Joseph Bast | December 8, 2022
My letter to the editor titled “The Truth About Organic Food” appeared in the November 22-29 issue of The Epoch Times. I was commenting on an opinion piece by Kelly Walker titled “Can Organic Farming Feed the World?”
Kelly Walker’s essay in the Nov. 10-15 issue of The Epoch Times, titled “Can Organic Farming Feed the World?” was well researched and balanced. In fact, it was the best article I’ve read on the subject in many years.
There are many articles touting the benefits of “organic” food and warning about the presence of possible toxins in our diets. I’ve studied both topics over the years and know there is a small amount of truth to these claims. However, while some people believe organic food tastes better than food from commercial farms,there is no evidence that organic food is more nutritious. Most food labeled as being “organic” probably isn’t; it isn’t tested to detect the presence of pesticides or artificial fertilizers, and much of it even comes from China!
The health risks of exposure to man-made chemicals in the air, water, or in food is greatly exaggerated. Our ability to detect tiny amounts of chemicals in food or in human tissue has improved dramatically in recent decades, allowing us to measure their presence in parts per billion and even trillion. But proof of exposure is not proof of harm and correlation is not causation. The dose makes the poison. We are constantly exposed to far greater levels of potentially harmful chemicals from natural sources, which our bodies have evolved to manage.
Mr. Walker carefully and accurately dispels some myths about man-made nitrogen fertilizer and its use in agriculture. His is the first article written for a popular audience I have seen that points out “the complexity of the relationship between soils, plants, and the atmosphere makes climate change predictions nearly impossible to substantiate.” Absolutely true. Demanding that farmers use less nitrogen fertilizer in order to “save the climate” is based on junk science.
Mr. Walker’s conclusion is also spot on: “Environmental degradation and contamination come from agricultural mismanagement … and that’s why we need well-trained farmers, not ideologically driven policymakers, to manage the land.” The disaster in Sri Lanka, where environmentalists conspired with government officials to practically destroy the country’s farmers by restricting the use of man-made fertilizers, could happen here in America. Let’s not allow that to happen.