It seems like every day I find an article on the internet or an ad on TV telling me I should only eat organic, or that I should shop at farmer’s markets if I want safe food for my family, or that I should only buy antibiotic-free meat. (All meat purchased in grocery stores is antibiotic-free by the way.) If I didn’t have a background in agriculture, I would probably be confused by these ads and articles. Many of these ads or articles are intended to promote one type of agriculture over the other. However, in the process of promoting one product or method, we have created confusion about all of agriculture. This is bad.
The purpose of advertising is to sell or promote a product, I get that. What I don’t understand is why people find it necessary to destroy another product or method of production when trying to promote their own product/method. And to be honest, I’m tired of all of the scare tactics being used to convince me, and other consumers, that only this type of food is safe, or that this type of vendor is the only place where safe food exists. I can find safe food for my family in many locations, not just at a farmer’s market.
Many of the scare tactics being used in advertising are aimed at how farmers produce food. This may not be the original intent, but it is happening. Farmers today are faced with feeding more people than ever before. And, they are challenged with doing this on fewer acres than farmers did in the past. This is not a task farmers take lightly.
Farmers are using technology to help meet the ever growing demand of producing enough food for our friends, our neighbors and our nation. There are groups attacking farmers because they have changed how they farm. The reason for this change is to protect and improve our food supply. These groups use this as a way to attack modern production methods and to promote a certain product over another. They use scare tactics to make people believe only one type of food is safe.
I recently saw an ad promoting organic food as the only safe food for growing children. This is not true. Organic food is not the only food that is safe to eat. There are no scientific studies that prove organic food is healthier. Organic is a personal choice, period. And the reality is organic food is more expensive. Many families, including my own, choose not to buy organic food or can not afford to buy organic food. This doesn’t mean we love our kids less, or that we are against organic, it means we have a personal choice to make. I like having the freedom to make this choice.
I saw a label on a package of chicken the other day in a grocery store that said ‘hormone-free chicken.’ The chicken cost about $2.00 per pound more than the chicken that didn’t have this label on it. I chuckled because there are no hormones approved by FDA to be used in raising chickens. All chicken is hormone-free. This is an advertising tactic to make consumers want to pay more money for the label because of the words hormone-free.
Using scare tactics when it comes to our food supply is dangerous. It’s risky because we all need to eat, and many of us prefer to eat 3 times a day. Using fear and false advertising as a way to promote products only creates confusion. Confusion can result in unnecessary regulations on our food supply that could result in less food being produced or food costs rising. It’s time advertising campaigns got back to the basics of promoting their products without destroying another product in the process.