The Food Standards Agency’s review of Organic food was published recently, see http://www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2009/jul/organic
I remember very clearly whilst I was in grammar school (24 years ago) that certain class members of mine (mainly female) all of a sudden started eating organic fruit and vegetables (not many, maybe two or three girls). They told me, We should only eat this, because we have to save our planet. I am from a family of five, and although my dad had a very good income, my mother certainly did not give into this “mode de jour” as she called it and we ate fruits and vegetables that were normally farmed, consequently not saving our planet earth.
24 years later I can honestly say that I have not eaten much organically produced food, mainly because of the price tag that comes with it. I would, however, consider eating more organic food if I would ever be pregnant, just because of the fact that it is produced without using chemicals. However, according to the Food Standards Agency’s review, despite this fact, there are no important differences in the nutrition content, or any additional health benefits, of organic food when compared with conventionally produced food (see website above).
In my opinion, the survey does not really represent what we, the public, would be interested in. They took old surveys, scanned through the material, and came out with the comment the analysis turned up no significant statistical differences between organic and non organic food. Now, in my opinion, or as far as I understand it, it actually shows differences in nutrients (i.e. Magnesium, proteins, beta carotene % in organic food). However, what I would have liked to know is this: Would I be healthier in the long-term if I eat organic foods rather than non-organic foods? For instance, if I would compare myself with someone who consistently ate only organic food, would that person be medically and biologically healthier than myself? This question is not answered by the study. The review only tells me that, for now, it is safe to eat non-organic foods.
This is good news for people with lower budgets, for I am sure that these people over the years thought we are going to die earlier than all other people. When I did my nutrition course (7 years ago), I was told by a qualified doctor of nutrition, that organic produced food is not necessarily healthier. In fact, you are more likely to take in more nutrients through canned / frozen fruits and vegetables than the fresh variety. This is because the former are not handled for long once they have been harvested and also don’t lie around in light for days on supermarket shelves/ or in sheds from organic farmers.
Unfortunately, I feel the whole debate about non organic/ organic and what other diets we should or should not follow doesn’t really address a very important issue. Over the last 20 years our society has become more and more unhealthy, even though our food produce has become healthier (for instance, less fat, less sugar, less salt and extra foods for diabetics etc.).
In my opinion balance is the word. Eat organic and/or non organic in healthy portion sizes and keep active.