Organic Consumers Assn fibs about Chipotle big time

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Farmers Market in Westport

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is the propaganda arm of the organic food industry , despite being framed as a non-profit educational organization. They have a revenue stream of $3.3 million provided from individual and corporate donations (both unidentified). Their expenditures include supporting the US Right To Know campaign, which slanders biotech scientists. They also spread misinformation about the dangers of GMO crops and neonicotinoids danger to bees (both completely untrue).

Until now its biggest tall tales have been that organic crops are not sprayed with pesticides (they definitely are) and that organic foods are somehow more nutritious (they are not). In fact organic superiority is until now the OCA’s main Big Lie, debunked in detail in this paper. If you squint and try to ignore their claims, you can dismiss all this as marketing hype.

However, when the National Organic Program was announced in December , 2000, Agricultural Secretary Dan Glickman explained:

“Let me be clear about one thing. The organic label is a marketing tool. It is not a statement about food safety. Nor is ‘organic’ a value judgment about nutrition or quality.”

But now, however, the OCA has gone much too far, publishing a claim that the troubled Chipotle restaurant chain has been sabotaged by pro-GMO activists. As Henry Miller wrote in Forbes, Chipotle was defeated by doing nothing well. They embarked on an anti-GMO campaign purely for marketing purposes, claiming their foods were safer, instead of concentrating on actual food safety. This was just fear marketing as described in the Daily Beast.

But the OCA went farther in claiming not only that Chipotle had been sabotaged, but that a unique strain of E. coli was involved. That much is true, but they implied that some evil doer had access to such strains, limiting the culprit to a few laboratories, presumably. But that just isn’t true, as you can see from the CDC report. The OCA’s move from mendacious marketing hype to serious conspiracy theories puts them in the same category of crazy as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.

And in fact, this conspiracy theory actually originated with Mike Adams, proprietor of Natural News, and #1 on the list of the Encyclopedia of American Loons. Natural News is a collection of crazy and paranoid theories that Adams hatches daily to sell his “natural” products. He is also anti-vax, anti-GMO, and anti-gun background checking. And it was Adams that appears to have made up this bizarre theory that GMO activists had sabotaged Chipotle.  This appeared on Natural News on December 23 and on the equally unreliable Real Farmacy site the next day. The fact that the somewhat more sober OCA picked up on this lie that same day shows how desperate they are getting, now the GMO acceptance much more common and widespread. But there is simply no evidence for this wacko claim! And the article appears to be word for word the same on all three sites.

And here’s the kicker: even Chipotle has denied this sabotage theory to Snopes. It just isn’t true and the OCA knows it. They are lying big time to smear biotechnogy for their commercial ends! Neither the OCA nor Adams has provided a shred of evidence for this accusation.

Chipotle’s food poisoning problem is caused by dealing with too many small suppliers and insufficient record keeping to track them down when something like this occurs.  The entire fault lies with them, not with wild conspiracies. Shame on the OCA for spreading this dangerous misinformation.

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