National director of the Organic Consumers Association of Little Marais, Minn., Ronnie Cummins is not a biologist, a veterinarian or an animal agriculture expert. He’s an environmental radical dedicated to force-feeding Americans overpriced organic food at any cost.
Yet somehow his voice manages to sneak into serious media coverage of mad cow disease.
Cummins frequently claims that mad cow disease hasn’t been diagnosed in organic cattle, but Europe would disagree. In 1995, at the height of the UK’s mad-cow crisis, the British government identified 215 separate cases of mad cow disease on organic farms. And in 2001, Germany’s first case was discovered in a small slaughterhouse that catered exclusively to the niche market of organic beef.
Around the same time, Cummins openly wished that a U.S. case of mad-cow disease would inspire a British-style “crisis of confidence” in the American food supply. This, he wrote in his group’s newsletter, would bring about “a new era of sustainable living and organic agriculture.” Pure propaganda.
Cummins and his radical “Organic Consumers Association” are engaged in an aggressive public relations offensive on behalf of so-called “natural” beef marketers. But the truth is that organic meat is no safer than the conventional products Americans buy every day.