Misconception Number 3: Organic industry groups spread fear of non-organic products in order to increase their market shares and profit.
Summary of Counter-Arguments:
Details of Counter-Arguments:
This argument is coming straight from the “No More Scares” movement in the US, which came up with the report entitled "Organic Industry Groups Spread Fear for Profit" in which they present the idea that the organic message is merely propaganda and manipulation originating from the organic retail lobby. The irony is that the principal figures of the “No More Scares” campaign have a track record of taking part in some of the best examples of manipulation and industrial lobby-supported propaganda. Many of them have been outspoken apologists for the tobacco industry, one of the deadliest consumer products. One of the most active opponents of Organic Agriculture, Dennis T. Avery, is an "adjunct scholar" at the Hudson Institute and a paid propagandist for multinational chemical and agribusiness companies, including genetic engineering front-runners Monsanto, and Zeneca, but also Dupont, Novartis, Syngenta Crop Protection, and McDonalds. He has written several books supporting his cause including, “Saving the Planet with Pesticides & Plastic.” Another strong anti-organic advocate is the so-called Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) in the US and its founder and chief propagandist, Rick Berman. Given that Coca-Cola, Cargill, Tyson Foods, and Monsanto feature among the major donors of the CCF, one can easily question the “free from influence” positions of the organization.
Within the food industry, marketing the real benefits of organic food is largely left to word-of-mouth, media coverage, and the promotional efforts of organic advocates. The specific advantages of organic food go largely unmentioned on product packaging and in mainstream media advertising. Labels such as "certified organic" are generally left to stand on their own as self-explanatory, assisted only by general terms like "natural." There are no references to the dangers or negative impacts of conventional agriculture on organic product packaging. Therefore, there is little supportive evidence of an aggressive and “fear spreading” marketing strategy stemming from the organic food-industry.
Today, a growing proportion of organic products are processed and sold by companies that are not specifically or entirely organic (e.g., Danone, for food industry companies, or Nike, for clothes made with organic cotton). These companies have no interest in, and in fact do not engage in, criticizing non-organic products because they still get most of their income from these products.
It is therefore clear that the organic food industry cannot be blamed for spreading wrong information about non-organic food. What is true is that the organic movement is essentially composed of producers and consumers who strongly believe in Organic Agriculture as the most sustainable agricultural system to date. They do not hesitate to spread the information about the advantages of the organic system, as well as the real dangers of the conventional agricultural system. These efforts are countered by a much stronger industrial lobby (the one of the agro-chemical industry) whose far-reaching activities are aimed at denying the negative impact of their products. Organic Agriculture, on the contrary, is much more self-reliant (low input) and, therefore, does not have such a strong lobby behind it. Despite this, there is now growing evidence that some practices in the conventional food industry are harmful and that organic food, on average, is both safer and healthier. So why should people not say what is true?
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