– Twenty-one questions for Dr. Oz: Organics-bashing TV doc given opportunity to respond to criticism (opinion) (Natural News, Dec 2, 2012):
Dr. Oz’s recently article in TIME Magazine — entitled “The anti-snob diet” — has created something of a firestorm across the internet. In his article, Dr. Oz refers to people who buy organic foods or who frequent farmers markets as “snooty” “elitist” and “snobs.” He promotes feedlot beef, conventional ice cream and canned foods while implying organic foods are “elitist” foods only for the “1%.” He even says these organic, farmers market foods are “not very democratic.”
You can’t actually read the original article, as TIME Magazine doesn’t publish it online. So you’ll have to pick up a copy of the December 3rd issue of TIME in order to read the full text of the article. But I assure you that Dr. Oz has put his name on an article in TIME that contains the quotations I’m citing here.
Nowhere in his original article does he warn his readers that conventional foods are heavily laced with chemical pesticides and GMOs, nor does he mention the mercury risk from eating tuna. His message to America? If you care about what you eat, you’re a snob!
Not surprisingly, this message didn’t fly very well with many people who care about their health. Yesterday I wrote an article about the “Dr. Oz sellout” which, for some reason, has gone super-viral across the ‘net. In that article, I called Dr. Oz a “sellout,” which only seemed appropriate, as he is calling me an “elitist snob” for choosing local, organic foods. (Yes, I shop at local farmers markets and food co-ops. I guess that suddenly makes me an “elitist snob” according to Oz. That’s especially funny because last week I was called a “tree-hugging hippy” for doing the exact same thing.)
As my article on Oz has become so widely-shared, I wanted to give the guy a chance to respond to it. Did he misspeak? Did TIME Magazine accidentally put his name on an article written by some other person who is nutritionally illiterate? Did the TIME editor screw up and somehow rearrange the words to make it seem like he was saying something he didn’t mean to say?
What’s the deal, Dr. Oz? Are you really saying what’s printed in TIME Magazine, or was there some sort of bizarre error that only makes you appear to be completely out of touch with American food culture when you actually aren’t?
So I’ve put together a list of twenty-one questions for Oz, and many of these questions have actually come to me from readers and Facebook followers. If Dr. Oz will answers these questions, I will gladly publish his answers here on Natural News.
And if Oz retracts his original article in TIME and comes out in favor of organic foods for everyone (not just the 1%) while also getting fully behind GMO labeling, I will even pull my original article and replace it with a glowing review of Oz’s embracing of organics and honest labeling.
So here are the twenty-one questions I have for Dr. Oz, the man who says buying local, organic foods makes you an elitist, snooty food snob. (And gee, I thought that only applied to people who frequented wine-and-cheese parties…)
Twenty-one questions for Dr. Oz
1) Your article implies that organic food is only for “the 1%,” blurring your message with the recent “Occupy” movement which vilified the “1%” and insisted the People represent the “99%.” Yet the Occupy movement activists are the very same people who fight against Monsanto, GMOs, synthetic pesticides, corporate agriculture and all the conventional processed foods you promote in your article. Don’t you think you have the metaphor backwards? The 1% are the evil corporations pushing poisons and GMOs. The 99% are the people who want clean food. Which side are YOU really on here?
2) Why do you engage in name-calling of organic consumers, calling them “food snobs” when all they want is healthy, clean food grown without synthetic chemicals? What is snobbish about not wanting to eat cancer-causing GMOs or synthetic chemical pesticides?
3) Why does your TIME Magazine article fail to mention the pesticides and GMOs found in non-organic foods? To discuss food choice without mentioning the risks associated with synthetic chemicals in one class of food versus another seems disingenuous. It actually seems like you’re intentionally glossing over these risks as if you’re trying to hide them from readers. What credible health person would talk about organic versus conventional foods and not mention the 800-pound gorilla of pesticide chemicals?
4) Your article recommends canned tuna fish but completely fails to mention the high levels of mercury found in canned fish. Do you want people to eat more mercury? If so, how much? Does this go for pregnant women, too? And what if they also take the vaccine shots you recommend on your show, as vaccines are also contaminated with mercury…
5) Your article promotes conventional ice cream, canned foods and frozen processed foods as healthy food choices. Your justification is that they are more affordable, yet in truth farmer’s market vegetables and food staples are far less expensive than processed factory foods. Don’t you think you have your economics backwards?
