The Safety of Farmers’ Markets

Bad Science Behind the Recent Attack

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On January 17, Professor Bellemare, an economist at the University of Minnesota, published an opinion piece in the NY Times claiming that his research showed a correlation between the number of farmers’ markets and the number of food-borne illnesses in a state.


Even taking Bellemare’s claim at face value, it simply doesn’t mean a lot. Correlation does not mean causation. There are numerous examples of meaningless correlations, such as a graph that was developed showing that the rise in autism correlates with the rise in consumption of organic foods – although no one would contend that there’s a logical connection between those two trends.


Moreover, the way Bellemare found this supposed correlation was deeply flawed. The only data used were the number of farmers’ markets in each state and the number of foodborne outbreaks and illnesses in each state.…

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