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Is organic healthier?

16th January 2007

04032006_Chickens1.jpgEnvironment Secretary, David Miliband, has angered environmental groups by saying there is no evidence that organic food is healthier than conventional food.

The government minister said organic food was more of a "lifestyle choice that people can make" and that there is no "conclusive evidence either way" concerning the health effects of pesticides. In a Sunday Times interview, Mr Miliband said that the public should not view non-organic food as second best.

However, The Soil Association, which regulates the organic food industry, says there is evidence to suggest a difference between organically produced food and that yielded using industrial farming methods. Speaking on behalf of the association, Campaign Director Robin Maynard pointed out that organic farmers get an extra payment from the government because ministers recognise the health benefits of organic farming. "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,? he said.

The Soil Association says organic food is healthier than non-organic as it does not contain artificial additives and retains more natural vitamins and minerals. It also argues that organic food is better for wildlife because it does not use pesticides or other chemical sprays.

As consumers demand more and more organic food, so supermarkets and other retailers are filling their shelves with non-conventional alternatives. Organic and environmental groups argue that shoppers should be given a choice as to what they put in their bodies but Peter Kendall, of the National Farmers' Union, says that he has not seen any evidence to prove that organic food is healthier. He says he has a “real problem with conventional methods being demeaned at every opportunity."

Organic food sales in the UK grew by 30% to £1.6bn in 2006. Organically produced food currently represents 4% of total UK farm produce.

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Comments

Anonymous

Friday 19th January 2007 @ 13:19

I am not an extremist, but there is some reason why there is so much cancer today and it can not be blamed totally on smoking, etc.

I know many people who never touched a cigarette, cigar who have cancer. I prefer to buy organic when I can b/c I do believe the pesticides, etc. may have affected my generation (babyboomer). We grew up usually with "normal meals", no McD's, etc., and yet look at the statistics for cancer in our generation. Something has caused that other than the above bad habits which many of our generation didn't practice but still they have wound up with this killer disease.

Anonymous

Wednesday 24th January 2007 @ 22:33

The Soil Association ends at Dover. A vast percentage of organice produce is imported from countries outside the SA's "jurisdiction". Many UK organic farms are "overfarmed", for reasons of profitability, despite subsidies, and this in fact can be more harmful to the environment than conventional farmed enterprises.


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