A Kansas Family Farmer Takes Issue with a Recent "Time" Article

Jul 23, 2015

Credit Creative Commons

Family farmer and agriculture advocate Katie Sawyer recently came across an article in Time magazine that questioned the safety of eating pork. While Sawyer admitted that the article’s author got it “half right,” she took to Kansas AgLand to set the record straight.

The Time author, Urvashi Rangan, director of consumer safety and sustainability at Consumer Reports, advised readers to look for labels reading “organic,” “Global Animal Partnership” or “Animal Welfare Approved,” adding “Don’t be duped by meaningless labels reading ‘natural’ or ‘no hormones added’– legally, hormones aren’t allowed in pork production.”

Sawyer agrees that hormones aren’t allowed in pork and the natural label is just for show. But she was troubled by the fact that Rangan had given credence to labels verifying animal welfare and feeding practices, which are endorsed not by the Food and Drug Administration but rather by unregulated, nonprofit organizations.

“I’m not here to contest the importance of animal welfare; it’s central to the productivity of our farm,” writes Sawyer. “But society’s lack of understanding of farm practices and the demand for labels as a means of keeping up with trendy buying habits have created a dangerous and potentially harmful environment that could quickly and unnecessarily undo hundreds of years of advances and improvements in the agriculture industry.”

Sawyer’s point is backed up by recent Pew research polls, which show that the gap between scientific truth concerning hormones and organic foods and what the public believes to be true is widening.

You can read Sawyer’s editorial here.