Friday, January 04, 2008

Organic Food is not always Good Food

partially sourced from a media release of: Organic Consumers Association
Published January 3, 2008 10:11 AM

Thousands of Tons of Organic Food Produced Using Toxic Chemicals

California Farmers Want Classification for 'Sustainable' Produce
Anheuser-Busch Pledges to Use Only Organic Hops In Organic Beer
EarthNews Radio: Organic Consumers Association
Farmers Relying on Growing Trust in Organic Labeling /top_stories/article/28572
Straight to the Source : Daily Mail, UK, January 1, 2008 ]

Thousands of tons of organic vegetables sold in British shops this year were produced using toxic chemical pesticides, it emerged yesterday.

Many shoppers - who pay premium prices for "naturally" grown veg - are unaware that any chemicals are allowed on any organic produce. Under Soil Association rules, a small number of sprays are permitted.

But yesterday it emerged that increasing numbers of potato farmers have been asking for special permission to use large amounts of copper fungicide over the summer and autumn.

According to new figures, a third of UK organic potato farmers were given permission to spray crops with fungicides made with copper - a heavy metal that can cause liver disease.
The pesticide is one of a handful approved by the Soil Association - the charity that certifies and promotes organic food.

The association's website describes it as toxic, while the EU is planning to ban it in the next few years following concerns about its health effects.

Farmers were forced to resort to chemical sprays after one of the worst summers on record for potato blight - the disease that caused the 19th century Irish famine.

The Soil Association said 30 per cent of its growers had applied for special permission to use the fungicide while industry sources said organic farmers had bought "close to record" amounts over the summer.

Professor Tony Trewavas, an Edinburgh University plant scientist and critic of organic food, said copper compounds were 1,000 times more toxic than fungicides used on non-organic potatoes.


Just goes to show, not all organic food is as good as merchants assert........and that modern agriculture is not always a villain. Without modern agricuture, most of the world would not get a decent feed, and the gains in agriculture in most developing economies are largely due to modern agricultural methods and agricultural science. Recent data for Africa indicate a drop in poverty due to superior agricultural performance.

Organic food is only as good as the certification systems in place. In Australia the organic systems are quite robust, but food quality is also an issue for the Food Safety Authorities - a combined body for Australia and NZ. Copper fungicides are "old technology", with complementary food safety issues. Organic standards rarely cover "quality" of the produce only the production methodologies.

Full Story on organic food problems

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