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Old 03-19-2014, 11:24 AM   #21
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Due to a reaction to a certain class of antibiotics used in people and animals I buy "anti-biotic free" or organic meat. I'm probably Ok with regular eggs, cheeses and milk but will pay more for organic because I don't need another inadvertent exposure.

As far as fruit, vegs, grain products I see no real need to buy organic. And if it weren't for the antibiotic problem I wouldn't buy organic or anti-biotic free meats either.
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:23 PM   #22
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A lot of young parents and parents-to-be are taking great pains to eat and serve pesticide and hormone free to their families (yeah yeah I know, everything contains everything everywhere but maybe limiting additional chemicals could be a good thing. A google search on pediatricians and organic yields some thought provoking hits, like this one http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...utism/5494649/). I would do the same if I were starting a family. I would just pay for the extra costs with all the money we would save in not buying fancy audio or photo equipment.
+1

The preference for organic is not about taste or nutritional value, it is based on the belief or assumption that pesticides will accumulate in the human body and over time can cause harm, especially to the very young.

Organic has been the default in our home since we moved back to the US, and DD did the same as soon as she became a mom.
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:51 PM   #23
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+1

The preference for organic is not about taste or nutritional value, it is based on the belief or assumption that pesticides will accumulate in the human body and over time can cause harm, especially to the very young.

Organic has been the default in our home since we moved back to the US, and DD did the same as soon as she became a mom.
Pretty much here too. We don't want the pesticides and the additives. It is not an issue of price, nor of taste (although often it does taste better). There are lots of problems with with US and global food chain, and we try to avoid the worst of it. We don't eat at fast food restaurants either, or eat crappy food in general. Life is too short and precious.
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:29 PM   #24
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I am far more concerned about how limited our food choices are than if it is organic. In breeding various fruits and veggies that transport and store well, we have lost certain things like flavor and nutrients, IMHO. Where does one buy purple carrots for example? (Yes, carrots used to be purplish!)
If you want to grow them yourself there are many seed companies that sell purple, red and yellow carrots.
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:47 PM   #25
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If we eat "organic" foods, we will be ingesting hundreds of pesticides and other chemicals. If we eat "regular" food, we will be ingesting hundreds of pesticides and other chemicals.

From this paper:
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In a recent letter to Science (244:755- 7, May 19, 1989), Ames points out that we ingest about 10,000 times more natural pesticides, by weight, than synthetic pesticides. Of the 42 plant toxins so far tested on laboratory animals, 20 have been shown to be carcinogens, Ames notes. Among the foods containing natural pesticides that cause cancer in rats or mice, he says, are: anise, apples, bananas, basil, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa, grapefruit juice, honey�dew melon, horseradish, kale, mushrooms, mustard, nutmeg, orange juice, parsley, parsnips, peaches, pineapples, radishes, tarragon, and turnips. Ames has also developed an index that ranks the relative hazards of human exposure to known natural and synthetic carcinogens. The index expresses the human potency of a carcinogen as a percentage of its potency to laboratory rats and mice. On this relative index, the hazard from Alar in a daily lifetime glass of apple juice is 0.0017%. In comparison, the possible hazard from natural hydrazines in one daily mushroom is 0.1%, and that from aflatoxin in a daily peanut butter sandwich is 0.03%.
The world is full of chemicals. Expensive "organic" foods have just a couple fewer--the ones we happen to understand the best.
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:51 PM   #26
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.. In breeding various fruits and veggies that transport and store well, we have lost certain things like flavor and nutrients, IMHO. Where does one buy purple carrots for example? (Yes, carrots used to be purplish!) ...
I don't think nutrition is different (at least the studies I've seen), but no doubt that breeding for uniformity, appearance, and shipping has pushed flavor to the back seat. Having a crop ripen at one time is important to limit the number of trips through the field to harvest the crop.

DW bought some purple carrots at a local farmer's market this past summer. It was just the outer layer that was purple, so once you peel them, they seemed no different.


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Originally Posted by razztazz View Post
Due to a reaction to a certain class of antibiotics used in people and animals I buy "anti-biotic free" or organic meat. ...
I do have some concerns over the use of antibiotics - I fear we are breeding super-bugs that will be resistant to everything. And mono-culture is risky.

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+1

The preference for organic is not about taste or nutritional value, it is based on the belief or assumption that pesticides will accumulate in the human body and over time can cause harm, especially to the very young.

