E. Coli Outbreak Proves Organic Food Isn't Risk-Free
Organic Food Safety and E. coli
The recent e. coli outbreak thought to be tied to organic spinach farms in California should serve to remind Americans that organic food is not necessarily safer food.
While there is nothing wrong with buying organic, consumers need to know that many of the herbicides and pesticides safely used by conventional farms to treat foods were developed to improve not only crop yields, but also the safety of the American food supply.
While few organic farmers participate in dishonest advertising, their trade groups and cooperative markets routinely support marketing campaigns that lead many in the public to believe organic food is healthier and safer than conventional foods. But no scientific study has ever supported such claims. To the contrary, there is some evidence to support the position that conventionally grown food yields lower e. coli counts than organic crops. The discovery of e. coli in organic spinach offers a significant data point in support of this conclusion.
It is not my intention to damn organic foods, but rather to remind consumers that they have choices to make ... and there are trade-offs associated with those choices.
All advances in production procedures for the conventional production of our food supplies have been made almost solely with the health of society in mind. Every fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide that has helped to protect our food while increasing our yields and lowering our costs has been developed under the strict oversight of the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Agriculture. The effect of these developments on Americans' health has been overwhelmingly positive.
Given decades of attacks on conventional farming, it is important to remind consumers of its positive contribution to public health.