Organic food no better

I've been doubting the benefits of organic food recently and so was pretty pleased to see a new study (well - about 250 studies) show that there are basically no benefits. Does anyone eat organic to help running? Interested to hear what people think. Here's the story:

http://takeitinyourstride.co.uk/2012/09/is-organic-food-better-for-you/

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Comments

  • There was never any evidence to suggest it was better in the first place. Why would it be any better for you?
  • Indeed. The idea is that it's better for the environment. No pesticides or fertilisers, more insects, more natural predators...
  • If you look around you'll find any number of studies to back up any view you may have. We buy a fair amount of organic food as we prefer to have food that hasn't been treated with so many chemicals. With meat, it is for us a question of how good a standard of life the animal has had but also organic meat will not have been exposed to growth hormones.

    The bottom line though is it's personal choice.

  • Given the choice between affordable organic food produced by a grower or farmer with a conscience and some forced shit doused with chemicals and produced to a supermarket buyer's lowest bid price, I would take the organic, but that's probably me being fussy, it's not really any better at all.
  • Organic food isn't any better for the environment, though.

  • Why is forcing down prices got to do with organic. Isn't that called fairtrade? I'm not anti-organic and the principles of it but the supermarkets are now using it as a marketing term to get people to buy things a bit more expensive. The gap between organic and taste the difference etc has narrowed considerably.
  • @isimon what is your connection to "takeitinyourstride" ?

  • Good question
  • Spam my arse! Don't read the forum post if you're not interested in finding out about Organic food.

  • Spam my arse!       Saucy!!!

    By the way, is that organic Spam?

  • that was some edit Simon
  • Organic arse spam sauce, also available at your local Waitrose.

  • @simon teare - Most of your posts are links to your Take it in Your Stride site.  That's spam.

  • What is and isn't spam is subjective. In my opinion this isn't spam but it might have been a bit more honest to tell people that the link is to your own article. Perhaps then people would be talking about the debate rather than the spam/not spam.
  • Organic is another choice, since turning veggie I have been able to afford more organic  produce. If you want to make a real difference then choose local, rather than something that has been airifted around the world. whether organic or not.

  • That's a great point Adrian.
  • Mind you, Peruvian asparaus is jolly good right now!

  • Adrian Stillwell wrote (see)
    "Organic is another choice, since turning veggie I have been able to afford more organic  produce. If you want to make a real difference then choose local, rather than something that has been airifted around the world. whether organic or not."

    I agree in general, but it's not always the case.

    For example, the food could be produced in a more sustainable way overseas.  e.g. see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/mar/23/food.ethicalliving 

  • It's cheaper, environmentally and financially, to grow potatoes for the UK market in Egypt than it is to grow them in the UK.

  • There is no way you can say that growing a bean in kenya and sending it in a plane is better than something grown locally. If there are no beans here out of season then we eat something else.
  • You wont be growing many coffee beans locally....

  • The coffee bean is not a bean at all..........
  • Sussex Runner (NLR) wrote (see)
    There is no way you can say that growing a bean in kenya and sending it in a plane is better than something grown locally. If there are no beans here out of season then we eat something else.

    It has been argued (e.g. in the article I linked to earlier) that growing beans in Kenya could be better overall, when production methods (i.e. manual labour vs automation), need for greenhouses, polytunnels, pesticides etc., creation of jobs in impoverished areas are all taken into account.  Transporting them to the UK, although not ideal, might be better on balance than growing them locally.  I think there is some merit to this argument, and it's not always simply a case of local = better.  (NB I'm not suggesting that local isn't often better, just that it needs considering on a case by case basis). 

    Oxfam have produced a booklet about it:  http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/fair-food-miles-recharting-the-food-miles-map-115389 (quote from Oxfam website:  "But while food miles loom large in our carbon-aware times, transporting it counts for less than you might think. And there is a far bigger picture. Food is more than a plateful of emissions. It's a social, political and economic issue that involves millions of small farmers in poor countries who export produce to the North. They have built lives and livelihoods around this trade.")

  • But to be fair Oxfam a a vested interest in keeping money coming in rather than keeping jobs and farmers here in the UK producing food, rather than a farmer in a far flung country. 

  • Oxfam are asking people to consider the overall impact of their food choices, and not limit decisions to "food miles".  I'm not sure that this reflects a vested interest in "keeping money coming in".  If you want to protect UK industry (agreed, not Oxfam's goal), then buying locally produced products makes sense.  If you want to minimise the environmental and social impact of your diet, it may work out on balance to be better to buy fairtrade beans from Kenya which will support an impoverished local economy and benefit many people. 

    If this means that Kenyan farmers benefit and UK farmers suffer, that isn't necessarily a bad thing for humanity overall, especially if there isn't a large difference in environmental impact (which, depending on production and transportation methods, there may not be), and when local food will often have less impact anyway (and therefore ethical shopping will mean buying locally produced food and benefit UK farming).  The important point is that it's not as simple as distance freighted, and there are many other factors to consider. 

  • Sussex Runner (NLR) wrote (see)
    There is no way you can say that growing a bean in kenya and sending it in a plane is better than something grown locally. If there are no beans here out of season then we eat something else.

    It's quite easy to say that, and it's probably correct.  Fruit & veg grows faster and more reliably in warm countries, and it flies to the UK on scheduled passenger aircraft that are coming this way anyway.

  • Adrian Stillwell wrote (see)

    But to be fair Oxfam a a vested interest in keeping money coming in rather than keeping jobs and farmers here in the UK producing food, rather than a farmer in a far flung country. 

    I am sure the Kenyan farmers say the same thing about EU farmers and the subsidies they get.

  • Wouldn't it be better for the Kenyans to use their richest most fertile land to grow food for their own people?
  • SR

    Exactly, until recently Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Africa, it now relies on handouts from the UN kenya could and should be producing food for Kenyans and Africa not the UK. Our priority should be UK based production and not production abroad if more people bought local and UK based products then perhaps the need for subsidies could be reduced.

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