Organic has been the default in our home since we moved back to the US, and DD did the same as soon as she became a mom.
I guess I don't have any big fears over the idea that trace amounts of pesticides are going to build up over time. The trend has been for products that break down pretty quickly.

Some may prefer to avoid them to be on the safe side, and maybe that makes them smarter than me. But I do shake my head when I hear of someone who makes a weekly, special 50 mile trip to buy from some organic farmer for their 'health' I think the risk of a car accident is far higher than the risk of pesticides. The cases where farm workers, who have the major exposure to these pesticides, had issues are pretty rare, and changes were made when those problems were detected. I'll take my chances, but it's a personal decision.

edit/add: (cross-posted with samclem!)As was discussed in one of those other threads, veggies have all sorts of 'natural' toxins to ward off insects, many of which are suspected carcinogens. I think Ames said something to the effect that there is more carcinogenic material in a single organic apple, than there is added carcinogenic material in a truckload of commercially grown apples. Just not something I can get worked up about.

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Old 03-19-2014, 05:59 PM   #27
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As long as the thread is still alive... ummm... I saw some interesting info on the health part, but what about questions 1 thru 4

Quote:
Seemingly simple questions:

1 Where do they come from?
2 What standards exist to differentiate organic foods? Who enforces? NOP budget under 5million.
3 How has production changed to fill the rapid growth?
4 Why the large price differential?
Any studies to prove better health results?

I look, but don't find good answers.
Understand why many will opt for organic...and given the thought of protecting a young family, might do the same, but with the huge increase in availability, not sure why the large price differential, and ... with a three year requirement to keep growing land pesticide free... did farmers let their land lie fallow for those three years? Did the giant food companies stop growing for that period?
...and, who and how are the laws enforced? Have any growers been fined or convicted of breaking the laws? Is ANYONE actually checking the produce for the bad stuff?

Do you know of any large farms that grow organics? If they don't use pesticides, aren't their costs lower? Sure, hand picking, maybe, but that would be the same with non organics, if appearance was important.

I have a little problem believing that our super markets are being supplied by mom and pop farms of an acre or so.

And... is the organic produce that comes from Mexico, or Brazil, or Venezeula checked at the border? Do we have USDA inspectors in China checking farm shellfish?

Am still looking for these answers, but so far, it looks like a matter of "trust us... it's organic".
Truth be told, I don't really give a tinkers dam, but I'd bet a bottle of Jack Daniels that there will be some kind of "blow up" scandal within a year or so.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:13 PM   #28
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If you want to grow them yourself there are many seed companies that sell purple, red and yellow carrots.
Yes, they're great. You can also get heirloom fruits, vegetables, unbelievable things you won't find in stores.

You can get chickens that lay green, blue, gold eggs. They taste great too.

I miss growing my own food. Maybe I need to do it where I live now.

We used to throw , on our garden. I guess that's organic.
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:01 PM   #29
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...
I have a little problem believing that our super markets are being supplied by mom and pop farms of an acre or so.

And... is the organic produce that comes from Mexico, or Brazil, or Venezeula checked at the border? Do we have USDA inspectors in China checking farm shellfish? ...
Reading the above, I recalled reading an RV'er blogger who observed an organic farm down in Mexico spraying its crop with "something". So, I searched the Web with the following key words "rv blog mexico organic spraying" in hope of finding that blog again.

Instead, I found the following Web page which was more interesting: Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture | Science Sushi, Scientific American Blog Network.

Some excerpts:
Myth #1: Organic Farms Don’t Use Pesticides

... there are over 20 chemicals commonly used in the growing and processing of organic crops that are approved by the US Organic Standards. And, shockingly, the actual volume usage of pesticides on organic farms is not recorded by the government. Why the government isn’t keeping watch on organic pesticide and fungicide use is a damn good question, especially considering that many organic pesticides that are also used by conventional farmers are used more intensively than synthetic ones due to their lower levels of effectiveness...

What makes organic farming different, then? It’s not the use of pesticides, it’s the origin of the pesticides used. Organic pesticides are those that are derived from natural sources and processed lightly if at all before use. This is different than the current pesticides used by conventional agriculture, which are generally synthetic...

