Organic

NaturalNews and NaturalSociety have made some startling accusations about the credibility of a recent study conducted by Stanford University suggesting no significant health benefits support eating organic foods instead of foods raised or grown conventionally.

The study, published in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine, received headline attention from publications including the New York Times and the BBC in what critics of the study claim was “an elaborate scientific hoax that sought to destroy the credibility of organic foods.”

Claiming there is evidence that the study was conducted by “known anti-science fraudsters pushing a corporate agenda,” NaturalNews and NaturalSociety’s Mike Adams and Anthony Gucciardi suggest the study’s timing supports efforts to defeat a forthcoming vote on labeling genetically engineered foods in California in November (Proposition 37).

According to Adams and Gucciardi, one of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Ingram Olkin, reportedly has a history of supporting Big Tobacco companies. The two discovered that in the 1970s, Olkin developed an algorithm known as “Dr. Ingram Olkin multivariate Logistic Risk Function” that they claim could bend the truth with statistical models. It was a scientific tool relied upon by big tobacco companies to nullify tobacco industry whistleblowers “and ultimately supported the quack science front to reject any notion that cigarettes might harm human health.”

Fast-forward to 2012, and Adams and Gucciardi say that the deception is being paralleled once again, this time with the assault on organics, which they say is essentially a defense of highly controversial genetically modified organisms, now rampant in our food industry. “Just as Big Tobacco sought to silence the emerging scientific evidence of the dangers of cigarette smoke, the biotech industry today is desperately seeking to silence calls for GMO labeling and honest, chemical-free food.”

In response to the study’s controversy, the New York Times ran a collection of op-eds from experts including author and Paulette Goddard professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, Marion Nestle; author and fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy, Raj Patel; and Tom Philpott, food and agriculture correspondent for Mother Jones and the co-founder of Maverick Farms.

Nestle hits on the most obvious argument: whether or not organic foods contain a significant quantity of vitamins over non-organic options—which was the Stanford study’s most touted discovery—they are noticeably void of harmful contaminants. “If pesticides were all that benign, the government wouldn’t need to regulate them, but it does.”

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: Bob Doran