GMOs are now part of the International Jewish Conspiracy

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The, now dead, satirical web page https://web.archive.org/web/20041211212408/http://www.internationaljewishconspiracy.com/

The anti-GMO movement was recently endorsed by David Duke, a former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Duke is a Holocaust denier who served one-term as a Louisiana State Representative. He has also unsuccessfully run several times for Congress, governor, and even president.

Ignoring her “troubling ties” to the organic industry, Duke seems concerned about Hillary Clinton’s ties to the biotechnology industry. But in his tweet he takes this conspiracy theory a step further by connecting Monsanto to his hatred of Judaism, as indicated by the parentheses around Monsanto.

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Lindsey Ellefson from MEDIAITE explains:

Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and white nationalists put the triple parentheses around the name of a Jewish writer or influencer to quickly and quietly identify them to other Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and white nationalists. Sometimes, a blog that employs a large number of Jews may also get the (((treatment))).

In other words, Duke is insinuating that Monsanto is controlled by “The Jews”. An opinion he appears to not be alone in sharing, as a quick twitter search for the words “Monsanto” and “zionist” confirms.

Like most conspiracy theories, this one appears to be based on a couple of facts that quickly got twisted. A Jewish family with the name Monsanto fled to Holland from Spain to escape the inquisition, with at least one branch later finding their way to the Americas. They have a lot of descendents, and most appear to have converted to Catholicism. The founder of Monsanto, John Queeny Francis (a Catholic himself) named the company after his wife’s family. According to census and immigration records, this branch of the Monsanto family, however, did not arrive in the Americas from Europe until the late 1800s.

Many sources seem to indicate (including Wikipedia) that Francis named the company Monsanto to secure financing from a Monsanto sugar baron in the Caribbean, but there does not seem to be any historical record of a connection between these two branches of the name.

John Francis Queeny and Olga Monsanto were married at the Catholic  St. Paul’s Church in Hoboken, NJ (where Olga lived at the time).  According to New Jersey Wills and Probate Records (1792-1991), Olga’s parents were Mauricio (with Moreis and Morris being alternate spellings) and Emma Monsanto. American census records and German passenger lists indicate that Mauricio (a civil engineer) was born in Germany with Emma (hotel house keeper) being born in Holland. They would take their daughter to St. Thomas, before later settling in New Jersey.

The Monsanto name, being the paternal name, is really irrelevant here. In Jewish law the religion of the mother is what determines whether or not someone is Jewish. Olga Monsanto’s maternal grandmother was Caroline Magdalene Beckmann of Hannover, Germany. She was Lutheran.

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The idea that David Duke would buy into anti-GMO conspiracies should not surprise anyone. Crank magnetism is a real thing. Psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky published a study for Plos One showing that belief in conspiracy theories makes one much more likely to believe in multiple conspiracies. For example, people who think AIDs was created by the US government are far more likely to also believe that the connection between lung cancer and smoking is built on junk science.

The human brain evolved to find patterns, it helped early man survive. The problem occurs in the fact that the brain will perceive patterns when none are really there. Writing for Psychology Today Mark Van Vugt describes why so many people accept that there are massive conspiracies against them.

Another evolved function of the mind is to respond swiftly to threats. The biggest threat facing humans throughout history has been other people, particularly when they teamed up against you. If you consider societies that still live as in ancestral times, such as the Yanomamo in the Amazon region or the Kung San in Botswana then the most common form of violence involves a conspiracy directed against a particular individual who has been accused of malice, adultery, or witchcraft.

So whether it is one of the smallest religions on the planet somehow managing to control the world, or multi national corporations trying to depopulate the planet, these conspiracy theories are part of a primal survival instinct gone amok.

 

 

Help Fayth, the high school senior who wants to fight fears about GMOs

screenshot-2016-10-27-at-11-25-13-amFayth Stephenson, an 18 year old high school senior at Greenwood High School in Millerstown, PA describes herself as “passionate about GMO education and awareness”. A transplant from the Jersey Shore, Fayth found a love for agriculture in rural Pennsylvania.

Becoming aware of several markets in her area that she believes are passing off genetically modified crops as organic produce, Fayth is looking to purchase a GMO Investigator Kit from Bio-Rad. Bio-Rad markets its device as being neutral in the GMO debate, simply a way for students who may “be interested to know how much

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GMO Investigator™ Kit

of the corn– or soy–based foods they eat has been genetically modified”. It works by testing for the presence of two of the most common DNA sequences found in food using GM ingredients ” the 35S promoter of the cauliflower mosaic virus and the terminator of the nopaline synthase gene of Agrobacterium tumefaciens”.

“I have devoted 3/4ths of my entire high school career to researching GMOs,” Fayth explained. “I actively compete in several state science competitions throughout the school year. These include, the PA Farm Show FFA Agriscience Fair, PA Junior Academy of Science, and Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair.”

Fayth has turned to crowd funding to raise the money for the project, “which costs about $245.00 plus costs for test materials”.  Hoping to encourage the members of her local community to not fear conventional produce, she has been forced to work on a local farm to save money to help her mom with family finances with little left over for the project.

According to Fayth, “this project will be taken to the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Exposition to be judged in the FFA AgriScience Fair, as well as the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PAJAS) and the Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair”. If she succeeds at PAJAS she will have the opportunity to present her project at Pennsylvania State University.

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Fayth won third placement in the junior equitation division at the Twin Brooks Horse Show Association summer series.

“My goal, with this project is to test non USDA certified organic produce and ultimately expose leisurely labeled “organic” produce. I want our public to learn the facts and not fear their food. ”

You can help Fayth by donating to her GoFundMe page here: https://www.gofundme.com/gmo-research-project-2w3pm78

 

 

University of Hawaii professor assisted in the harassment of a pro-GMO professor

hector-valenzuela600x350pxDr. Hector Valenzuela has long been critical of biotechnology. A proponent of organic agriculture, Valenzuela has been performing research on it at the University of Hawaii since the early 90s. His criticism has certainly made him some rivals at his university, but academic feuds are definitely nothing new.

Valenzuela, unfortunately, appears to want to take his disagreements outside the confines of his university. Last year, in an interview for PR Web, he claimed that funding from the biotechnology industry was causing his university to silence him and he called out several fellow professors critical of his own viewpoints.

Professor Valenzuela told the authors of the piece, Paul Koberstein and Eliza Murphy, “I am not an anti-GMO person, and I have never served as a spokesman for any anti-GMO group”. Yet he took part in a protest against GMOs organized by Occupy Monsanto, and even spoke to the crowd. Valenzuela also appears to be actively engaged with Babes Against Biotech,  plastering their posters on his office door.

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I am not an anti-GMO person. – Hector Valenzuela

Dr. Andrew G. Hashimoto, the dean at the College of Tropical Agriculture told PR Web, “His claims of retaliation are also unfounded as the actions he cited were the result of non-performance. He spends most of his time making presentations about the problems with biotechnology, which he has the academic freedom to do, but not at the expense of his assigned responsibilities.”

If these allegations of harassment were accurate, Valenzuela appears not to have done much about it. I asked Dr. Robert Paull, one of the professors Valenzuela claims is harassing him about it. This was what he had to say, “Dr. Valenzuela has repeatedly raised allegations against myself and others at my college claiming harassment. He has been told to file a grievance on numerous occasions with our Union (UHPA) but has never done so in more than 12 years.”  This was important information that the PR Watch authors failed to mention. Dr. Paull later clarified that he was aware of one discussion with the union, but no grievance was actually signed.

PR Watch’s Paul Koberstein is sticking with his claim that Valenzuela is not involved with any anti-GMO group.

I don’t know where you get your information about Prof. Valenzuela’s “very clear involvement” with GMOs. As he told me, and I reported, he is raising questions about biotechnology. That is what he is required to do to perform his job as a professor at the University of Hawaii. As far as I know, he is not involved with any group other than as a source of factual information.

Contrary to the title of the piece, which claims Valenzuela is being silenced, the last paragraph admits “They both continue to speak out.”

A pattern that may be continuing according to emails released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The University of Hawaii released the second in a series of emails from Valenzuela’s university account, around 1,000 pages worth. The majority of emails were extremely easy to read, except for approximately ten pages that had text shrunken down. Caitlin Russel who scanned the emails for Muckrock.com (a non-profit dedicated to government transparency) took note of it having something to do with Professor Kevin Folta of the University of Florida.

“ As best as we could figure, the emails had something to do with Kevin Folta, the director of the biotechnology communication program at the University of Florida, and the fallout from the public records reveal that he had received a $25,000 grant from Monsanto.”

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Professor Folta has long been an outspoken proponent of genetically engineered crops, and critics of the technology used his receiving of the grant to insinuate that his opinion was shaped because of it. When the story broke, Diana Reeves of GMO Free USA sent an email through the listserv GMOList (which Valenzuela is a part of) requesting that people make anonymous complaints to Folta’s university and also requested for ammunition people could use in their complaints. 

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When the university released a legible copy of the shrunken email, it turned out to be a 32 page dossier on Folta created by Valenzuela. Much of the information was cherry picked from comments made by Folta on social media and blog posts going back several years. GMO Free USA appears to have used a lot of Valenzuela’s information to create memes encouraging their followers to harass Folta. Quite often it is obvious notes appear to have been taken verbatim from Valenzuela’s dossier and posted to GMO Free USA without disclosure. I emailed Professor Valenzuela and asked if he could confirm or deny his direct involvement in the creation of these memes, calls to action for Folta’s firing, or an explanation of why the original email released was shrunk down. So far he has failed to respond.

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They even went so far as to call on Folta’s university to fire him, because a page unrelated to Folta made a joke about water.

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And call the university, they did. According to Fusion.com, “the university was so inundated with requests to fire Folta that it changed his office number and asked the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Task Force to remain on alert.”

The harassment did not stop at just complaints to his university. The blog Skeptical Raptor described how ruthless some of these people were. One email described the location of where the Professor’s wife liked to bike, terrorizing her enough to become afraid of staying home alone. They even went to Craigslist:

One of the most vile personal attacks was from some cowardly and anonymous Craigslist poster who invoked Dr. Folta’s deceased mother to attack Folta’s reputation. And used childish and ridiculous language like calling him a “Monsanto whore.”

Professor Folta wasn’t surprised to learn of Valenzuela’s involvement. “He can’t take on science in the spirit of acceptable scholarship, so he gets in line with vile activists to defame legitimate scientists. I heard him on the radio on Kauai. I could not believe I was hearing someone claiming to represent a Land Grant University and a science-based perspective. He was pushing claims we know are not supported by evidence.”

Unfortunately free speech often protects cyberbullying, but that does not necessarily extend to public university professors using university resources. This 32 page dossier created by Valenzuela was sent to his work email from his Evernote account. The technology policy set out by the University of Hawaii prohibits use of email to harass others.

“The same legal and policy standards that define intimidation, harassment or invasion of privacy apply to the electronic environment. For example, persistence in sending unwanted email constitutes harassment and is unacceptable if not illegal.”

“University resources are intended to be used for institutional purposes and may not be used for private gain.

The University provides information technology resources at great expense for the purpose of supporting its mission (learning, teaching, research, and public service). It is expected that usage will be primarily educational in nature in support of this mission.”

The first amendment gives rights to public university employees to speak out on matters of public concern. Those rights do not extend to using university resources to do so, nor does it apply to becoming involved in the harassment of people they might disagree with. Professor Folta was harassed and intimidated to the point of fearing for his family and nearly quitting his job. No one should have to suffer that over a disagreement about biotechnology. Especially when federal and state tax dollars are being used to support it.

173 New York residents show support for Cornell’s Alliance For Science

25-logo-page-1On September 22 67 organic farmers, with a financial interest in the continued demonization of biotechnology, delivered a letter to the Dean and Trustees of Cornell University. They oppose the Alliance For Science, an evidence and fact based program that “seeks to promote access to scientific innovation as a means of enhancing food security, improving environmental sustainability and raising the quality of life globally.” 

Participants from around the globe are gathered there with a common goal of using technology to improve their lives.

Too often a loud minority is able to dictate policy because the silent majority does nothing. Today 173 residents from around the state of New York show their support in their own letter to Cornell University:

September 26, 2016

Dean Kathryn J. Boor
Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Ithaca, New York 14850

Trustees of Cornell University, Robert S. Harrison, Chair
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14850

Dear Dean Boor and Trustees of the University:

As New York State residents, we applaud you for hosting the “Alliance for Science” on the Cornell campus (http://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/). A Land Grant university is the perfect place to bring together diverse international stakeholders through the generosity of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Cornell’s mission is to conduct objective research and education and the “Alliance for Science” has as its stated purpose to “help foster more constructive policies about biotechnology as a useful tool in the toolbox of food security and sustainability” and to spread it around the world. This presence should serve to fulfill Cornell’s mission.

Cornell is making valuable contributions to the long-term sustainability of agriculture.

Respectfully yours,

Michelle Sadler, Lansing, NY

Kris Benson Brock Schaghticoke, NY

Aaron Fried Aaron Fried, Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica, NY

Levi Tooker Saranac Lake, NY

Stephanie Teeling Sodus, NY

Albert Gawer Hopewell Junction, NY

Tiffany Carson, Rochester, NY

Satadru Pramanik New York, NY, Cornell Biomedical Engineering MSE Class of 2012.

