Driessen is WRONG on so many levels!

Long-time reader responds to a recent article by Paul Driessen about “false and misleading organic claims.

Driessen is WRONG on so many levels!

Caroline Snyder

As a fruit and vegetable grower for some 40 years, I have reviewed the literature extensively. I am also a Nutritional Biochemist and have several published works under my name. Driessen does NOT have a fraction of my expertise on this.

TRUST me – Genetically engineered crops and the use of Bt crops and Round-Up resistant varieties (Syngenta and Monsanto) ARE associated with deterioration in the environment, and in people’s health, as well as those companies incredibly successful efforts to wipe out biological diversity in food by buying up numerous small seed producers and “disappearing” thousands of varieties that our forefathers grew.

I could write a book but don’t have the time, but challenge me on this and I WILL give you properly-researched answers!

Nutritional Quality of Organic Versus Conventional
Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains:

Results: Organic crops contained significantly more vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus and significantly less nitrates than conventional crops. There were nonsignificant trends
showing less protein but of a better quality and a higher content of nutritionally significant minerals with lower amounts of some heavy metals in organic crops compared to conventional ones.

Conclusions: There appear to be genuine differences in the nutrient content of organic and
conventional crops.

LINK – https://ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/608-794.pdf

Compositional differences in soybeans on the market:
Glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans


Glyphosate tolerant GM soybeans contain high residues of glyphosate and AMPA.

Soybeans from different agricultural practices differ in nutritional quality.

Organic soybeans showed a more healthy nutritional profile than other soybeans.

Organic soy contained more sugars, protein and zinc, but less fibre and omega-6.

This study rejects that GM soy is “substantially equivalent” to non-GM soybeans.


Ten-Year Comparison of the Influence of Organic and Conventional Crop Management Practices on the Content of Flavonoids in Tomatoes

Comparisons of analyses of archived samples from conventional and organic production systems demonstrated statistically higher levels (P < 0.05) of quercetin and kaempferol aglycones in organic tomatoes. Ten-year mean levels of quercetin and kaempferol in organic tomatoes [115.5 and 63.3 mg g-1 of dry matter (DM)] were 79 and 97% higher than those in conventional tomatoes (64.6 and 32.06 mg g-1 of DM), respectively. The levels of flavonoids increased over time in samples from organic treatments, whereas the levels of flavonoids did not vary significantly in conventional treatments. This increase corresponds not only with increasing amounts of soil organic matter accumulating in organic plots but also with reduced manure application rates once soils in the organic systems had reached equilibrium levels of organic matter. Well-quantified changes in tomato nutrients over years in organic farming systems have not been reported previously.


26 thoughts on “Driessen is WRONG on so many levels!”

  1. Industrial agriculture has co-opted and perverted the “organic” brand. I’m happy to see this response to Driessen’s article. Driessen may be right on many things, but the problems with Organic are with industrial agriculture, not with the original concept of organic. Bio-dynamic and permaculture are the new “organic”. It is impressive that “organic” has still managed to retain some benefits even after industrial agriculture has perverted and watered it down.

    I was most impressed by the livestock feed experiments, where livestock were given piles of feed, one pile GMO, one pile conventional, one pile organic. After initial nibbles and tasting, the organic pile vanished first, then conventional, and they avoided GMO as much as possible. They only ate it if there was no other choice.

    A friend, now deceased, Dan Small of Vancouver BC, did a similar experiment with beer. He made batches of beer with organic and conventional grains, then put the 5 gallon batches in his fridge with a spigot. He didn’t label them or tell his roommates what they were. Over time, he noticed that the organic beer disappeared a lot faster than the conventional beer. I myself noticed a distinct difference in color between beer made with organic vs conventional barley. The organic barley made a brew that had deeper, richer color while it was fermenting.