Between 1990 and 2001, over 10,000 people fell ill due to foods contaminated with pathogens like E. coli, and many have organic foods to blame. That’s because organic foods tend to have higher levels of potential pathogens. One study, for example, found E. coli in produce from almost 10% of organic farms samples, but only 2% of conventional ones. The same study also found Salmonella only in samples from organic farms, though at a low prevalence rate. The reason for the higher pathogen prevalence is likely due to the use of manure instead of artificial fertilizers, as many pathogens are spread through fecal contamination.
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:26 PM   #30
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As long as the thread is still alive... ummm... I saw some interesting info on the health part, but what about questions 1 thru 4

Quote:
Seemingly simple questions:

1 Where do they come from?
2 What standards exist to differentiate organic foods? Who enforces? NOP budget under 5million.
3 How has production changed to fill the rapid growth?
4 Why the large price differential?
Any studies to prove better health results?

I look, but don't find good answers.
... but with the huge increase in availability, not sure why the large price differential, ... If they don't use pesticides, aren't their costs lower?

... Is ANYONE actually checking the produce for the bad stuff?


... Do we have USDA inspectors in China checking farm shellfish?

Am still looking for these answers, but so far, it looks like a matter of "trust us... it's organic". ...
I think I can answer some of this.

Places like Costco and Walmart are not dealing with small mom & pop 1 acre plot suppliers, this is 'organic certified' on a mega-scale. That alone doesn't make it good or bad, but that is what it takes.

I'm not sure about standards and how they are enforced, but I know the FDA has set standards for this. Enforcement, local and imported? I don't know.

As far as cost - if they don't use pesticides, they need alternatives. Those alternatives can be more costly, less effective, and consume more resources. So the 'goodness' of organics is questionable. Here's one scenario I've read about, to grow a crop w/o herbicides they:

1) Work the field (using tractors gulping diesel, and eroding the soil),

2) Water it to sprout the weed seeds (using pumps gulping diesel, wasting water, and eroding the soil),

3) Wait for the weed seeds to sprout ( the land is not productive during this time).

4) Till the soil again to kill the weeds (using tractors gulping diesel, and eroding the soil),

5) Finally, plant the crop.

Now, since they had to wait a few weeks for the seeds to sprout, they need to plant additional acres to make up for that loss. Which means more acres tilled, watered, and tilled again.

So it can definitely be more expensive to not use pesticides. And if you think about it, farmers are not stupid, so if not using pesticides was more cost effective, they'd do it regardless of 'organic', right?

-ERD50
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:32 PM   #31
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Thank you for finding that.

Reading the entire post is very enlightening, and did answer my questions.
I doubt that it would convince anyone who has already made a judgement, but I found it to be a scholarly work. The statistics are very surprising.
The part that amazed me was that organic pesticides are ok to use, but that they are more harmful than the non organic ones.

Now, I'll go to two to one on the Jack Daniels.
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Old 03-20-2014, 03:31 AM   #32
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I've been shopping mostly at Natural Grocers lately and buying organic vegetables from their nice selection of fresh produce. I also started drinking milk again after trying organic milk. The taste is so much better.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:22 AM   #33
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This thread is useless, folks that believe in organic are not going to throw their veggies away and buy conventional produce. Its like staying at the ritz or motel 6, I have a preference for organic over conventional, just like I have a preference for veggies over dead animals. Bacon ice cream you can have it, give me broccoli, which I usually eat conventional. If I want to spend extra money on organic instead of cable TV or the latest i-something, so be it.
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:18 AM   #34
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This thread is useless, folks that believe in organic are not going to throw their veggies away and buy conventional produce. Its like staying at the ritz or motel 6, I have a preference for organic over conventional, just like I have a preference for veggies over dead animals. Bacon ice cream you can have it, give me broccoli, which I usually eat conventional. If I want to spend extra money on organic instead of cable TV or the latest i-something, so be it.
I disagree on several levels.

1) I have had my mind changed by info presented in these very forums. Even things I 'believed in'. So it happens.

2) Why wouldn't I want more info on some decision I have made? It may not change my mind, and it may even reinforce my decision. Isn't more info good?

3) No one that I see is insisting that anyone change. But it is only rational to want to know what is behind a decision.

4) Maybe someone will learn something - is that 'useless'?

I guess we should not present any information to all those people that are 'happy' with their Ameriprise agent because they think they are doing 'pretty good'? No one will change their mind? Not true.

So now I'm curious - why do you prefer 'organic'?

