American Elephants


The Organic Food Zealots Are Wrong, And So Is Your Grocery Store! by The Elephant's Child

4886682532_b29722fd6b_bI have been pondering the many ways we are confused by fads, hype, advertising and lies. The Chipotle restaurant chain has been much in the news for a rash of very bad e-coli cases. Chipotle, the once-popular fast food Mexican restaurant chain  fell in line with a pop-culture idea for their advertising. “We source from farms rather than factories,””we’re working to cultivate a better world,” which they aimed to do by favoring local foods and organic food and all things natural.

Partly, it’s the Greens distaste for oil, petroleum in all its forms. Why? It’s black and smells industrial, and they have a passion for things “natural.” Nitrogen fertilizer makes things grow better. Common agricultural fertilizers are made from petroleum, which immediately falls into the ‘Eeew’ category for those who are intolerant of modern corporations and industry. Natural fertilizers come from cow or chicken manure, and organic produce is not pesticide free. Instead it is grown with more primitive pesticides that can be significantly more hazardous to humans and to the environment.

Contrary to popular opinion, organic foods are not superior in any way to ordinary food at the grocery store. The label is a bit of a scam, for it refers only to how the food is produced and requires growers to use “natural” manure and “natural ” pesticides, but the FDA has concluded that organic food is four to eight times more likely to be recalled over safety concerns than conventionally grown products. Organic foods also exclude the benefits of genetically improved techniques that, for example, reduce the population of insects that allow toxic molds to infest corn. Dr. Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is a research fellow at Stanford  University’s Hoover Institution writes:

Chipotle rejects modern synthetic fertilizers in favor of suppliers who use manure on their crops. This approach may be “all natural” and “organic” and make some customers feel warm and fuzzy, but it should not come as a surprise that applying stool, feces and excrement to growing fruits and vegetables significantly raises the risk of spreading disease.

“Food poisoning,”he adds, “is a serious business. Four years ago, 53 died and 3,950 were sickened from an E. coli outbreak in Germany caused by organic bean sprouts.

ADDENDUM: The term “organic” is popping up in peculiar places where being grown with manure is not really a particular additional recommendation. A current radio commercial advertises sheets and pillowcases made from “organic” cotton. The fact that the cotton was fertilized with manure does nothing for the quality of the cotton. I once bought some “organic” lotion ( which was silly), but it came in lemon verbena, and I love lemon verbena.  Watch out for “natural” too.


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One also has to wonder how much ‘organic’ food really is coming from Mexico – which Whole Foods sales as overprized products.
Trader Joe’s no longer uses organic products coming from south of the border unless the product is ‘hard shelled/peeled’.

One of my sons who manages a volume Trader Joe’s has discouraged me from buying organic products from Mexico such as ‘salads, spinach, tomatoes etc’ telling me that these food items – despite being labeled organic – are washed with sewer water before being shipped.

Chipotle does indeed import much of their food items from south of the border due to low prices. It’s not worse the trade-off!

Comment by cali




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