Agriculture / Organic Farming, STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
'Organic' Taking Its Place in the Elite Dialectic?
By Staff News & Analysis - January 28, 2015

CNN: Schubert: The coming food disaster … One would expect that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the best interests of the public in mind, but its recent decisions have cast serious doubt upon this assumption. One in particular could have a dramatic impact on the safety of the U.S. food supply … A product can be labeled GM-free but still contain high levels of herbicide. The fact that agricultural chemicals are now inside the food crops that we eat is a fundamental shift in both our food production system and human exposure to toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, it is about to get even worse. – CNN

Dominant Social Theme: Don't eat herbicides.

Free-Market Analysis: This article at CNN makes the point that organic foods are increasingly preferable because of the amount of herbicides the EPA is allowing in and on food-crops.

We are beginning to see a dialectic here between "organic" and "Big Ag" crops. Big Ag uses herbicides, pesticides and GM seeds. Organic becomes the "good guy," being grown naturally and without these interferences.


Herbicides (weed killers) are mixtures of chemicals designed to spray on weeds, where they get inside the plants and inhibit enzymes required for the plant to live. The active ingredient in the most widely used herbicide is glyphosate, while some herbicides contain 2,4D. 2,4D is best known as a component of Agent Orange, a defoliant widely employed during the Vietnam War. Until the introduction of GM crops about 20 years ago, herbicides were sprayed on fields before planting, and then only sparingly used around crops. The food that we ate from the plants was free of these chemicals.

In stark contrast, with herbicide resistant GM plants, the herbicides and a mixture of other chemicals (surfactants) required to get the active ingredient into the plant are sprayed directly on the crops and are then taken up into the plant. The surrounding weeds are killed while the GM plant is engineered to resist the herbicide. Therefore, the food crop itself contains the herbicide as well as a mixture of surfactants.

To accommodate the fact that weeds are becoming glyphosate resistant, thereby requiring more herbicide use, the EPA has steadily increased its allowable concentration limit in food, and has essentially ignored our exposure to the other chemicals that are in its commercial formulation.

As a result, the amount of glyphosate-based herbicide introduced into our foods has increased enormously since the introduction of GM crops. Multiple studies have shown that glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and likely public health hazards.

Bad enough that GM crops are bathed in glyphosate; even worse, the article informs us, non-GM crops increasingly have the same problem. That's because "herbicides are now being used to rapidly kill non-GM grain crops at the end of their growing season in order to speed up harvesting."

What are the results of this increase in herbicide use on plants? "EPA sponsored studies have shown that those repeatedly exposed … have an increased risk of Parkinson's disease, cancer and birth defects."

The CNN article proposes "good organic" rather than "bad GM." It concludes with this recommendation:

What does this all mean? Consumers should consider purchasing certified organic soy and corn products until the EPA withdraws its allowance of food crops that contain herbicides, and every effort should be made to prevent the introduction of additional herbicide resistant crops. These food additives are not good for you or your children.

Several things are going on here. Somehow, US regulatory agencies have intertwined themselves with the "organic" movement – especially the US Department of Agriculture.

Organic should have been a simple enough term – food made without additives, pesticides and herbicides. "Natural" food, in other words. But certain organic labeling, as we have shown previously, involves how much carbon-dioxide trapping procedures are used among other things. Thus, one must believe in global warming to truly endorse such labeling.

There is no doubt, as we can see from this CNN article, that the descriptive "organic" is being co-opted for use in a larger dialectic: Natural versus Chemical. This may not be entirely a bad thing.

On the positive side, from an investment standpoint, the establishment of "organic" within the Big Ag dialectic means that consumers may be encouraged to consider organic products and produce.

Those companies adept enough to exploit this emergent meme (organic) may be seen as reaping the benefits of an elite-sponsored dominant social theme.

After Thoughts

If you believe in this sort of approach you are actually involved in a VESTS analysis – as "organic," like cannabis, seems to be a preferred elite thematic element for now.

Posted in Agriculture / Organic Farming, STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
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