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Old 03-20-2014, 12:47 PM   #35
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From what I have just found out as reported in the earlier post, the truly organic food is what I grow in my backyard. Too bad that it is only a small percentage of our consumption.

I use steer manure mainly as a soil amendment, but it does have fertilizing quality and I supplement that with just a little inorganic fertilizer. I till this into the soil in spring, let it rest for a while before planting, and add no more during the rest of the year. So, no worry about contamination. We always wash and inspect our produce very carefully anyway.

We are lucky to have little problems with pests, and do not use any insecticide. Some years past, we have had problems with aphids, but not in recent years. Not sure what changed.

Anyway, the home grown stuff is done mainly as a pastime, and only supplies a small portion of what we eat. Still, it is fun and we often have so much collard green to give to all relatives.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:18 PM   #36
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I disagree on several levels.

1) I have had my mind changed by info presented in these very forums. Even things I 'believed in'. So it happens.

2) Why wouldn't I want more info on some decision I have made? It may not change my mind, and it may even reinforce my decision. Isn't more info good?

3) No one that I see is insisting that anyone change. But it is only rational to want to know what is behind a decision.

4) Maybe someone will learn something - is that 'useless'?

I guess we should not present any information to all those people that are 'happy' with their Ameriprise agent because they think they are doing 'pretty good'? No one will change their mind? Not true. Religion/politics

So now I'm curious - why do you prefer 'organic'?

-ERD50
Why do I drink clean water, why do I want to breath clean air. I prefer organic foods for the same reasons. Can I show proof of a supreme being, no people have thoughts and beliefs, that science can't substantiate. I believe that organic foods are better for my health, and the health of our planet.


My food preference is
1) foods that are not grown with chemical pesticides, lady beetles are OK.
2) plants that are not Genetically Modified, no fish genes in my tomatoes.
3) foods that are not irradiated, I don't want to glow in the dark
4) foods grown with natural fertilizers. I know nitrogen is nitrogen, and can't a plant can not tell the difference, this is only a preference.
5) foods grown without animal fertilizer, you asked.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:36 PM   #37
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I'm one of those people who chooses to buy as much organic as possible.

I grow quite a bit of my own food; in my home garden at in a demonstration garden where I work using organic practices in both gardens. I also belong to a CSA to supplement what I grow though I might cancel that when the season ends in November. I can buy the food cheaper at the different year around organic farmers markets. I wanted to try it though and am very happy with their produce. The same Farm adviser I work with at the demo garden teaches classes at the CSA so I know what their practices are based on his input.

In the demonstration garden we have been approved to use 3 different pesticides by the County farm adviser, but we choose to not use them if at all possible. They are insecticidal soap, BT (bacillus thuringiensis) and Sluggo (iron phosphate). We kill aphids by spraying with water, which will be challenging this year with the drought in CA. We hand pick other pests which would be too labor intensive and costly for a garden that is trying to make money.

The price of the food I buy is more than non organics but worth it to me. I have many allergies and even choke up walking near the laundry soap aisle in stores. I feel that the companies that grow or process our food sources have tried to make as much money as possible to keep their stockholders happy at the detriment of those eating or using their products.

PS..NW-bound.. chicken manure has a higher nitrogen content than steer manure and vegetables are huge nitrogen suckers. You might try it and compare your results.
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Old 03-20-2014, 02:15 PM   #38
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Why do I drink clean water, why do I want to breath clean air. I prefer organic foods for the same reasons. Can I show proof of a supreme being, no people have thoughts and beliefs, that science can't substantiate. I believe that organic foods are better for my health, and the health of our planet.


My food preference is
1) foods that are not grown with chemical pesticides, lady beetles are OK.
2) plants that are not Genetically Modified, no fish genes in my tomatoes.
3) foods that are not irradiated, I don't want to glow in the dark
4) foods grown with natural fertilizers. I know nitrogen is nitrogen, and can't a plant can not tell the difference, this is only a preference.
5) foods grown without animal fertilizer, you asked.
OK, and it is my preference to use science where we can apply it. And from a scientific standpoint, I can't understand your #1-#4. I can understand issues with #5, but it is how nature does it.

I guess it's just puzzling to me that someone can have a really strong belief, but also not want to or be able to explain the basis for that belief. No, they don't need to explain it or justify it to anyone, but I wonder why they even mention it then. I guess I still have an inner child in me that has to ask "Why?".

