Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The NYT and OCA Scream for Organic Ice Cream

There recently was a piece in the NYT discussing the finding of trace amounts of glyphosate in Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

A nod was given to IARC's finding of glyphosate as 'probably carcinogenic'  despite the fact that data critical to the decision was withheld, and admissions that had the data been included, the classification would not have been upheld. 

From the NYT:

"a 75-pound child would have to consume 145,000 eight-ounce servings a day of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream to hit the limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency, the government body charged with setting a ceiling on the amount of glyphosate allowed in food. An adult would have to eat 290,000 servings to hit the agency’s cutoff." 

So really this is a non-issue and does not merit a story worthy of any major news outlet. The real story seems to be how the Organic Consumer's Association is using this venue to pressure companies to pursue organic certification. It reveals just how powerful this lobby can be. I've speculated in the past that one reason that there was so much lobbying in favor of GMO labeling initiatives was because groups like the OCA view biotechnology (and associated reduced emissions, soil conservation, reduced pollution/runoff, and reductions in use of toxic herbicides and pesticides) as a competitor to organic production. In reality its more likely the case that they are banking on using theatre and fear to drive more sales vs. any real belief that modern technological advances offer real choices in sustainable food to compete with their 'brand.'

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