Six things moms get wrong at the grocery store

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click image to zoomSurveyThe Gate to Plate Survey looks at what moms get wrong at the store. Click the image for the full study. Moms aren’t always right when it comes to the grocery store, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 mothers. Instead, the survey found that moms are often misinformed, especially when buying “all-natural” and “hormone-free” products.

Among the misconceptions, the survey found that many moms:

  • Reach for “all natural” products: Fifty-three percent of moms surveyed find that it’s important to purchase food labeled “all-natural." An “all natural” label does not include standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products. It doesn’t connote nutritional benefits. Consumer Reports covered the issue in 2008, suggesting that not all natural ingredients are benign.
  • Think that family farms are dying: Seven out of 10 moms in the survey think that family farms are dying. Seventy percent also believe that farmers should be a key resource for those seeking information related to food and/or farming, but four out of five moms don’t seek information from farmers. Between 96 and 98 percent of the 2.2 million farms across the country are family farms. For more information, see the USDA's Family Farms Overview.
  • Incorrectly defined organic production: Eighty-four percent think that the organic food is farmed without the use of any pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides. Half of the moms believe that organic is nutritionally better than non-organic foods. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) points that “current evidence does not support any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits from eating organic compared with conventionally grown foods, and there are not well-powered human studies that directly demonstrate health benefits or disease protection as a result of consuming an organic diet.” The  AAP released similar findings in 2012 in a report suggesting that organic milk may have no significant health advantages over conventional milk.
  • Fear GMOs: Three-quarters of the moms surveyed questioned the safety of GMO foods, while nearly half of the survey participants consider GMOS foods has nutritionally and chemically different than non-GMO food. Modern biotech crops have been commercially grown for more than 12 years, and there has not been a single documented case of an ecosystem disrupted or a person made ill. Most noticeably, earlier this year one of the founders of the anti-GMO movement announced that he was wrong about GMOs. See, “‘I was wrong about GMOs,’ environmentalist tells UK conference.”
  • Believe that local is better: More than half of the moms say locally-produced foods are always better for the environment. In some situations can take more energy to grow and harvest local food than it does it grow it far away and have it shipped. The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance offers advice for when buying local is and is not the best choice. Read more.

Click here to read the survey.

The “Gate-to-Plate” survey was commissioned by CommonGround, a grassroots coalition of women farmers who want to foster conversations among women in both farms and cities about where food comes from and how it is raised.

While the survey results may or may not be surprising to most farmers and ranchers, it can also provide conversation starters for producers ready to reach out of shoppers. In a recent blog post, farm wife and agriculture advocate Katie Olthoff looked at ways to conquer this misinformation. Read the blog.



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Kyle    
Vermont  |  April, 16, 2013 at 08:33 AM

Other than the hormone-free bullet, this article does not address the misconceptions. It simply states that they are misconceptions. Could you please elaborate on these to explain why they are misconceptions?

Amanda    
Ohio  |  April, 16, 2013 at 10:13 AM

I think the article clearly stated why there are misconceptions. It said 70% believe farmers should be a key resource for those seeking information related to food and/or farming, but four out of five moms don’t seek information from farmers. That's the reason. People are so disconnected from the people that grow their food they are at the mercy of the sensationalized media.

Tom McCullough    
Trenton, MO  |  April, 16, 2013 at 08:40 AM

Angela, Liked the premise of your article, but would like to see reasons explaining why these misconceptions are wrong. This would help educate more of us to help defend our position and correct opposition or mis- informed consumers with the facts! Thanks.

Chad    
PA  |  April, 16, 2013 at 08:57 AM

If family farms aren't dying, then why all the fuss about the need for more immigrant agricultural workers? Apparently these moms aren't aware that the term "family farm" has evolved to mean little more than a "farm not publicly traded on wall-street".

Bruce King    
STL  |  April, 16, 2013 at 09:23 AM

This article is weak. Even the hormone paragraph doesn't make it clear which growers. Provide a little data, site some studies. Make your statements stronger. This reads like you had to do this for homework, and did it on the bus on the way to school. Need more heart.

AP    
Midwest  |  April, 16, 2013 at 09:54 AM

I agree, the article is weak. We live on a family farm that has been in the family for 4 generations. I'd say the disconnect between food producers and the food consumers buying their food at the grocery store is wide.... Agribusiness marketing is extremely misleading but so is this article. Basically all I'm getting is that moms want to give their kids good food but don't really have the time/energy to get good reliable information on their food choices. And that labeling and marketing can be misleading.

