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Sigurd
Tuesday, January 9th, 2007, 07:30 AM
'No proof' organic food is better

There is no evidence organic food is better for you than conventional food, minister David Miliband has said.

The environment secretary said organic food was more of a "lifestyle choice that people can make".

There is no "conclusive evidence either way" concerning the health effects of pesticides, he told the Sunday Times.

The Soil Association, which regulates organic food, said studies show a difference between organic food and food produced using industrial methods.

It was critical of Mr Miliband's suggestion that food grown with the use of pesticides and other chemicals should not be regarded as inferior.

Mr Miliband: "It's only 4% of total farm produce, not 40%, and I would not want to say that 96% of our farm produce is inferior because it's not organic."

He said despite the rise in organic sales being "exciting" for shoppers, they should not think of conventionally-produced food as "second best".

'Extra payment'

Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers' Union, added that he had seen "no evidence" to prove organic food is healthier.

"If there's a small but growing percentage of consumers who want a different product, then that's a great opportunity for members," he said.

"But I have a real problem with conventional methods being demeaned at every opportunity."

According to the Soil Association, organic food sales in the UK increased by 30% to £1.6bn in 2006.

Robin Maynard, the association's campaigns director, said the environment secretary's comments were "slightly disappointing".

"It has been shown over the years that there is a difference between food produced organically and that produced using industrial methods.

"It is not just a lifestyle choice in terms of the environment, organic is better for that.

"Mr Miliband's own government has recognised in the past that organic food can be better for that. In fact organic farmers get an extra payment due to this."

Long-term research

However, Mr Maynard admitted there was a lack of studies showing how organic food could be healthier.

He said this stemmed from the difficulties of pinpointing exactly how such food was healthier and because research needed to be carried out over "tens of years".

The association's website says organic food does not contain many of the artificial additives used in modern food production, and also have more natural vitamins and minerals.

It also argues organic food is better for wildlife because it does not use pesticides or dangerous sprays.

Pressure from shoppers has boosted the volume of organic UK produce in supermarkets, the association said last year.

Pete Glanville, secretary of the Shetland Organic Producers Group, said organic food is about producing local goods that are chemical free.

"You only have to look at the list of things that goes into creating lots of things to realise just how much we are not putting into our bodies by eating organic."

"We are not saying the other 96% which is farmed conventionally is rubbish. We personally are making a choice about what goes into our bodies."

Source (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6238227.stm)

I'm not buying into this. When you have GM food or food where pesticides were being used - he isn't in all honesty suggesting that once it is harvested, that these poisons leave the fruit. No, for it then goes into our system, and is harmful. Ever wondered why people are getting taller, why women increasingly have larger breasts, or why we become increasingly heavier? - Well, if a farmer gives his cow hormones of growth, it is evident that by us consuming the product, we inherently also take in these hormones...What Milliband is doing is ye goode olde government propaganda...."hear comrades, rations are up to 25 grams"... :doh

Gorm the Old
Tuesday, January 9th, 2007, 02:08 PM
Opinions abound. Proof is scarce or lacking. I can usually recognize organic fruits and vegetables at a glance. The ones which look wizened, thrawn, and ill-favoured are the organic ones. The healthy-looking fruits and veggies are the ones grown with chemical fertilisers.

ladybright
Tuesday, January 9th, 2007, 05:09 PM
I have found many farmers markets have excellent organic produce around where I live. Some organic farmers have not found the right process to grow abundant crops on their land; different varities of seeds, natural soil additives(azomite,lime, hummus etc), the right crop rotation and changes in plowing. Many farms go out of business before the find out what works for that piece of land.:(

I buy organic when I can because I was to avoid pesticide exposure especially to my daughter. Spinach, green beans, apples, grapes, winter squash and pears are items with a higher contamination risk. US produce is as bad or worse than imported.:doh http://www.consumersunion.org/food/do_you_know2.htm

To me food is a economic and political issue not just a nutrition issue. I do not feel that the quality of organic produce and meat is automaticaly superior but it is worth supporting.