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April 22 2014

More on the Organic Mom Mafia

Julie Gunlock

As Charlotte mentioned in her post yesterday, Naomi Schaefer Riley’s excellent piece in the New York Post exposes a new type of helicopter parent—the type that has to hover not only over their own child’s plate of food but over your child’s plate as well.

Some of these women are indeed insufferable and judgmental and nervous wrecks and they about as much fun as a trip to the dentist, but there’s another group of women who, while also woefully misinformed, are honestly well-meaning and are just trying to do the best for their children. They don’t mean to be judgmental but they’re genuinely concerned that their kids are being harmed by tainted food. These women might be wasters of their own money when they buy organic food for health and safety reasons, but I have soft spot for them because it can’t be fun living in constant fear of food.

And, is it really any wonder that these women exist?  We live in an age when women are bombarded with scary information. Where environmental groups and even food companies profit from making women afraid. And of course, it doesn’t help that the mainstream media gives a megaphone to nitwit Hollywood starlets with infinite amounts of time and money on their hands who broadcast their unscientific nonsense to legions of fans (latest example: according to Clueless actress Alicia Silverstone, her son’s daily dose of miso soup is keeping him safe from measles and other infectious diseases).

Women need information not alarmism. They crave good sources and reassurance that buying more affordable conventionally produced food (food that has been grown with the use of synthetic pesticides) is perfectly safe. If you're one of those women, here are a few fantastic sources:

First, if you’re worried about pesticide residue, check out this website which allows you calculate pesticide residue on fruits and veggetables. As Riley points out in the New York Post piece:

According to the calculator at Safefruitsandveggies.com, a project of the nonprofit Alliance for Food and Farming, “a child could consume 1,508 servings of strawberries in one day without any effect even if the strawberries have the highest pesticide residue recorded for strawberries by USDA.”

Or how about this: “A teen could consume 206 servings of peaches in one day without any effect even if the peaches have the highest pesticide residue recorded for peaches by USDA.”

I also really like this informative YouTube video by Dr. Aaron E. Carroll, Professor of Pediatrics and Assistant Dean for Research Mentoring at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Yeah, yeah...I know he’s no Hollywood actress with a degree from the University of Google but he seems to know his stuff.  In the video, Carrol debunks the myth that organic produce is healthier and safer than conventionally grown fruit and vegetables.

And as for that often heard argument that “I buy organic because I don’t want my kids to be exposed to pesticides,” guess what, as Christie Wilcox explores in this very detailed Scientific American article, organic farmers also use pesticides. Uh huh. They do.

When the Soil Association, a major organic accreditation body in the UK, asked consumers why they buy organic food, 95% of them said their top reason was to avoid pesticides. They, like many people, believe that organic farming involves little to no pesticide use. I hate to burst the bubble, but that’s simply not true. Organic farming, just like other forms of agriculture, still uses pesticides and fungicides to prevent critters from destroying their crops. Confused?

Yeah! I suspect a lot of folks are confused. Read her whole piece to be further shocked by the facts. Here’s another taste:

…turns out that 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.

Look, if you have the money to buy organic, fine, go ahead. But you shouldn’t be buying it under the false perception that you’re providing your children better food. You’re not. It simply isn’t true. 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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