By Gary Truitt
The food police, failing to scare us all into adopting their way of life by scare stories in the media, have turned to a new tactic. The radical activist group Friends of the Earth is urging public health advocates, environmentalists, and concerned customers to storm their local Kroger store demanding they remove certain food items from store shelves.
They are targeting 10 locations across the U.S. including Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Eugene, OR; Houston, TX; Oakland, CA; Portland, OR; Raleigh, NC; and Washington, D.C. They plan to have banners and pass out leaflets that will likely get them kicked out of most Kroger stores. While the tactic is new, the message is old. They want Kroger to stop selling food grown with toxic pesticides and increase offerings of domestic organic food. The toxic pesticides are the same old whipping boys this group and others like it have used for years: glyphosate, organophosphates, and neonicotinoids.
The group claims that people across the country are swarming the retailer to demand that the company commit to eliminating these toxic pesticides from the food — a gross exaggeration of reality. They claim that nearly 500,000 people have signed petitions to Kroger demanding it stop selling food grown with toxic pesticides, yet even this is a rather paltry number when it comes to petitions.
There are two real issues here: scientific integrity and the right to choose. Despite the science fiction that these nescient mouthpieces spout, the truth is there is no certifiable, verifiable, and replicable proof that these food items are not safe to eat. There is, however, incontrovertible proof that foods produced organically do use pesticides and fertilizers and are no more nutritious or safe than non-organic foods.
Be that as it may, these folks are free to not eat food they do not trust and have the right to ask Kroger to carry more of what they want. They do NOT have the right to dictate the food choices of others. When they cannot get the science to support their fallacious, preconceived ideas, and the media and regulators turn a deaf ear to their monotonous rantings, they resort to the old “I know better than you” mentality and use it to justify their demands to remove certain products from our grasp.
It is important that Kroger and other retailers see this for what it is. The retail food business is a very competitive industry. The actions of this group could make some folks in the corporate PR and marketing departments pay attention to this kind of bunkum. The ag sector must send a message that is loud and clear: the food we produce is safe, and the products and processes used are regulated and inspected. Removal of food products because of pressure from radical activist groups must not be permitted.