Organic farmers hit back at minister's claims
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Organic farmers last night attacked a minister's claim that their produce is no healthier than intensively farmed food.
David Miliband, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, described organic produce as 'a lifestyle choice' in an interview.
He said food grown with pesticides and chemicals was not second-best. Sales of organic food jumped by 30 per cent last year.
But the comments mark a setback for the £1.6billion industry, which is keen to gain official recognition for the nutritional and environmental benefits of chemical-free farming.
Robin Maynard, campaigns director for the Soil Association, said: 'It has been shown that there is a difference between food produced organically and that produced using industrial methods.'
Mr Maynard admitted there was a lack of studies showing how organic food could be healthier.
However, he said research showed higher levels of Vitamin C in organic produce. And recent studies found that organic milk contains higher levels of Omega 3.
Pete Glanville, secretary of the Shetland Organic Producers Group which farms vegetables and sheep, said: 'You only have to see the list of things that goes into creating produce to realise how much we are not putting into our bodies by eating organic.
'We are not saying the food which is farmed conventionally is rubbish, or second grade. We, personally, are making a choice about what goes into our bodies.'