By: Violet Batcha, Communications Manager
Here we go again. The big food and biotech industry lobbyist John R. Block has launched into more diatribes against organic food and agriculture.
Block was the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in the Reagan administration who famously declared that ketchup was a vegetable, at least when served to schoolchildren.
In his most recent attack on organic, Block makes the incredible and unsubstantiated claims that organic food is less safe than conventionally produced food and has no nutritional advantage over conventional
So where’s he getting his information from? Academics Review, which is a biotech industry-funded organization of course.
As Friends of the Earth’s Kari Hamershlag points out in her piece on Civil Eats, “The groups’ co-founder Bruce Massey is on the advisory board of the American Council on Science and Health, a pro-industry science advocacy group that takes significant funding from corporations such as Bayer Crop Science and Syngenta, which can be seen as having a financial stake in these debates. Links to this and other pro-biotechnology organizations, such as International Food Biotechnology Committee, Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, and GMO Pundit, are listed prominently on their website.”
Block seems to completely overlook any science that doesn’t come from the industry he works for.
For instance, he ignores the most extensive comparative analysis, widely publicized this summer, that shows that organic is more nutritious than conventional food..
Block claims that the organic industry uses scare tactics in its marketing to get consumers to buy its products. He refers to the organic industry’s use of labeling that points out that organic foods are not grown with conventional techniques such as genetically modified seeds, toxic and persistent pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones.
The problem with his argument is that the claims organic companies make are true!
If he wants a good example of false advertising claims, he has to look no further than the industry for which he is paid to lobby. In fact, the producers many conventional food products have been sued for making misleading “natural” claims on products that contain GMOs.
Block has experience spreading misleading claims. He even tricked Congress into declaring that pizza was a vegetable – let’s not let him trick us about the benefits of organic.