Condemn Criticism of Organic and Local Food Movement

Target: Dr. Oz, Renowned television personality

Goal: Address the flaws in Dr. Oz’s comments about organic food and tell families that it is important to make informed decisions food

Dr. Oz came out with controversial comments on the local food movement and organic foods that have mislead his viewers and contributed to people’s frustration over the constant battle between food and finances. Dr. Oz is a famous face on daytime television and an important figure in health commentary to the public. The opinions expressed on his show influence millions of viewers, and rather than emphasizing the importance of knowing where our food comes from and how it’s made, Oz chose to promote non-organic, processed foods filled with pesticides, GMOs, and dangerous chemicals.

A few months ago in an article in the Times, Dr. Oz declared organic foods to be “elitist,” “snooty” and no better than conventional foods. He stated that if things like the fact that free-range chickens and grass-fed animals live happier lives and are free of hormones are important to you and you have the money to spend, then opt for pricier organic meats, however nutritionally speaking, there is little difference. He also attacked farmers’ markets and stated that there is really no difference between nutrition in local food from the farmers market and the food from the freezer aisle at Wal-Mart.

The labels on conventional and local/organic food may list the same nutritional values, however these labels do not show the risks associated with eating food infused with toxic chemicals (pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, etc.) trucked in from thousands of miles away. With all of the recent research on the negative effects of pesticides on our health, it matters when we’re comparing organic vs. non-organic foods. Asserting that conventional, mass produced food is no different than nutrition in fresh, locally-grown food is a perversion of the truth that deceives consumers and threatens public safety.

Rather than telling his viewers that all food is the same, he should have directed readers to resources meant to help families make informed decisions about when it’s advisable to buy organic foods, and when it’s alright to buy non-organic. He could have stressed the cost savings of buying fresh, local food that is in season, and more fully analyzed the cost savings options available. However, he did not do this and should revisit these concerns on his show.


Dear Dr. Oz,

By downplaying the hazards of pesticides and other toxic chemicals in conventional food and sidestepping the health benefits of organic and pastured foods, you are not looking out for the good of your patients or your viewers. Instead, you are providing them with false information and discrediting the positive change being created by the organic and local food movements. People are frustrated over high costs of organic food but instead of addressing this issue in a way where you advocate the health benefits of organic food and offer to help families on a limited budget, you assert that organic food is not nutritionally superior and is only for the “elite.” This discredits you as a Doctor and harms your viewership.

The public asks that you revisit these comments on your show and consider the harmful impact they have had on people. It is important to tell families to make informed decisions about their food and offer guidance to families on a limited budget rather than deceive them that foods without harmful chemicals that are grown sustainably are a hoax only meant for the wealthy.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: David Berkowitz via Wikimedia Commons

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