OTA Responds to The Washington Post - Organic Trade Association
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OTA Responds to The Washington Post


On March 18th the Washington Post published an article claiming that people who purchase organic baby food do so as a status symbol, rather than due to decisions based on scientific evidence that confirm the public health and environmental benefits of organic products.  The article did not mention any of the scientific studies showing the public and environmental health hazards of pesticide use, but focused instead on the 2012 Stanford study results that did not find support for increased nutritional content in organic produce.  Several letters to the editor have been published criticizing the misleading nature of the Washington Post article, and Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center, wrote a response highlighting the growing body of scientific evidence supporting the benefits of organic food. 

Dear Editor:

Rachel Saslow’s March 18th article is misleading, because it glosses over the well-established information that organic food reduces people’s exposure to pesticide residues, growth hormones, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

This fact has been supported by many studies, including the Stanford study referenced by Saslow.  The American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledged the benefits of organic diets in its clinical review of organic foods published in October by stating, “In terms of health advantages, organic diets have been convincingly demonstrated to expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with human disease.”  This is particularly important in baby food, because infants are especially vulnerable to toxins and diseases.

According to the 2013 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes & Beliefs Study, consumers choose organic products due to their concerns about possible effects of toxic and synthetic pesticides, synthetic growth hormones and antibiotics, particularly on vulnerable populations including children.

It is disrespectful to claim parents choose organic baby food as a status symbol, as purported by Saslow’s article.  Parents who choose food for their babies from the increasing variety of organic products in the marketplace are making decisions that have been shown to be good for their families’ well-being rather than good for their social status.

Dr. Jessica Shade
Director of Science Programs
The Organic Center

2014 Annual Fund

Research and Promotion 2012