the study largely ignored the ill effects of pesticides on conventionally grown produce, along with the hormones and antibiotic-resistant bacteria that taint factory-farmed meat and poultry. The study also failed to examine processed foods, the health...

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About the Author

Richard Schiffman writes poetry.