Palaces For The People
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Fact Versus Fiction: The Truth About Organics
The following is an edited version of the Organic Trade Association's response to negative publicity about organics generated by Dennis T. Avery and the Hudson Institute. This is the first half of the OTA's response. Part II will run in the November issue of NFM.
Dennis T. Avery, author of Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastics, and his employer, the Hudson Institute, a conservative research group, have been on a campaign for years to discredit organic agricultural production and fuel consumers' fears about food safety.
The Hudson Institute is funded by such companies as Monsanto, DowElanco and Ag-Chem Equipment Co., all of which profit from sales of products prohibited from use in organic agricultural production.
Initially, Avery's histrionic and misleading messages appeared mainly in the Hudson Institute's own publications, such as American Outlook, and in small trade publications. However, an excerpt from his article, "The Hidden Dangers in Organic Food" was published in The Wall Street Journal on Dec. 8, 1998.
Since the Wall Street Journal piece, Avery and his anti-organic message have appeared on USA Today Online, PBS Technopolitics and in The Tampa Tribune, Investors Business Daily, and elsewhere. Other media outlets continue to pick up his message and pass it on, often without adequate fact-checking. The Organic Trade Association would like to provide balance to Avery's often misleading allegations: