Why the Continuing Controversy When There is So Much Agreement

2/3/2014 10:11 AM

Last week Slate Magazine published an in-depth article which presented science based information on why parents can feed their kids conventional produce with confidence.  The article concluded that:   “What all this means for parents is that we should stop worrying so much about whether the apples we buy are organic or conventional—we should just start giving our kids more apples.” This conclusion is strongly supported by health experts, scientists, environmental groups and the First Lady. 

The Slate article featured peer reviewed papers, government data, interviews with scientists and provided information that may help consumers make better shopping choices for themselves and their families.   But once again there were numerous negative comments and social media discussions in response to the content.  We have seen this type of response and controversy before and it seems to continue despite general agreement about the safety of organic and conventional produce and that common fear based misconceptions about produce safety can discourage healthier eating. 

Some examples:

“EWG believes organic and conventional produce is safe to eat.”Alex Formuzis, Environmental Working Group, Huffington Post

“Completely agree - fear not useful. Informed choices can minimize risk to kids & help build healthier food system.”  Kristin Schafer, Pesticide Action Network, Twitter Post.

 “If you don’t feed your kid the ‘right strawberry,’ what do you feed him?” I’ve walked into markets with a hungry kid and been so afraid to buy the conventional apple that I’ve gotten him a snack pack of Annie’s Crackers instead. And I know there are parents who buy the Peter Rabbit Organics Fruit Pouches at Starbucks because they don’t know whether the bananas on display are organic. These aren't smart moves. It is far, far better for your kids’ long-term health to get them in the habit of eating whole fruits and vegetables, regardless of what type of farm they came from, than to give them pretty much anything else to eat, no matter how organic or all-natural it may be.” University of Michigan Decision Psychologist Brian Zikmund-Fisher, Excerpt from Slate Magazine article.

So there is general agreement that the presentation of science based information to consumers is a positive thing, that generating misguided fears about residues is detrimental to efforts to increase daily consumption of fruits and veggies for better health, and that both organic and conventional produce is safe and we should all be eating more.  It seems on the issues of most importance for consumers, there is more agreement than controversy. 

Read, learn, choose but eat more organic and conventional fruits and veggies for better health and a longer life.



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