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WHY CONSUMERS ARE TURNING
TO ORGANIC FOODS

Organic foods are the fastest growing and most profitable segment of American agriculture, according to government statistics. A recent poll by the genetic engineering corporation Novart is found that 54% of USconsumers would prefer to see organic agriculture become the predominant form of food production--as opposed to conventional, chemical-intensive farming or agricultural biotechnology. A June 2000 survey carried out bythe National Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank, indicatedthat 68-69% of the American public believe that the organic label on food products means that they are safer and better for the environment. This isthe main reason why 10 million organic consumers will buy eight billion dollars worth of organic food this year in the US. In Europe trends indicate that 30% of all farming may be organic by the year 2020.

More and more health and environmentally conscious Americans are turning toorganic food. And for good reason:

* Concern over toxic pesticide residues. A study by Consumer Reports found that organic foods had little or no pesticide residues compared to conventional produce. A study by the Environmental Working Group found that millions of US children eating non-organic fruits andvegetables were ingesting dangerous amounts of a variety of pesticid eneurotoxins and carcinogens.

* Concern over antibiotic drug residues. Organic farming prohibits the useof antibiotics in animal feed. Recent scientific research has confirmed the fact that antibiotics, routinely fed to factory farm animals to make them grow faster, are creating dangerous antibiotic-resistant pathogens whichare infecting Americans who eat these animal products.

* Concern over food poisoning, deadly e-Coli 0157:H7, campylobacter,salmonella, listeria, and other food borne diseases. The Centers forDisease Control admit that there are at least 76 million cases of food poisoning every year in the US. While there are no documented cases oforganic meat or poultry setting off food poisoning epidemics, filthyslaughter houses, contaminated feed, and diseased animals are commonplace inindustrial agriculture. According to government statistics, mostnon-organic beef cattle are contaminated with e-Coli 0157:H7; over 90% ofchickens are tainted with campylobacter, and 30% of poultry are infected with salmonella.

* Concern over food irradiation, use of toxic sewage sludge spread on farmland, and genetic engineering. Organic certification prohibitsir radiation, sewage sludge, and genetic engineering. A 1997 poll by CBSfound 77% of Americans opposed to food irradiation, while a recent surveyby the Angus Reid polling group found the majority of US consumers opposedto genetically engineered foods. Consumers are especially incensed that industry and the FDA refuse to require labeling of genetically engineered food. Numerous polls over the past 15 years have found that 80-95% of Americans want labels on gene-altered foods, mainly so that they can avoid buying them.

* Concern over the environment. Studies indicate that the industrialization and globalization of agriculture are a leading contributor to greenhousegases and climate destabilization. Other research shows an increasing percentage of municipal water supplies are contaminated by pesticide residues, chemical fertilizers, and sewage runoff from factory farms and feed lots.

It's no wonder consumers are turning to organic foods while biotechnology and agri-chemical special interests are starting to panic.

Written by: Ronnie Cummins,


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