Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bad Reporter Misses Point of Study

I happened across this article on Yahoo!:

Organic food is no healthier, study finds

The conclusion is arrived at because only "a small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance".

Except that I'm not buying organic produce because I believe it contains more nutrients. I'm buying it because it doesn't contain toxic pesticides.

All the pull-quotes from the actual study are careful not to claim organic produce isn't healthier. Take this one for instance: "Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority."

Instead it's the reporter (Ben Hirschler with editing by Simon Jessop) who draws the false conclusion that organic produce is therefore not any healthier, completely disregarding the negative health effects of pesticides and other harsh chemicals in the conventional produce. Never mind the fact that the study itself makes no such claim.

Unfortunately people will read this misleading headline, or read this poorly written article, and stop buying organic produce as a result. If I were an organic farming association, I'd sue Reuters for libel.


  1. It is so frustrating that factory farming is an accepted part of our culture now- to the point where my landlord doesn't want me to have a garden in the backyard...

  2. Not only is the original article problematic but I've seen this article quoted in other articles. The boneheadedness goes on and on.

  3. AND this article was the source for question on last week's Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me...when will end????


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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.