Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the September 29, 2004 issue of U.S.

1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between The Lines

On the same day that we marveled at the organizational structure and

scrumptious, organic foodstuffs of the new Whole Foods supermarket on

Route 1, another publication was printing a story with a seemingly

contradictory headline.

The article, written by Abigail Leichman of the North Jersey Media

Group, a group of 35 weekly and several daily papers, and forwarded to

us electronically by Joe Blumberg, a publicist at Rutgers, was titled

"Critics say the ‘organic’ label doesn’t mean what you think."

The Wednesday, September 22, article took a more skeptical view of the

organic food industry:

"If anyone could make you feel like a dope for buying that pricey

organic lettuce, it’s Joe Rosen.

"A professor in Rutgers’s department of food science, Rosen headed up

a roster of speakers at a recent conference in Philadelphia titled ‘Is

Organic Food Healthier Than Conventional Food?’

"Rosen dismissed claims that organic products are safer, more

nutritious, and better for the environment as ‘science by press

release.’ He and other impressively credentialed speakers cited faulty

research methods, flawed statistics, suppressed information, and

biased funding sources for scientific studies. They said consumers are

being duped by meaningless buzzwords like ‘natural,’ ‘pure,’ and


"A toxicologist who works for Consumer Reports – a publication blasted

by Rosen as having a pro-organic tilt – got into a shouting match with

the professor. Two other presenters readily revealed corporate backing

of their own institutes or potentially conflicting interests, such as

the professor of meat science who also co-owns Nolan Ryan’s Natural

Tender Aged Beef. And the conference itself was part of a larger

meeting sponsored by the American Chemical Society.

"No wonder consumers are confused, said one of the presenters, Alex

Avery of the Virginia-based Center for Global Food Issues. ‘Are there

always two sides to an issue, or maybe five or six?’ he asked. ‘Any

conclusions should reflect a general view of the subject by a

mainstream body of experts.’"

As a close reading of the entire article reveals

(, there are at least a half-dozen sides to the

"organic vs. conventional" food story.

Our annual U.S. 1 Traffic Survey is another story that has multiple

sides. We began the survey back in the 1980s, when the wisdom was that

Route 1 traffic was bad and getting worse. Our survey quickly showed

another side of the story – that in some years it actually got better.

Now we might suggest that Route 1 traffic is a story with at least

five sides: morning northbound, morning southbound, evening

southbound, evening northbound, and off peak. Whatever side of the

highway you are on, we urge you to drive safely and slowly. As the

survey shows, the difference between the most congested times (the

southbound evening rush) and the least (an off-peak run) is only about

10 minutes. Enjoy the scenery.

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