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Popular Science News | Organic ‘Food-ism’

Popular Science News | Organic 'Food-ism'Popular Science News – organic food inspires in some people a response equivalent to racism, or food-ism as I call it. This is where a whole class of foods are judged by the qualities of worse examples of the group. The most recent case is a review of 237 research studies into organic food which found that some of it was not necessarily 100 per cent free of the chemicals. Well, it’s not surprising, since there are several definition of what defines the term organically grown. Even the Soil Association, an important quality control organisation for organic food, allows the use of pesticides under some circumstances.

In an ideal world an organic farm would not exist next to a conventional farm or, when the wind is in the wrong direction, pesticides wouldn’t drift onto organic crops. The same goes if the farm next door gets infected by pests and these move to the organic crop, risking it’s destruction and the survival of the organic farm. The organic farm is forced sometimes to use pesticides. It has always been known that a badly managed farm, organic or otherwise, can produce unhealthy crops. The cause of this could be, for example, low use of organic or chemical fertiliser; plants suffer either way. It’s a bit like saying that exercise isn’t necessarily good for you by looking at a survey including people who exercise but also overeat, smoke, drink excessively and otherwise have a sedentary life-style.

What might be more useful is to distinguish the best from the rest, e.g. food accredited by the Soil Association and SOPA whose standards are higher than many other accrediting organisations. Food accredited by these organisations are probably going to be a better indication of the quality of organic food.

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