6) Your article seems to contradict much of what you’ve said over the years about organics. The obvious question is: Were you paid by a P.R. firm to put your name on this article which was largely ghostwritten by them? Or did you come up with the entire article all by yourself? Your article also mirrors the words of TIME Magazine editor Rick Stengel who recently argued on national TV that canned food is nutritionally identical to organic food (much to the laughter of everybody with an IQ above room temperature).
7) Why have you so far failed to openly endorse GMO labeling of foods? Are you siding with Monsanto on this issue, or are you siding with transparency and honest labeling?
8) Do you have any financial ties to the processed food industry or biotech industry? If so, are you willing to disclose them in the interests of full transparency?
9) You promote ice cream as a healthy food, but why do you fail to mention the importance of choosing organic ice cream that has not been produced with the help of genetically-engineered growth hormones?
10) Why are you promoting feedlot beef? And why do you not call for the ethical treatment of animals? Is animal cruelty acceptable to you?
11) If you consider people who buy farmers market foods and organic foods to be “snobs” and “elitists,” do you also believe that America’s hard-working organic farmers are, themselves, snobby elitists, too? Is the growing of local, organic food now going to be ridiculed and insulted by you on a regular basis, or was it a one-time thing?
12) Why does your article fail to mention or even consider the environmental impacts of conventional farming, which causes toxic pesticide runoff to contaminate rivers and streams? It’s almost as if you’re imagining conventional agriculture and organic agriculture are identical… and of course, they are far from it.
13) You’ve promoted and eaten organic foods for many years. Are you now going to banish organic foods from your own home and eat only pesticide-produced conventional foods? Or are you going to be a “food snob,” as you say, and choose organic only for yourself (but not for your readers)?
14) If someone grows their own lettuce in their home garden, producing “better-than-organic” food from a humble piece of dirt so that they can feed their family real food, are they also “food snobs?” What is snobbish about gardening?
15) In your article, you write, “Organic food is great, it’s just not very democratic.” Many people see this statement as an insult to both democracy and organic food. Can you explain what you mean by organic food being “not very democratic?”
16) In your article, you say, “The [conventional] American food supply is … affordable and … comparable to the most elite organic diets.” Why do you call organic diets “elite” when organic is the simplest, most fundamental way in which our entire ancestry was raised up until the early 20th century? What could be more non-elitist than buying honest food from your neighbor who grew it without chemicals on his own local farm? Doesn’t that actually resemble the food system of simple peasants rather than elitists?
17) You call the pursuit of organic diets “elitism” and call organic consumers “snobs.” And yet your message of promoting more pesticides and GMO foods actually serves the interests of the global elite corporations. Doesn’t your propaganda piece in TIME Magazine actually serve the profit interests of elitist corporations and elitist magazines like TIME which actually ordained Adolf Hitler “Man of the Year?”
18) You call people who care about what they eat “elitist” and “snooty” and “snobs.” Are you soon going to extend that to people who care about their fitness? Will you and TIME Magazine soon condemn people who exercise as being “snooty fitness elitists” and encourage everyone to sit on the couch, eating your ice cream and tuna fish sandwiches while they become obese and diseased? (Time to get vaccinated again!)
19) You talk about food affordability but fail to mention the reason corn-based processed foods are so affordable is because of government subsidies. Isn’t it true that if subsidies were eliminated and a free market was restored to agriculture, conventional food prices would be a lot closer to organic food prices? So why shouldn’t the government subsidize organic, if you believe in subsidies?
20) Do you consider the people who watch your show and eat organic, farmers market foods to be elitist snobs also? So let me get this straight: You, the man with multi-million-dollar contracts and TV celebrity, are a “regular guy” while the members of your audience who buy organic food at the farmers markets are “elitist snobs.” Did I get that right?
21) When are you going to retract your original TIME Magazine article and apologize to the organic community for calling them elitist snobs and assaulting the very idea of seeking out healthful foods grown without pesticides and GMOs?
We await your reply here at Natural News, and if you reply with genuine answers, we will gladly publish your reply. I’ll be happy to answer your questions, too, if you would ask some of me.