Vikki Morris Rochester, NY.

Tiffany Bemis & family Rochester, NY

Giana Jinx Giana Guarascio, Buffalo, NY

Stefan Weisserfuchs. Watertown, NY

James Nunciato Brooklyn, NY

Kathryn Evans Georgetown, NY Cornell Alumnus Class of 71

Rebecca Smith, New Paltz, NY

Ben Reed Suffern, NY

Adam Macintyre-Ross York, NY

Mike Durnin Farmingville, New York

Jordan Hahn New York, NY

Criseyda Martinez New York, NY Biological Sciences PhD candidate.

Joe Bonica Port Jefferson, NY, Class of 2012

Emily Jensen Emily Jensen Baldwinsville, NY

Gary Almeter Tonawanda, NY

Kyle Vater Buffalo, NY.

Ian Keane Modena NY

Beth Franklin Beth Franklin Collins, NY

Carrie Endriss Hortonville, NY

Kate MacIntyre-Ross York, NY

Florencia Natalia Florencia González Ithaca, NY

Charles B. Hall, PhD Professor Department of Epidemiology and Population Health
Kirk Pistner Rochester, NY

Mark Hannon Cheektowaga, NY

Alicia Meek, Syracuse, NY (And a biotechnology major!)

Alex Serbanescu Queens, New York

Matt Pappalardo Whilestone, NY

Joe Siler Sivue Farms North Java, NY

John Lavelle Cambria, NY

Mariko Dow Cheektowaga, NY

Julian Diamond Poughkeepsie, NY

Maria Lant-Amey Horseheads, NY

Alicia Ann Alicia Green, Dunkirk, NY 14048

Andrés Abea, Ithaca, NY

Tim Stolinski Dunkirk, NY.

Stephanie Schieferstine Vernon, NY

Marjorie Lant Horseheads NY

Destiny Rivera Glen Cove, NY.

Susan Turner Norwich, NY

Michael Smola Norwich, NY

Nicole Negron Wappingers Falls, NY

Jacqueline Walters Jacquie Walters. Lockport, NY

George Meindl Sayville, NY

Michael Hobson Ithaca, NY –

Elodie Massaro, Monroe, NY

Alita Vaughan, Brooklyn, NY

Julianne Slayden Slaterville Springs, NY

Blane Lightfoote, Stanley NY

Jonathan Howard, NY, NY

Corinne Converse, Syracuse, NY

James Van De Weert Geneseo, NY

Chauncey Thorn New York, NY

Donna Walker ’93 Piffard, NY

Evan Jennings Buffalo, New York

Kiley Staats, Rochester, NY

Isabel Potter Isabel Potter, New York, NY 10025

Maryann Borsick Herman Maryann Herman, Ph.D. Walworth, NY

Randy Barbarash, ALS 1973, Chester, NY

Christopher Chura Cohoes, NY

Micah J. Fleck New York, NY

Preston Baez New York City, NY

Christine Okun, Liverpool, New York

Chey Miller Palmyra, NY.

Joe Fodor Brooklyn, NY

Jim Longo

Christopher Rutland White Plains, NY

Marlene OB Marlene OB, Ithaca NY

Holly Creavy Stony Point, NY

Jason Ridgeway Ontario, NY

Haley Braunegg Geneseo, NY

Brian Bliss Bliss, N.Y.

Scott Wyman Neagle Brooklyn, NY

Philip Bender Albany, NY

Michael Berbari New York, NY

Andy Newhouse Marietta, NY

Bernie Mooney, Brooklyn

Stephanie Hinshaw Albion, NY

Nicholas Tobi Gilbert Binghamton NY

Jerry Gallup New Hartford, NY

Robert Ronan NY, NY

Jim Sittnick Rochester, NY.
Jennifer Thorpe-Moscon Brooklyn, New York

Sandia Crest Andrea Beyer Glendale, NY

Anthony Kosmowski- Rochester, NY

Drew Ballard, NY NY

Jo Ellen Saumier,, Chateaugay,, NY

Gregory Liu Tivoli, NY.

