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August 1, 2000


John Stossel, Organics


Not satisfied with having virtually the entire media mouthing their
propaganda line, the organic food
enthusiasts are trying to get ABC News to fire John Stossel, the one voice
of sanity that we have on a number of issues. Even if what they charge is
correct, which I doubt, it is not grounds for dismissal. If they fired
the reporter for every inaccurate environmental report that I have heard
broadcast, there would be a lot of silence on the air. We need to make our
voices heard if ABC at all appears to be yielding to these totalitarian
zealots. TRD

Activists dispute ABC News report on organic food
Associated Press

NEW YORK (August 2, 2000 10:44 a.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) - An
environmental watchdog group urged ABC News to fire correspondent John
Stossel, who in a report called organic food no safer than regular food
and warned it could even be dangerous.

Stossel's report, first aired on the newsmagazine "20/20" in February,
seemed in part to debunk the common belief that organic food is safer
because no pesticides are used.

"Our tests surprisingly found no pesticide residue on the conventional
samples or the organic," he said.

But the Washington-based Environmental Working Group charges that
pesticide tests were never conducted for the show. The group says it has
complained to ABC News president David Westin as well
as Stossel.

Even so, the report was repeated on a July 7 edition of "20/20." On that
broadcast, Stossel reiterated his point in a comment to anchor Cynthia
McFadden: "It's logical to worry about pesticide residues, but in our
tests, we found none on either organic or regular produce."

Stossel has won a wide following on ABC with his contrarian approach to
hot-button issues, taking on such things as government regulation and
defendants who claim to be victims. The segment's producer, David
Fitzpatrick, is traveling in Africa and unavailable for comment. The
network said neither he nor Stossel would comment until the matter could
be looked into. "We're asking everyone involved to reserve comment until
we've looked at the files and spoken directly to the producer," ABC News
spokeswoman Sonya McNair said. "If a mistake has been made, we will
correct it."

The group said scientists working for the show did test produce for
bacteria, but not for pesticides. It said chicken was tested for
pesticides, and traces were found on the regular poultry but not on the
organic poultry. This finding favorable to the organic food proponents was
not mentioned on the show, the
group said.

Thomas R. DeGregori, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
Department of Economics
University of Houston
Houston, Texas 77204-5882
Ph. 001 - 1 - 713 743-3838
Fax 001 - 1 - 713 743-3798
Email trdegreg@uh.edu
Web homepage http://www.uh.edu/~trdegreg

Date: Aug 02 2000 12:45:37 EDT
From: Intsoil@aol.com
Subject: Organic farming Response

As you all know by now, I am a strong supporter of biotechnology. At the
same time, I don't think that organic farming poses a threat.

Also, I think it would be a mistake to actually believe that most people
who buy organic products do so because of some belief that they are safer.

I buy organic produce often because it tastes better. It has absolutely
nothing to do with the fact it is organic, but most organics sold in
stores around here come from local markets. That is to say, the produce
was never chilled or frozen, probably was picked just before it became
ripe versus early and allowed to ripen in a warehouse. etc. The same is
true for Kosher foods. Many folks who buy Kosher products do so only for
the taste (many use higher quality ingredients). Again, it has nothing to
do with the product being Kosher.

If handled the same way, organic and conventionally produced produce do
taste the same. Therein is the key.

We all know the World would not do well going to a pure organic standard,
but there is no need to be concerned with organic production. If people
want it let them have it. It makes more sense than buying Go-Gurt when
you could just eat yogurt with a spoon!

By the way, compost can be used as an organic fertilizer.

Rich Kottmeyer