      • Not sure about other countries, but here in Japan you can only use the word organic if you have been inspected by the organisation JAS. It is illegal to say organic otherwise..
        I am actually a full time farmer and I have the JAS certification. Every year all my fields are inspected, the soil, the neighbouring fields. Space between, etc. I have to also keep records of everything I do and grow, quantities, what I use. Soil lists, seed lists, everything. Everything must have a JAS mark and certificate to go with it to prove it is really organic. Even before I got JAS registration I only ever grew vegetables naturally anyway. It has always been my policy not use any chemicals of any sort.
        True organic produce does taste better and is more healthy, that is a fact, because there are no chemicals to influence/change the natural taste.
        As for taste, weather also plays a huge part too, for example not enough rain and sunshine and corns will not be as juicy and sweet.
        As for weeds and soil balance/nutrition, I use mulch sheets in which I grow my vegetables through which helps keep the weeds down and holds in the moisture too during dry spells.
        Soil preperation for organic vegetables is harder than conventional and without proper soil preparation will yield poor results.

        So anything here in Japan that says organic and has the JAS mark you can be assured it really is organic.

  2. US farmers switched from plowing to “no till” farming to reduce soil losses from erosion when planting corn and soybeans. They saved money by not plowing, but their fields were overrun by weeds. To kill the weeds they used glyphosate and similar weedkillers, along with genetically modified seeds that were immune to glyphosate. As the weeds also become immune to glyphosate, farmers will have to switch to non-chemical means to control weeds, such as fabric weed barriers. European farmers use glyphosate as a way to dry their wheat crop just prior to harvest, leaving a heavy residue of glyphosate on European grown wheat. Who is more environmentally conscious?

  3. When I see organic in the grocery store, I run. Organic is a rip off where premium prices are charged for items that look really bad and have to be consumed within minutes of taking them home or soon you have a black tomato that is as mushy as as days old carrion. I live down the road from an organic orchardist and a farmer. What they tell you and what I’ve seen when your food is still in the ground is not pretty or really chemical free.

  4. Yep, many of us have been storing back seed that will re=germinate. I have never used any of the toxins on the market to control weeds or critters on my fruits and vegetables.
    GMO seed buyers will be in for a rude awakening if they try to use stored seed put back for replanting.

    Is there really a difference between starving or going malnutrition from lack of vitamins and essential minerals?
    The hell with Monsanto and Syngenta, the sooner the better!

  5. Since it has been a very long time between now and the last ice age it is reasonable to assume that there are mineral deficiencies in many of the worlds soils especially ones far from active volcanoes. To counter this it has been found that adding rock dust can be quite effective in replacing leached out trace elements that are needed for vigorous plant growth…. Basalt in powder form is one of the best soil additives followed by carbonatite and glacial rock dust. With sufficient remineralization the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides should be almost unnecessary.

  6. I bought organic foodstuff once only. 2 Kg of rice, which consisted of a large proportion of what appeared to be tissue paper & a menagrie of crawly things, weevils, I believe! Had no idea that tissue paper & weevils could push the price up by 10%.
    Being an Australian I can assure you that food produced in this country is probably the cleanest on the planet. An “organic” label is simply a producer/s trying to con a couple more $$$ out of the consumer!

  7. ” Results: Organic crops contained significantly more vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus and significantly less nitrates than conventional crops. There were nonsignificant trends showing less protein but of a better quality and a higher content of nutritionally significant minerals with lower amounts of some heavy metals in organic crops compared to conventional ones. “

    Please can you qualify what you mean by “better quality”. Better how? Better why? Or is this evidence of the usual magic of ‘organic’ crops?
    Quercetin and kaempferol aglycones vary a lot depending on the growing conditions, and vary considerably between VARIETIES of tomato.

    Yes I’ve often eaten so called ‘organic’ produce and I eat regular produce, to be honest I can not taste any difference — I do see the price difference which I feel is not worth it.
    A few years ago I regularly ate much of what I grew. It tasted so much better than any shop bought produce mainly because I could pick it when it was at it’s peak ripeness. Also I grew a range of different varieties, often tastier versions, of fruits and vegetables often types that that did not store or travel well.

