Prevention.com recently posted an article entitled “Seven Foods That Should Never Cross Your Lips.” I assumed the list would include the usual suspects, like Twinkies, French fries, candy bars, donuts or a big favorite at the Minnesota State Fair – deep-fried cheese curds drizzled with jalapeño cheddar cheese.

However, with all the deliciously sinful calories available in today’s world, Prevention presented a head-scratching list that included: canned tomatoes, corn-fed beef, microwave popcorn, non-organic potatoes, farmed salmon, bST milk and conventional apples. The point of the piece, of course, was to push organic or natural versions of these foods, while denigrating their non-organic counterparts “loaded with toxins and chemicals.”

The article, for instance, tells readers to eschew canned tomatoes because of resins in the linings of the tin cans. Corn-fed beef, on the other hand, only means “more money for cattle farmers.” Grass-fed beef is the ticket.

Meanwhile, microwave popcorn bags contain chemicals that “may be linked” to infertility and could cause liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer. And, non-organic potatoes absorb herbicides, pesticides and fungicides; organic potatoes are the only answer because “washing isn’t good enough.”

Farmed salmon is also contaminated with all manner of bad things; only wild-caught Alaska salmon will do. Organic milk is the only dairy option, of course, because some dairy producers use recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) to increase milk production. Never mind that FDA approved its use in 1993 and regulatory agencies in 50 countries, including Canada and the European Union, have affirmed its safety.

Organic apples are suggested because of pesticide contamination in conventionally grown apples, but the article suggests, “If you can’t afford organic, be sure to wash and peel them.”

It’s easy to scare people about food and it’s also profitable. Outfits that deride the safety of conventionally produced foods do so for a number of reasons ranging from commercial or political self interest to trendy ignorance. The science just doesn’t support it.

In the scheme of everyday risks, are trumped-up dangers worth all the hysteria? Science isn’t settled and study results continually contradict each other. The truth is that our overall food supply has never been healthier, cleaner or more plentiful; and people are living longer.

Even if this fear-mongering were based in truth, no one subsists on an exclusive diet of microwave popcorn, canned tomatoes, or even deep-fried cheese curds drizzled with jalapeño cheddar cheese.
There’s nothing wrong with eating organic; just as there’s nothing wrong with eating conventional. Get on with life and remember that moderation is the key.