Lyle    
Vermont  |  April, 16, 2013 at 09:55 AM

As an organic dairy farmer, I can assure you we are not allowed to use pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or herbicides on our land. Nor can we give our cows hormone shots and antibiotics. Moms get that.

grbobf    
Texas  |  April, 16, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Labeling has run "amok"... How is labeling pork or poultry products "hormone-free" a VALID means to DIFFERENTIATE such labeled products from those pork or poultry products NOT labeled "hormone-free" (given it is ILLEGAL in the USA, per the FDA, for pork or poultry to be treated/fed with any exogenous hormone)? I recall the Frank Perdue TV-ads once-upon-a-time where he touts Perdue chicken being hormone-free - and I thought that was challenged by Tyson's because it was a FALSE differentiation of product. I knew "truth in advertising" was more lenient, but when did "truth in labeling" get "watered down"? Oh, yeah... I guess the "hormone-free" labeled pork or chicken differentiates it from "hormone"-fed beef (and lamb?) so that consumers have an INFORMED choice? Okay, you can argue the labeling of milk as being from "cows NOT treated with BST/bovine growth hormone" as being necessary for consumer CHOICE, but, if BST was ILLEGAL, would you still justify/allow labeling the milk as being from "cows NOT treated with BST/bovine growth hormone"?.

Kyle    
Vermont  |  April, 16, 2013 at 03:04 PM

The misconception was supposed to be that family farms are dying. We are at one of the lowest numbers of farms in the country in history. This is not a misconception, it is the truth. When stating that 15% of the US workforce produces the nation's food and fiber, this includes all jobs relating to textiles and food processing. These are not farms, they are processing facilities. It seems that this misleading article has you at its mercy.

Hillary    
April, 16, 2013 at 05:11 PM

The fuss about needing more immigrant agricultural workers is because the demand for agricultural products in the US is constantly growing. Causing the family farms to grow as well. Being that family farms are ran by the family members, it is important for their children to attend schooling, so while they are not able to be at the farm other farm hands are needed. Being that the United States population today would rather enjoy a 8-5 job and not be bothered on their time off, they do not want to work on a farm. Causing employment needs to be much higher...causing the need for immigrant agricultural workers. Whom are reliable and willing to work whenever they are needed.

    
April, 16, 2013 at 05:11 PM

The fuss about needing more immigrant agricultural workers is because the demand for agricultural products in the US is constantly growing. Causing the family farms to grow as well. Being that family farms are ran by the family members, it is important for their children to attend schooling, so while they are not able to be at the farm other farm hands are needed. Being that the United States population today would rather enjoy a 8-5 job and not be bothered on their time off, they do not want to work on a farm. Causing employment needs to be much higher...causing the need for immigrant agricultural workers. Whom are reliable and willing to work whenever they are needed.

Chris Sovey, RN, BSN    
Michigan  |  April, 16, 2013 at 05:19 PM

I almost died laughing when I read through the bullet points.... No evidence for GMOs? are you kidding me? Read Jeffrey Smith's Genetic Roulette Book for an ENORMOUS amount of references from diverse sources regarding ecological and biological impact. Please: Educate yourself, open your mind, and stop spreading propaganda that is killing so many Americans. (1) Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize by Seralini, et. al: accessible at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637 "In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences." (2) A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health Vendomois, et. al. Accessible at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793308/ (3) How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals by Seralini, et. al. Accessible at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2706426/ (4) Pesticides Used in South American GMO-Based Agriculture: A Review of Their Effects on Humans and Animal Models by Lopez, et. al

Chris Sovey, RN, BSN    
April, 16, 2013 at 05:25 PM

Um: "current evidence does not support any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits from eating organic compared with conventionally grown foods, and there are not well-powered human studies that directly demonstrate health benefits or disease protection as a result of consuming an organic diet"... How about just not consuming synthetic / systemic pesticides which are documented neurotoxins.... Thanks to years of conventional farming (the USDA has tracked declines in trace minerals since the 1950s), almost all soil is deficient of necessary micronutrients nowadays ... however, the studies cited for claims like these are extremely biased and contain several conflicts of interest. When given a choice, most people would choose organic over conventional simply to avoid synthetic, systemic pesticides. There are much safer organic alternatives such as neem oil. This article is a joke.

Arturo Litvin    
OC  |  April, 17, 2013 at 12:50 AM

This article has monsanto writen all over. Check out the gmo... if you pay attention, it "American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) points that “current evidence does not support any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits from eating organic "... BUT.. we are not worried about the organic foods, we are worried about GMO!

FarmGirl    
midwest  |  April, 17, 2013 at 07:59 AM

Lyle, I am sure as an organic dairy farmer, you are able to use "Chemicals" that are labeled for organic use. This is where the misconception comes in. Unless Vermont law is drastically different (I understand there will be differences) than the laws in IL, WI, and IA, where pesticides, chemical fertilizers, etc..... that are labeled "ORGANIC" are able to be used so one does not lose its certified organic license/registration.

jesse    
michigan  |  April, 17, 2013 at 08:24 AM

Ditto. Another hit piece by conventional ag trying to stay relevant by calling the customer stupid. This is why they're dying, by the way - they forgot, in their disconnect, that the customer is always right.