    Most shop fruit and vegetables are grow as vast acreages of mono-cultures, grown not for their flavor or nutritional content but for looks and keeping qualities. Most of this produce is picked unripe, stored in refrigerated and controlled atmospheres warehouses, then when needed are artificially ripened with gas (ethylene), before being sold. The taste is much reduced from this process but it does mean that there is a reliable product for sale throughout most seasons.

    Still if you wish to eat ‘organic’ food go ahead and pay the extra.

    Also is there anything more ‘inorganic’ than fake food like egg substitutes, and soya and vegetable derived meat substitutes. An industrial/chemical process to make an a much inferior product.

  8. Oh, good grief!
    When reading this and looking at all of the citations, I thought:
    A while ago I stumbled on a site ‘Skeptical Science”, which is almost hysterical about man-caused climate disruptions.
    And do they cite “peer-reviewed” stuff!
    Almost enough to make you sick.
    Same distorted nonsense.

  9. I’ve never had cause to comment here before. However, I am so relieved to see this counterpoise to Driessens’ terrible hit piece that I am weighing in to express my relief. I was on the verge of giving up on the platform, if his argument was one which the site endorsed.

    Seeing that at the least, the presentation of different opinions on this subject has been allowed, I’m more than happy to continue as a reader. The irony of having the very ‘anti-estabiishment’ MAN MADE CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER hypothesis wrapped in a cloak of statist “send the government after those renegade small farmers and non-gmo eaters” – such as Driesse n would have it – is simply insufferable; it smacks of the very same brand of fascistic totalitarianism as the ‘warmists’ practice.

    Thanks SO much for preeenting Carolines’ riposte, even if it doesn’t begin to counter the full extent of Driessens erroneous blugeoning of freedom of choice.

  10. Yes – those shriveled, dried up grains contain more nutrients , weight for weight, than the healthy full sized grains grown under better conditions.

    However, on a nutrients per hectare basis the real farming methods are far more productive. How much of the world’s population would we be able to feed without irrigation?

  11. thank you Caroline!
    i always laugh when they claim FALSELY that we couldnt survive without their gmo crapcrops n chem/pesticide system
    amazing how humans ever survived at all if that was true,
    we would have died out as soon as the hunt/gather walk miles a day/lifetime option ceased;-))
    ALL of history we farmed using manures and compost and fed billions over those yrs.
    what we lost to pests STILL is better than losing soil health good bugs n bees and humans health as well.
    what you didnt sell off farm was retained fed their own livestock and returned to the farms own soils very little mineral or other losses

    I refer skeptics of organic farming to the american great of early research into soils plants etc sadly deceased a Dr W A Albrecht . his books are reprinted and worth their weight in gold for sound advice.

  12. ROUNDUP…

    They say: “It’s Safer than Mowing”; “Biodegradable”;”Environmentally Friendly”


    Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is the third most commonly-reported cause of pesticide illness among agricultural workers in California.

    Glyphosate is the most commonly reported cause of pesticide illness among landscape maintenance workers in California.

    The surfactant ingredient in Roundup is more acutely toxic than glyphosate itself and the combination of the two is yet more toxic.

    Glyphosate is suspected of causing genetic damage.

    Glyphosate is acutely toxic to fish and birds and can kill beneficial insects and soil organisms that maintain ecological balance.

    Laboratory studies have identified adverse effects of glyphosate-containing products in all standard categories of toxicological testing.

    Glyphosate residues in soil can persist over a year.

    Glyphosate residues has been found in strawberries, wild blueberries and raspberries, lettuce, carrots and barley.

    Glyphosate has been measured 1,300 – 2,600 feet away from its application site.

    This year Monsanto, manufacturer of Roundup, agreed with the New York Attorney General’s office to discontinue their use of the terms “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly” in ads promoting glyphosate-based products, including Roundup.


