It’s bad enough that organic farming methods are intimately linked to a dramatic increase in deadly E. coli poisoning. Now the organic industry, which is bankrolling the fear marketing campaign against genetically improved foods, has to deal with a possible link to Parkinson’s disease, a devastating condition characterized by tremors and reduced muscle control.
According to a news report in The New York Times, the “naturally occurring” pesticide rotenone affects the mitochondria of cells in the same manner as MPTP, a drug known to cause Parkinson’s disease in mice and monkeys. Rotenone is found in 680 compounds marketed as organic garden pesticides and flea powders, said Dr. Caroline Tanner, director of clinical research at the Parkinson’s Institute. It is often sold as a white powder that is dusted onto roses, tomatoes, pears, apples and African violets, and even on household pets.
Of course, some organic believers pass on all forms of pesticides, which can lead to embarrassing moments. Recently, Jane Freiman, a New York Daily News editor and former restaurant critic, found a green worm in a salad she was eating at Jean-Georges, a top-ranked restaurant run by celebrity chef (and Chefs Collaborative supporter) Jean George Vongerichten.
According to the restaurant manager, that’s “the price you pay” for eating organic. That, and possibly E. coli poisoning or maybe even Parkinson’s disease. Finally, despite the fact that the organic industry’s PR powerhouse put a full-court press on anyone who even hinted that organic produce is more likely to give cause E. coli poisoning than conventional produce, the critics are still raising concerns. Check out the growing list of credible people voicing concern.