Even people who do this, however, should not operate under the illusion that organic food is healthier than conventional and more affordable varieties.

Last October, a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics said that organic food and non-organic food are nutritionally equivalent. The key is to eat a balanced diet.

A month earlier, Stanford researchers published their own report that showed much the same thing. “Some believe that organic food is always healthier and more nutritious,” said Crystal Smith-Spangler of Stanford’s medical school. “We were a little surprised that we didn’t find that.”

Perhaps Whole Foods should require labels that say: “May contain GMO ingredients, not that it matters.” Or: “Don’t pay high prices for organic food because it isn’t any better for you.”

Then again, that would undercut Whole Foods’ very reason for being.

In a grand irony, Whole Foods criticized food labeling last fall, when Californians voted on Proposition 37, which would have mandated special labels for foods with GMO ingredients. Initially, Whole Foods backed Prop 37, but the chain also publicized its “reservations,” due to “consumer confusion” and “costly litigation”, ultimately ending its support of the ballot initiative.

Prop 37 was a bad idea that would have raised grocery-store bills and enriched trial lawyers. At first, polls indicated that the measure would pass. In the end, following a public-education campaign, voters had the good sense to reject it.

That’s what happens when consumers know the Whole Truth.

Ted Sheely raises lettuce, cotton, tomatoes, wheat, pistachios, wine grapes and garlic on a family farm in the California San Joaquin Valley. He volunteers as a board member of Truth About Trade and Technology (www.truthabouttrade.org).

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