Letters to the Editor

Letter: Organic food facts

The Sept. 4 Associated Press article “Health value of organic food is questioned,” left unsaid a number of facts.

As the BBC points out in a similar article, the epidemiological methods used in the Stanford study promote noise in the data, swamping out differences. A British review that focused on nutrient differences did find significance.

Some people buy organic to avoid cancer. Organic produce consistently tests lower in chemical residues.

Some people buy organic to promote the environment. The soils of well-run organic farms, rich in humus, absorb carbon dioxide and water, reducing global warming gases and consumption of water. The run-off from organic farms does not pollute the water supply with nitrates, such as in the Salinas Valley.

Farmworkers (remember them?) are seriously impacted by pesticides. Organic produce is healthier for farmworkers.

The data depend on the honesty of organic farmers. Increasing evidence shows cheating in the industry — as evidenced by Lois Capps’ highly appropriate bill to put penalties behind federal organic law.

The USDA research budget consistently underfunds organic research. The federal government seems more sensitive to the health of large industry than to the public health.