Of the “conventional” non-organic food we eat, 46% contains residues of one or more pesticide, and levels are going up dramatically, not down: in 2003 the equivalent figure was just 25%. Consumers are assured that farmers and growers take human health protection very seriously, but the truth of the matter is that the National Farmers Union and chemical companies militantly defend their pesticide armoury in the face of any government attempt to restrict it.

Non-organic farmers have at their disposal an arsenal of over 320 pesticides and they use them routinely. Carbendazim is one of the most commonly applied ones (on apples, cucumber, grapes, pre-packed salads, spinach and more) even though evidence links it with developmental damage to mammals that could lead to cancers, developmental problems and birth defects.

Hmm.

Umm:

ABSTRACT The toxicological significance of exposures to
synthetic chemicals is examined in the context of exposures to
naturally occurring chemicals. We calculate that 99.99% (by
weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that
plants produce to defend themselves. Only 52 natural pesticides
have been tested in high-dose animal cancer tests, and about
half (27) are rodent carcinogens; these 27 are shown to be
present in many common foods. We conclude that natural and
synthetic chemicals are equally likely to be positive in animal
cancer tests. We also conclude that at the low doses of most
human exposures the comparative hazards of synthetic pesticide
residues are insignificant.

Idiots, eh?

24 thoughts on “Idiots Ahoy!”

  1. No they’re not idiots. They have an agenda. And many of them know better, which makes it worse.

    It’s well known that all chemicals have adverse effects in sufficient doses, and rather a lot of them cause cancer (before they kill you in some other way). But you can’t have failed to notice that “x causes cancer” (when given to enough rats in sufficiently high doses for long enough) is a journalistic staple.

    Incidentally, cancer biologists love rats (over mice, which are cheaper and easier to handle) because they are so prone to tumours.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    So now we know why vegetarians are so spineless. It is not that they lack testosterone. It is that they are inches from death due to being poisoned.

    Steak is clearly the basis of any healthy lifestyle.

  3. High woo factor, though. Which is what counts.

    There’s a woman over in the UK I have to deal with. Organic everything & every other bit of enviro/caring sharing/holistic medicine/you name it.
    She’s firmly convinced there’s some Indian hasn’t eaten a crumb for 20 years, existing solely on psychic energy fields.
    When you’ve got people like this, rational science doesn’t stand a chance.

  4. Come to think of it, I must sell her a time share. Shouldn’t matter in what.
    She’s a natural.
    Victim.

  5. BiS

    “She’s firmly convinced there’s some Indian hasn’t eaten a crumb for 20 years, existing solely on psychic energy fields.”

    I expect the fact that he is Indian and ‘exotic’ plays a large part in this. If it was a white bloke from Luton called ‘Jim’ I doubt she would be so credulous.

    Odd how most of the people who believe shit like this tend to be female.

  6. Incredibly enough her & her b/f have actually done the India gig.
    You’d think having seen a sub-continent living in its own excrement might give a slight hint the culture just possibly doesn’t have all the answers should have penetrated.
    But apparently not.

  7. There was a western Breatharian who existed solely on light for many years, if I remember correctly. I think the article I read about her said that she had been found eating solid food, but she said it was only because she liked the taste.

    Checking this in the Fortean Times forums I find references to Breatharians eating hamburgers to “counteract the sickening effects of electrical power lines”… 🙂

  8. It has been shown that di-hydrogen monoxide, in high doses, causes cancer in rats: is the Grauniad proposing that we ban that as well?.

  9. I don’t eat strawberries anymore. When I buy them at the store, they rot within a day. They used to spray them with chemicals to keep them from rotting, but not anymore.

    Go organic means go Neolithic.

  10. Humans seem irresistibly drawn to poisonous plants, which have evolved defences against herbivores: coffee, tea, cannabis, cocoa, most cooking herbs… the list is long.

  11. It’s an article by Joanna Blythman. Possibly one of the most stupid and ignorant commenters I have ever encountered. I first noticed her when she wrote for the Glasgow Herald, then saw her in person (by mistake) at the Edinburgh Book Festival. She appears utterly incapable of understanding.

  12. The whole organic farming thing is a load of old trousers. Organic veg still has stuff that the layman would call pesticide or fungicide chucked on it, it is just that these products fit the soil association or whoever’s guidelines.

    Also, even if that were not the case, do you think that your M&S organic veg produced somewhere in the 3rd world will really be organokosher?

  13. I’ve always said that organic farming is about paying toffs a premium to grow food inefficiently.

    There’s an old bloke across the road from me who claimed that back in the day, before mains sewerage came to his house he used night soil as fertilizer. Very effective too apparently.

  14. @Ian
    The mountain place is on septic tank. The orange trees get the run-off. Incredible fruit. Navels the size of grapefruits & half a litre of juice in every one. Sweet as honey.
    And the figs!
    Taking a dump up there can rightly be called “doing a job”.

  15. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Bloke in france: probably the most toxic thing most people have in their kitchen that isn’t used for cleaning the stove is nutmeg*. Three whole nutmegs can be fatal. But in most cases the only way normal foodstuffs will kill you is if a big drum of them falls on your head in the cash and carry.

    Having said that, I think it was Ron Bailey who had a story in one of his books about a strain of organic celery that had been bred (selectively, but not GM, natch) to be insect resistant. Unfortunately this was achieved by boosting the levels of a natural pesticide to the point where workers harvesting it got contact dermatitis.

    * so, Tumblrinas and their pumpkin spice lattes (brrr), eh? Maybe 4chan can spoof them again.

  16. There’s a woman over in the UK I have to deal with. Organic everything & every other bit of enviro/caring sharing/holistic medicine/you name it.
    She’s firmly convinced there’s some Indian hasn’t eaten a crumb for 20 years, existing solely on psychic energy fields.
    When you’ve got people like this, rational science doesn’t stand a chance.

    Reminds me of an article in a Sunday Times magazine many years ago – an interview with a wealthy woman who claimed to subsist on air. The interviewer asked why, if that was the case, there was a larder full of food.

    “It’s for guests,” the woman replied.

    I think it’s what Wikipedia calls ‘breatharianism’. Apparently there’s a guy with a fifth-dimensional phone. Call him to ask for the five magic words – they only cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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