Stanford, Don't Lie About Benefits of Organic Foods!

  • by: Susan V
  • recipient: Stanford University
UPDATE: One of the co-authors of the study was recently found to have ties to Big Tobacco. Sign to tell Stanford that it must be impartial in its science!

Stanford’s recent study of organic vs conventional foods blatantly belies the benefits of organics.

Conducting a “meta-analysis” of over 200 studies comparing the two, Stanford researchers found that “organic food had 30% less pesticide residue” as well as less antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Yet the study report not only failed to focus on these pluses, it actually downplayed the “overall 81% lower risk” of pesticide exposure with organic foods, says Washington State’s Charles Benbrook.  

Adding insult to injury, Stanford’s press release misrepresented the study as finding “Little Evidence of Health Benefits of Organic Food," and the mainstream media too eagerly echoed this distortion.

Setting aside Dr. Kirsten Brandt's findings in 2011 that organics contain over 10% more nutrients than conventional foods, the decreased pesticide residue alone is reason enough to praise rather than belie the benefits of organic foods.

Tell Stanford to tell the truth about organic foods.

We, the undersigned, expect more integrity from Stanford University than what this report on organic foods represents.

Charles Benbrook and others reveal the flaws of this study to be so extensive that there is no excuse for the irresponsible statement Stanford released to the press regarding organic foods.

It is suggested that the study's authors read Benbrook’s complete critique, which explains how the analysis supporting the study’s conclusions “is flawed in several ways” and “consistently understates” the “magnitude of differences reported In high quality, contemporary peer-reviewed literature” that compares the “nutritional quality and safety of organic versus conventional food.”

An excerpt from Benbrook’s critique is quoted below:

I am among a small group of people who, by virtue of professional interests and responsibilities over the last decade, have read over 200 of the 298 references cited in the Stanford paper. I have analyzed the results of dozens of them and carried out meta-analyses on this body of literature (Benbrook, 2008b). My goal has been to integrate into a public health context the insights gained from research in several disparate fields. Over time, I believe that unbiased analysis coupled with modern-day science is likely to show with increasing clarity that growing and consuming organic food, especially in conjunction with healthy diets rich in fresh, whole foods, is one of the best health-promotion investments we can make today….

Furthermore, the study, despite understating the actual figures, confirms what Environmental Working Group and “scores of public health experts” have been reporting for years, “that consumers who eat organic fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce pesticide concentrations in their bodies.” EWG’s Sonya Lunder says “This is a particularly important finding for expectant mothers and kids, because the risks of dietary exposures to synthetic pesticides, especially organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides, are greatest during pregnancy and childhood, when the brain and nervous system are most vulnerable. These are two groups that should really avoid eating foods with high levels of pesticide residues.”

Also, adds EWG, the Stanford study “contradicts the findings of what many consider the most definitive analysis in the scientific literature of the nutrient content of organic versus conventional food."

Rather than hiding from the press and the public the importance of consuming and growing organic fruits and vegetables, Stanford should be bellowing about the benefits and urging consumers and farmers to go organic.

We request that Stanford University correct its reports and press release on this flawed study to more accurately reflect the benefits of consuming organic vs. conventional foods.

Thank you for your consideration of this very serious request.

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