Friday April 18, 2014

question of the week

Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.

Column a disservice to consumers



Paul Martiquet’s column “Is organic better for you?” (Coast Reporter, Oct. 26) is bold in the conclusion reached: “There is no evidence of meaningful nutritious benefits from an organic diet, and there are no good studies showing disease protection from one.”     

Martiquet asks: “Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?” This report interprets studies, ranging from two days to two years, using a statistical technique called meta-analysis. An editorial in Los Angeles Times stated, “Stanford’s research showing that organic produce probably isn’t any more nutritious than the conventional is mostly remarkable for what it omitted.”

Was this Stanford University study issued for the sake of a political agenda? California’s upcoming Proposition 37 will require labelling of genetically engineered or modified food. It would also prohibit marketing such food as ‘natural’. Was the study part of the pesticide industry’s anti-Prop 37 campaign? 

The pesticide industry has an agenda.

“The big six chemical and seed companies are working diligently to monopolize the food system at the expense of consumers, farmers and smaller seed companies,” said Philip H. Howard, an associate professor at Michigan State University. 

According to Martiquet’s column, consumers in the U.S. voted with their wallets, spending $27 billion on organic products — telling industrial food producers they are fed up with slimy bacon, chickens being fed arsenic to enhance growth and industrial salmon being fed chicken manure.  

The University of Texas study, “Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops 1950 to 1959,” relies on long-term data and would be a better source for a future column. 

Dr. Martiquet’s column does a disservice to consumers, small farmers, local farm markets and seed companies that promote heirloom seeds and attempt to stay out of the dominant grasp of the industrial food producers of the world.

Rob Corlett, Gibsons



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