Bad news abounds for organic-only food activists, as the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues told the British Crop Protection Council this week that organic farming on a global basis “would be an environmental catastrophe.”
Apparently, a University of Manitoba researcher has estimated that in an organic-farming-only world, it would take the manure of 7 to 8 billion additional cattle to replace all the nitrogen presently used in conventional agriculture. And the government of Denmark, one of the world’s most organic-friendly nations, has concluded that converting the entire country to organic agriculture would slash food production by 47 percent.
In the wake of the USDA’s new organic labeling program, Americans are growing more and more concerned about the implications of a totally organic future. Small farm producers are learning that the costs of organic certification can quickly put them out of business. In the United Kingdom, no anti-organic monolith, the Food Standards Agency is shunning organic farming in favor of tried-and-true conventional methods. Even school menu planners who have embraced organic-only orthodoxy have had to backtrack in recent months, as students are turning their nose up at higher-priced organic options.
The Institute of Food Technologists thinks it knows why all of this is happening. “Organic foods,” it said in a recent statement, “are not superior in nutritional quality or safety when compared against conventional foods.” And “organics do have the potential for greater pathogen contamination.”
Nevertheless, activists march onward with their scientifically questionable message machines running at full-tilt. One commentator recently observed, correctly, that groups like the misnamed Center for Food Safety “specialize in scaring suckers into believing the crisis du jour they spend their working days creating.”