1.RE: AGBIOVIEW'S WORLD OF GAMMON AND SPINACH
2.Biotech boss smears organic in the New York Times
3.The Soil Association's Craig Sams Debunks Dennis Avery on E. coli Risks in Organic Food
1.RE: AGBIOVIEW'S WORLD OF GAMMON AND SPINACH
Following yesterday's post about AgBioView's 'distract and attack' campaign of gammon and spinach, up popped AgBioView's latest GM bulletin. The diet was entirely as before - very little about GM but lashings of spinach, manure and DDT.
Here are yesterday's headlines:
Today in AgBioView from www.agbioworld.org: September 25, 2006
* A chain of weak links on spinach
* E. coli also a concern for home gardeners
* Spinach from Natural Selection Foods
* Fresh leafy greens Are they safe enough?
* Israeli company develops bug-resistant bananas [tissue-cultured not GM]
* Monsanto and Syngenta to expand testing of GM cotton in Burkina Faso
* ITSSD: IP-Based Innovation, Not IP Opportunism, is in Brazil's Best Interests
* DDT's return is a good thing. Really
The third item on the list - a letter in the New York Times from Elliot Entis of Waltham, Massachusetts - says it all.
Entis claims that "the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and its British counterpart have both gathered statistics suggesting that there is a substantially greater likelihood of contracting E. coli-based and similar illnesses from organic produce than from conventionally grown produce." (item 2 below)
This is nonsense:
1.Manure use is a common agricultural practice for both conventional and organic food production, so why the attack on organic?
2.The British statistics referred to here are totally unknown to us and we challenge Entis to produce them.
3.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is on record as disassociating itself from the evidence Entis attempts to lay at its door.
According to Dr. Mitchell Cohen of the CDC, "Since 1982, most of the outbreaks of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 have been associated with foods of bovine origin (e.g. - ground beef). In recent years, a wider spectrum of foods, including produce, have been recognized as causes of outbreaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not conducted any study that compares or quantitates the specific risk for infection with Escherichia coli 0157:H7 and eating either conventionally grown or organic/natural foods. CDC recommends that growers practice safe and hygienic methods for producing food products, and that consumers, likewise, practice food safety within their homes (e.g., thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables). These recommendations apply to both conventionally grown and organic foods."
The claim that CDC evidence shows that organic produce is more likely to harm consumers, stems not from CDC but from Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute, a fervent supporter of biotech, pesticides, irradiation, factory farming and free trade.
Not only has CDC disassociated itself from his claims (as above) but Avery's statistical manipulations on CDC data have been repetaedly debunked - see, for instance, item 3 below.
Even Gregory Conko, the co-founder with Prakash of AgBioWorld, has commented critically on Avery's dubious use of statistics which, Conko says, "doesn't seem to be convincing anybody who doesn't already have a predilection to believe you in the first place."
When the journalist Andy Rowell carefully analysed who was behind the attacks on organic farming, he came to the conclusion it was a loose network of rightwing think-tanks (usually caught up in climate-change denial too), supported by agribiz and biotech corporations (not to mention tobacco firm Philip Morris) and working together with GM supporting scientists, such as CS Prakash and Tony Trewavas who've both been involved in the latest deluge from AgBioView. (ORGANICISED CRIME)
Elliot Entis may also have reasons for advancing these misleading claims in the New York Times. Although he somehow fails to mention it to the Times or its readers, Entis is the President of the Massachusetts based biotech firm, Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc., which for several years has been trying unsuccessfully to bring genetically engineered salmon to market.
2.Biotech boss smears organic in the New York Times ...
To the Editor:
The spinach from Natural Selection Foods that has been implicated in the E. coli outbreak was produced to supply the organic foods industry, whose standards demand the use of supposedly safe natural fertilizers like sterilized cow manure. But the use of that manure - as opposed to the use of presumably less safe manmade fertilizers - could well be the source of the current outbreak.
In fact, from a fertilizing perspective, there are no chemical differences between the two fertilizers, but the sterilized manure has been implicated in far more disease outbreaks than manmade fertilizers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and its British counterpart have both gathered statistics suggesting that there is a substantially greater likelihood of contracting E. coli-based and similar illnesses from organic produce than from conventionally grown produce.
As a consequence, any attempt to ameliorate disease risk from produce must investigate farming practices like those employed by organic farmers.
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