James Mallinson, Richmond Hill, Queens, NY

Sharon Vonderchek Addison, NY

Roy Olcott Berkshire NY

Kevin Smith North Massapequa NY

Michael Szymanski Hamburg, NY

Nicholas DiGaudio, Flanders, NY

Kayla L Peate South Dayton, NY

Ioana Popa Gaskins Brooklyn NYC

Tawnya Radice Amherst, Ny

Alyssa Warawka New Woodstock NY

Charles Peter Castleton, New York

Lily Bartels Guilderland NY

Mark Murray Copenhagen NY

Jennifer Brady Orchard park, Ny

Steven Crevier Schenectady, NY

Christopher Frank Buffalo, New York 14207

Kait Maciejewski Batavia, NY

Flora Dogadkin Brooklyn, NY

Kimberly Blaszak, Corfu, NY 2009 alumni

Tyler Couch Rochester, NY

James Brooks, Merrick ny

Amy Verel Queens NYC

Kelly Evers Nassau, NY

Eric Harrington, Glendale, NY 11385

Aldrin Javier Bronx, New York

Glorie Anderson, Brooklyn, NY

Thomas DeWert Jr Corning, NY

Jillian Rose, Staten Island, NY

George Maxwell Mastic 11950

Hillary Meyer Middletown NY

Michael Trine. Sodus, NY.

Diana Peña, Brooklyn, NY

Julie Brocklehurst-Woods Geneseo, NY. I AM A Cornell-trained Master Gardener. My husband is an alum, we donate every year to Cornell.

Michael Bannigan, New York, NY

Nadia Nikulin (formerly Nadia Shevchuk), Class of 2014, Ithaca NY

Alison Steele of Castleton-on-Hudson, NY

Stefania Zimmerman Stony Brook, NY

Virginia Martelli, Brooklyn, NY

John Robby Hinshaw Buffalo, NY

Cari O’Brien Rochester NY

Lorelle Gifford Lorelle Dutcher, Franklin, New York.

Monica Ramstetter Ithaca, NY

Janice Smith Janice Smith,Franklin N.,Y.13775

Jamie Banister, Fort Drum / Evans Mills, NY

Adam Blood New York, NY

Lauren Kennedy from NYC, NY

Anastasia Schneider Mount Kisco, NY

Robert Harmer Coram, NY

Owen Smith Rochester, Ny

Crystal Richard Elmira, NY

Chris Murphy Carmel

Matthew Sterling Boonville, NY

Jason Gregory White Plains NY

Heather Warner Franklin, NY

Martin A. Winer, Rochester, NY

Keri Girvin, Ontario, NY

Brandyn Mark Lucca, Moriches, NY

Kirby Selkirk, Chateaugay N.Y.

Amanda Bentley Buffalo, NY

Tiffany Roach, East Syracuse, NY

Tara Anne McCloskey Staten Island, NY

Stephen Graham, Rochester, NY

Paul Contento Delmar NY

Elizabeth Wickham Selkirk, NY

Pamela Wright Watertown, NY

Stefani Pritchard Clinton, NY

Heather Geiger Brooklyn, NY

Bill Adcock William Adcock, Rochester, NY

Miranda Rice Trumansburg, NY

Danielle Basore Troy, NY!

Sara Lawler Owego, NY.

JoJo Pierce Albany, NY

Vicky Wolcott Depew, NY

Theresa Davis Rochester, NY

Raymond Popowich Rochester, NY
Jasmine Weed Rochester, NY

Jenna Weed Rocherster, NY

Janet A Lee New York, NY

Friends of the Earth asks for help in creating an anti-GMO echo chamber

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Last year Friends of the Earth (FOE) published a report called Spinning Food. Rather than discussing the science behind genetic engineering, the authors (Kari Hamerschlag, Anna Lappe, and Stacy Malkan) focused solely on accusing any person or group who is pro-GMO of being industry shills.

They even went so far as to insinuate that bloggers Nurse Loves Farmer and The Farmer’s Daughter have industry ties simply because they use a word that the AgChat Foundation also uses.

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http://webiva-downton.s3.amazonaws.com/877/cb/5/6306/FOE_SpinningFoodReport_8-15.pdf

One part of the report especially seems like an exercise in psychological projection. The entire pro-GMO movement is accused of existing in an echo chamber. This is a situation where a group simply repeats the same information and beliefs over and over again, while censoring all contradictory outside information.

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http://webiva-downton.s3.amazonaws.com/877/cb/5/6306/FOE_SpinningFoodReport_8-15.pdf

Anyone who actually spends time studying the pro-GMO movement would know that this couldn’t be any further from the truth. We criticize each other all the time, and we do so publicly. Mark Lynas and Patrick Moore, who were previously with anti-GMO non-profits and are now pro-GMO, can be found on Twitter arguing about climate change. Kevin Folta criticized my FOIA requests on his blog. I criticized a member of March Against Myths who I believed to be undertaking some questionable actions. Steve Novella of Skeptics Guide to the Galaxy recently criticized the American Council For Science and Health for having few too many industry ties.

