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The Politics of Cookies and Chemophobia

February 2016
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James Kennedy does what I don’t have the patience to do.  He explains chemophobia eloquently, where as I tend to have a chuckle at the expense of those who think they’re living better than the rest of the world because they choose to eat a more “enlightened diet”, all the while they’re fueled by ignorance and an amazing willingness to throw their money out a window.

On the $$$ fuelling Chemophobia – Part 3 –

Imagine two identical cookies sitting on a table.  One is marked “biscuit”, the other is marked “organic, locally produced, carbon neutral biscuit”.  The cookies are identical.  Not made from the same stuff, one ethically and the other non-ethically…  No, the cookies are identical, in other words the only thing that is different is the label.

The quoted study showed people liked the taste of the carbon neutral, organic, locally produced cookie better.  As professor Kennedy puts it:

Manufacturers are taking advantage of this psychological trick by writing meaningless claims of moral superiority such as “natural”, “pure” and “free from {insert harmless ingredient here}” on their product labels to justify price increases at the point of sale.

Better still, later in his post he posts a chart that illustrates “Nine out of the top ten most dangerous compounds on Earth are naturally-occurring”.

He saves the best for (almost) last:

Some studies even suggest that crops on organic farms produce more pesticide within the leaves in order to protect themselves from increased rates of insect predation. Some of these natural pesticides are actually more potent skin irritants than the synthetic pesticides used in conventional farming methods.

As I’ve written many times, I have a friend who is a major player in food distribution and he laughs all the way to the bank when it comes to organic food.  Put simply, it’s an easy way to take a consumer’s money.

So, my friends, be weary of how intelligent you think you are by demanding the new super food of the day.  While you may think your eating habits separate you from the rubes, chances are more than likely you’re right.  Though you’re the rube.

**This said, my wife and I just purchased an eighth of a cow from a local butcher and I can say this:  If I have a choice, I’ll never buy beef from my local market again, especially ground beef for burgers.  I’ve never tasted such delectable beef in my life and they do use special farming methods with their cattle (minimum use of antibiotics, etc.).  I happen to be an experienced, connoisseur of cow and I’m here to tell you, the burgers I’ve made on the grill over the last two weeks are clearly distinguishable from the burgers I make from beef purchased at the local market.  So it’s not all bad – I’m just not about to make the leap that it’s a morally superior cow – or that someone else is a rube for eating what they choose to eat – because that would be rude and obnoxious.



  1. adarling575 says:

    Yes – I love this idea that “natural” is the best thing in the world. Natural childbirth killed millions of women around the world, malaria is “natural”, tapeworms etc… all natural. Penicillin? Not natural! But saving lives. And organic food is almost always actually less good for the environment that non-organic food. On the other hand – (1) I do care about the lives of the animals I eat (when I really think about it) and (2) I completely agree with your last point that actually, meat from well-looked after cows / chickens / whatever does tend to taste better. My main consumer choices come down to taste so that’s why we always buy from our local butchers!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Well, I think natural childbirth killing millions of women might be a stretch, it sounds a little dramatically enhanced at least (though it’s fair to say I’m ignorant either way). Other than that, I’m with ya, sister.

      This spring we’re up for another eighth… and this one even has a name! Our friends on the tandem raise them (Adam and Diane make appearances in many of my posts and photos). Talk about knowing where your beef comes from!

      • adarling575 says:

        not a stretch…. just women have been giving birth for a verrrrry long time and lots of them have died! i.e. half a million died in 1990 alone (admittedly a statistic I stumbled upon from a quick google) but I think one thing we can all be sure of is that in the thousands of years that women have been having children, millions have died in childbirth! And meat-wise I am very jealous – I have read about your friends on the tandem and would love to know someone like that! Our butchers is great but it’s not quite the same…..

  2. I’m sitting here thinking about an eighth of a cow. And if you were unlucky enough to order the udder, good luck with that. Should be interesting carving meat.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Comes all cut and butchered up, brother. All we have to do is slap it on the grill. We split a quarter with a couple we know. We got 56 pounds of prime ground beef, four enormous T-bones, a couple of porterhouse, a stewing roast and a bunch of delmonicos.

  3. Yes, on the buying local. We are picking up our 5th or 6th cow in a few weeks. We have a some friends that live south of us on a nice farm. We get hogs, chickens, turkeys, and beef from them. We grow a nice garden, they did not in the past so we traded veggies for meat.

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