#1 has been covered in some of the previous links - 'organic' does not preclude the use of pesticides (I knew this), and those 'organic' pesticides might be more dangerous and in higher levels than the commercial versions (something I just learned from those links). For #2-#4, I'll just leave it as I don't understand the concern, or why someone would prefer/avoid them.

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Old 03-20-2014, 02:31 PM   #39
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I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the environmental impacts of pesticides.

We choose pesticide-free food (which does not always meet organic certifications) whenever possible for four main reasons:

1. The precautionary principle. We have about two generation's worth of information on the impacts of synthetic pesticides on people and the environment. In the big scheme of things, that's not very much. We really don't know how the cocktail of hormones and pesticides that are in our food affect us. It might take another couple of generations -- or more -- to find out. I have small children and would like to give them the lowest body burden of pesticides that I can.

2. Environmental impacts. Pesticides have a substantial impact on the environment to which they are applied. All farming has a substantial impact, but we'd like to lessen it if we can.

3. Social and occupational health issues. I was a certified pest control operator for a few years as part of my job working for the county. The risks of pesticide exposure to farmworkers and others are real, and the risks to their families are higher and real as well. Growers who use fewer pesticides ask their workers to take fewer risks in this area. We support that, as we support all safer labor practices.

4. We want to support the market. Because organic / pesticide-free growing practices are something we think is a good idea, we buy those foods so that a market for them exists. We believe in capitalism, and if we want the supply to expand, we have to expand the demand as well.


We have found that the impact to our family food budget is not substantial. I can buy conventional and organic lettuce (both grown locally here) for the same price at our local markets. Ditto for strawberries, bananas, oranges, carrots, etc. Organic and conventional dairy products are within a dollar's cost of each other at our local Trader Joe's, and the organic frozen veggies there are the same price as the conventional ones at Von's or Albertson's. I can get organic flour and other dry goods for about the price of conventional if I shop at our local co-op's bulk bins. Organic eggs are a little more expensive, and organic meats are pretty high up there in cost. We buy organic eggs but only buy organic ground beef at Costco. Other meats we buy conventional.


Local food is less of an issue for us. We live in California. Just about everything that can be got, we can get "local." The quality of our produce is fantastic, year-round, whether or not it is organic.

We also maintain our yard and garden organically, and always have. It's not terribly difficult to do, and I never ever worry about what the kids are going to track in or roll in or lie in or play in. That is worth it to me.
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Old 03-20-2014, 02:39 PM   #40
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OK, and it is my preference to use science where we can apply it. And from a scientific standpoint, I can't understand your #1-#4. I can understand issues with #5, but it is how nature does it.

I guess it's just puzzling to me that someone can have a really strong belief, but also not want to or be able to explain the basis for that belief.
I don't take sides, and I certainly don't speak for others here. But, I think part of the reason people don't have or value a 'scientific' reason is mistrust of the political and economic establishment that the science information is often filtered through. For example, like many of us I spent decades staying away from butter, eggs, cheese, red meats, and eating high-transfat margarine. I put margarine on toast made with highly processed pulverized flours. Often I added a couple of tablespoons of low-fat fruit spread that was high in added sugars. All of this, I was told was far better than eating eggs (high cholesterol!) and sausage (high saturated fat).
Today, we find that information was probably wrong and that the food pyramid that told us to eat that way was heavily influenced by politics and economics.

That said, I try very hard to be objective as possible. In other words: Trust but verify.

Some backup for why I am suspicious:

A Fatally Flawed Food Guide by Luise Light, Ed.D

Quote:
Back in the early 80s, I was the leader of a group of top-level nutritionists with the USDA who developed the eating guide that became known as the Food Guide Pyramid.
Carefully reviewing the research on nutrient recommendations, disease prevention, documented dietary shortfalls and major health problems of the population, we submitted the final version of our new Food Guide to the Secretary of Agriculture.
When our version of the Food Guide came back to us revised, we were shocked to find that it was vastly different from the one we had developed. As I later discovered, the wholesale changes made to the guide by the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture were calculated to win the acceptance of the food industry. For instance, the Ag Secretarys office altered wording to emphasize processed foods over fresh and whole foods, to downplay lean meats and low-fat dairy choices because the meat and milk lobbies believed itd hurt sales of full-fat products; it also hugely increased the servings of wheat and other grains to make the wheat growers happy.
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