We are skeptics, we question information presented to us.

In a new level of hypocrisy, Spinning Food author Kari Hamerschlag, was discovered, in an email sent to NGOs, academics and industry executives, to be doing the very same things she criticizes the pro-GMO movement of doing.

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Hamerschlag calls for the actual creation of an echo chamber to “spread the word”.

She then proceeds to give recipients of her email carefully crafted social media messages that can be used when sharing her report. The exact tactic that her co-author Stacy Malkan accused pro-GMO professors Kevin Folta and Calestous Juma of doing.

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And use them they did.

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Friends of the Earth relies on membership dues and a steady supply of donations. Are they really all that different from the corporations they claim to want to expose? Their product is fear, and they sell it well to their members.

Ultimately their Spinning Food report wasn’t about those corporations, it was about scaring people who wish to speak out in favor of biotechnology. Friends of the Earth is saying, “speak up and we will smear you next.”

 

How organic food makes us fatter

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Source: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/10/18/2803431/adult-obesity-levels-high/ http://www.statista.com/statistics/235805/us-retail-sales-of-natural-and-organic-food/

While correlation is not causation, seeing how organic food sales has increased steadily along with the adult obesity rate in the United States begs the question -Is organic food contributing to obesity?

“Count chemicals, not calories!” is one of the most often screamed battle cries of the organic food movement. The phrase serves to demonstrate a lack of basic chemistry and biology knowledge. Everything is made up of chemicals, even that piece of organic fruit. Many of those naturally occurring chemicals are even carcinogenic.

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http://gizmodo.com/all-natural-bananas-are-filled-with-chemicals-1504564161

Calories are units of energy. According to the National Institute of Health, “A lack of energy balance most often causes overweight and obesity. Energy balance means that your energy IN should equal your energy OUT.” Consume more calories than you burn and you gain weight, burn more than you consume and you lose weight.

Sedentary lifestyles cause those in the developed world to consume more than they burn. We spend too much time sitting down, and not enough exercising. Millions of years of evolution gave us an instinct to overconsume calories because we spent most of that time running after food, or running away from becoming food.

Now that doesn’t mean you can just eat junk food if you do a lot of jogging. Doritos and pizza every day are still going to pose a problem by increased sodium and saturated fat intake, which can cause its own own issues.  You also need a balanced diet to make sure your body is getting nutrition so you can avoid wasting money on vitamin supplements.

Unfortunately, at some point in recent decades corporations discovered that they can get people to voluntarily pay more for food by scaring them. The organic label was born, followed more recently by “non-GMO” labels. One large global survey showed that “87% of consumers globally think non-GMO is ‘healthier’“. This is a problem.

Researchers at Cornell University showed that “consumers chose beverages, side dishes and desserts containing up to 131% more calories when the main dish was positioned as ‘healthy,’ even though the main dish contained more calories than the ‘unhealthy option'”.

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Further research demonstrated, the “organic” label greatly influenced people’s perceptions. The cookies and yogurt were estimated to have significantly fewer calories when labeled “organic” and people were willing to pay up to 23.4% more for them. The nutritional aspects of these foods were also greatly biased by the health halo effect. The “organic” cookies and yogurt were said to taste ‘lower in fat’ than the “regular” variety, and the “organic” cookies and chips were thought to be more nutritious! The label even tricked people’s taste buds: when perceived as “organic”, chips seemed more appetizing and yogurt was judged to be more flavorful. “Regular” cookies were reported to taste better–possibly because people often believe healthy foods are not tasty. All of these foods were exactly the same, but a simple organic label made all the difference!”

When Post decided to get Non-GMO verified for their Grape Nuts, vitamins disappeared from their cereal because of genetic engineering used to create them. Capri Sun’s organic version of juice contains more calories and more sugar at a higher price than its conventional counterpart. A Pepsi executive even stated this about consumers “They are willing to go to organic non-GMO products even if they have high salt, high sugar, high fat.”

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The media and public are quick to jump all over the sugar industry and soda companies for downplaying the importance of reduced sugar consumption. Yet because the organic industry has developed such a “health halo” around its products, it remains free of criticism. But is telling people Oreos would be healthy if they just went “GMO free” really any better than Coca Cola telling people to consume as much junk food as they want as long as they exercise?

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