    Cox, Caroline. 1995. Glyphosate, Pt. 1: Toxicology
    Journal of Pesticide Reform Vol.15, No.3:14 -20
    Cox, Caroline. 1995. Glyphosate, Pt. 2: Human Exposure and Ecological Effects
    Journal of Pesticide Reform Vol.15, No.4:14-19
    Moses,Marion. 1995. Designer Poisons

  13. Joseph, I hope he does. I enjoy debate!

    He IS right about the potential for toxicity for (synthetic) pyrethroids and for Pyrethrum/Tanacetum compounds; also the actual flower, I experienced a SEVERE acute reaction to Pyrethrum three years ago – excarcerbation of my Multiple Sclerosis almosts to the extent of seizures. No-one else in the house (15 of us) suffered a reaction except for an elderly friend who had a bout of asthma almost immediately. However, in teh US, Tagetes/Pyrethoids/Pyrethrum do NOT appear to be on the list of organic plant treatments published by the USDA – which can be found here:

    The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances


  14. Arty Belus considered giving up on the site but changed his mind when Robert published the other side of the argument.

    Robert W Felix has lost important contributors to this site because he insisted on posting both sides of a conflict when they were available.

  15. Gordon Pratt – whie admittedly I don’t understand fully what you are saying – I’d like to emphasis the serious consequences of the polarization on display here.

    The air of sneering contempt which proponents of the “GMO-BIG PHARMA” lifestyle here have fashioned their comments from is extremely divisive. As if anti-warmists weren’t already enough of a small endangered species – do we really need an internecine war to occupy us?

    Nobody has a monopoly on scientific knowledge – and EVERYONE has the chance to EMPIRICALLY prove out their contention. One of the best ways of doing so is to get ones’ hands dirty – in the soil that is!

    Good tilth and soil health have a remarkable effect on the end result – what we consume. When they are ignored in favor of mere quantity oriented production. the results are telling. The only proper place for this dispute to take place is in the field – literally.

    Here on these pages, I wish we could all make a bit of effort to coalesce around a “big tent” approach – so that the main enemy – warmist loons and their corporate backers – do not gain a cheap victory from the encouragement of knives in each others backs.

  16. You are wrong of course, Centurion. The term “organic” has nothing to do with the natural hybridisation of cultivars from seed that has occurred over millennia. It has everything to do with soil enrichment and soil biome improvement through the use of anything from calcified seaweed to rotted animal manure to compost, to bloodmeal, to ground mineral-rich products and the avoidance, according a country’s laws of “un-natural” chemical compounds in crop production and processing.

    Each country has specific standards and requirements to obtain that “organic” label. It is perfectly OK to grow organically from a naturally-hybridised seed (selectively bred over generations for certain characteristics such as size, flavour, insect and mold resistance, or resistance to cold, excesssive rainfall or heat, for example.

    GM crops do NOT happen naturally. Example – inserting a flounder gene into a tomato to increase the fruit’s frost-tolerance would never occur naturally. Yes, Monsanto tried THAT one and it was a disaster!

  17. Caroline Snyder can not say that Driessen is wrong! She made an affirmation with results but she did not specify how the tests and the comparison were made. Did she measure on plants grown in the same land or plants in a rich land for one and another in a poor land? (to have a valid comparison, it is necessary to be in under strictly identical conditions and its document does not seem to me indicated the quality of the ground nor its nature)

  18. Talk about a lightning rod!

    This subject brought a lot of subterranean readers up into the light, exceeded only by the article on Costco soup!

    Go figure.

  19. There are some extraneous issues kicking around this thread. Fraud in the organic industry is real. I have seen it up close. That is a separate issue from an objective comparison between authentically grown organic produce and the chemical intensive variety on pound for pound basis. Likewise, talking about produce that has been sitting on a shelf or in transit for too long is a separate issue. What I can tell you is that I have produced the authentic organic item for many years and the anguish that customers show when a particular item runs out is almost heartbreaking. New costumers who are used to the chemical intensive product on the store shelves are overwhelmed with the difference and lament on what they have been missing for so many years.

  20. If there were never insecticides then mosquito born diseases that were endemic in the US — yellow fever, malaria, etc would still be prevalent. Europe too would still be have malaria. Ticks, lice, and many other internal and external parasites that would be spreading nastier diseases everywhere.
    So be aware that if it were not for our historical use of these chemical our lives would be shorter, nastier, and far more painful.

Comments are closed.