Sue    
Michigan  |  April, 17, 2013 at 08:51 AM

Yeah, Jesse!

Elisha Iager    
maryland  |  April, 17, 2013 at 09:25 AM

How do you treat a cow with mastitis or an animal who accidentally cuts itself on something? Without antibiotics, how would you treat them? I have always wandered about this.

Jo    
Nebraska  |  April, 17, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Chris, R.N. While your statistics on males, liver and kidney disease are probally o.k. don't forget the many men and women who were exposed to Agent Orange in Viet Nam, who are just now developing very serious diseases such as nephrosis. These could factor in and skew your results.

Megan    
IN  |  April, 17, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Every point except the one about family farms has a link to more information.

Megan    
IN  |  April, 17, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Every point except the one about family farms has a link to more information.

Jess    
April, 17, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Actually most farms even involved with corporations are contracted and are owned by families... and the need for immigrant workers? Because unlike 50-100 years ago, our typical younger generations won't "settle" for working on the farm at a wage that family farm owners can afford to pay. If they can't afford to pay workers, crops don't get harvested, animals don't get fed. Would you work for $8 an hour doing hard farm labor? If so, you are in a minority of American citizens.

George, MS degree in ag, farmer    
MI  |  April, 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM

I laughed at your post. Hilarious. Jeff Smith is not a scientist nor a farmer. He has no training at all. He even thinks he can levitate. Would you trust a nurse or doctor who has no training in medicine and claims to levitate? The Seralini research you quote is bogus. The EU even made a special statement denouncing it. Seralini is an antiGMO activist who is funded by greenpeace. Of course his research is biased. I have looked at his data. It clearly shows rats fed the most GMO lived the longest. The nonGMO fed rats got tumors too. The research is bogus. AntiGMO activists are very antiScience. It is sad. Listen to farmers and scientists, please. Open your ears. Open your mind.

George, MS degree in ag, farmer    
April, 17, 2013 at 10:59 AM

My above post was intended as a reply to Chris Sovey the RN

Jessica    
April, 17, 2013 at 04:18 PM

Check out this informative video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU_W_jnRh8o

Lindsey Hulbert    
Kansas  |  April, 17, 2013 at 07:13 PM

This article came to me through social media, and I was most excited because this is one of the topics for my Animal Science undergrads at KSu. However, on my facebook, another woman was afronted that this seems to stereotype mothers as "dumb." I did leave her message about how mothers are considered the most important target for re-educating about animal agriculture; however, I do have to agree that as a mother, the article and the "Gate to Plate" survey upon first glance, are insulting the way the information is portrayed. If mothers are the most choosiest of customers, it is wise not to insult them by saying "YOU are so WRONG" even in a dairy article...they are the people who have the greatest thirst for knowledge about where there food comes from ; and the "farmer's story" will have the biggest impact on these consumers, so my suggestion is, you take a kinder approach at presenting this information. Don't use blame and fear tactics like the "other side" does...moms are smarter than that!

    
April, 17, 2013 at 08:07 PM

BST is a natural hormone that cows secrete.....some and not all cows in a dairy herd did not produce enough and were giving BST......like putting nitrogen on lawns, gardens and crops. Of course BST is now banned. Also, growth hormones for cattle is also banned.

Ramona Thompson    
Springfield,Ohio  |  April, 17, 2013 at 11:02 PM

Most farmers live on the land, handle, breath, etc all materials used, and with vegetables and fruits eat the produce. If these are hazardous, we would be the first harmed. If our soil was harmed, it would lower MY income. I've lived on the farm, just feet from the crops on what you'd call a commercial farm producing mostly corn and soybeans for almost 80 years and am very healthy, doing about anything I wish, not sick from all the nonexistent " hazardous". Chemicals. We have no desire to grow harmful food, if we kill you off, who would buy our produce? Corn and soy can be used in many useful items, medicines, gasoline, diesel, degradable plastics and ink in addition to food products. We were 'organic ' farmers 58 years ago, changing to produce a cheaper, better quality product, safe for all Americans.

Cindy    
April, 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Which farmer should I consult to learn how cheetos are made?

Steve    
Illinois  |  December, 31, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Continuing corn and soybean mono-cropping throughout the United States is detrimental to the health of its citizens. Cheap processed food with a long shelf life doesn't mean it is healthful. Feed-lot, pork and chicken confinements are harmful to the animals and the people that eat them. Plus the use of corn to produce ethanol is entirely counterproductive. Take note of Urban Agriculture projects that are springing up across the country. Bootcampfarms.com and plantchicago.com are two such examples. Use of bio-converters like red worms, Phoenix worms, and algae are effective methods being utilized. Vertical gardening methods like the gardentower.com do exist. Healthful food can be produced in a much smaller area without the use of synthetically produced chemicals.


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