Palaces For The People
Wednesday, November 05, 2003

"Slinging Manure at Organic Farming – GMO propaganda"

The GM industry has recognized the growth of organic farming and the public preference for it. Even though the companies control the bureaucrats they seem unable to control the public. For the past two years the GM industry has promoted particularly vicious propaganda about organic farming practices. Prof. Alan McHugen of Saskatchewan recently published the following comment "According to Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute the highly respected US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta noted 2471 cases, including 250 deaths, of infection by the unpleasant E. coli strain O157:H7 in 1996 alone.These bacteria live in manure. Manure is used as a fertilizer in organic farming systems. Organic foods were implicated in about a third of the confirmed O157:H7 cases despite the fact that organic food constitutes only about 1% of food consumed in the US."

Alan McHughen, Pandora's Picnic Basket, p. 233. March 23, 1999 The professor headed the human health effects discussion at the 1999 Edinburgh conference on safety of GM foods and a large meeting this spring in Sakatoon. He is a member of the United States National Research Council Panel on safety of GM foods (the other panel members are even more extreme on support for GM crops). Dennis Avery is a journalist who works for the Brookings Institute supported by large chemical companies.

Karen Charman (Organic Consumers Association web site at "Avery claims that "people who eat organic and 'natural' foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli bacteria (0157:H7)." This happens, he says, because organic food is grown in animal manure, and animal manure is a known carrier of this nasty microbe. He claims his data comes from Dr. Paul Mead, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the federal agency that tracks outbreaks of foodborne illness".

The CDC fielded so many media queries on the subject, on January 14, 1999, it took the unusual step of issuing a press release stating: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not conducted any study that compares or quantitates the specific risk for infection withE. coli 0157:H7 and eating either conventionally grown or organic/natural." Now Avery (and McHugen) say they interpreted the CDC data even though the reports did not find illness associated with organic food.

While GM proponents continue to smear organic farming, a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report in July of this year concluded that organic practices can actually reduce E .coli infection that causes food poisoning (the exact opposite of GM proponent claims) and also reduce the levels of contaminants in foods. The Food and Agriculture Organisation is the largest autonomous agency within the United Nations. The full FAO report is available for download as a Word document from: .

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