UK Government Biased Against Organic Food

The UK Government have been accused of being lazy when it comes to promoting the benefits of organic food. Could this be because the FSA have ties to big-Agra?

In a report entitled The Lazy Man of Europe by The Soil Association, it has been revealed that organic food sales in the UK fell by 13.6% in 2009, while other European countries continue to buy more and more natural produce.

“A range of factors may explain the recent decline of the UK organic market compared to our European neighbours, but the passive role of successive UK governments in supporting organic food and farming is one of the reasons commonly given.”

We have found that most European countries have acted confidently to normalise and champion organic food and farming as a pioneering, sustainable and environmentally friendly way to produce food.

In contrast, UK governments have been diffident, if not lazy on the subject. When it comes to thinking in a truly sustainable way about the future of food and farming, successive UK governments have preferred to sit back and snooze.

Despite a wealth of information that reveals how organic farming is not only healthier but better for the environment, the mainstream stance is that there is no health benefit at all. One has to wonder why this is claimed.

The most recent study that was paraded across the mainstream media came from the Food Standards Agency [1]. As reported by the BBC:
There is little difference in nutritional value and no evidence of any extra health benefits from eating organic produce, UK researchers found.

The Food Standards Agency, which commissioned the report, said the findings would help people make an “informed choice”.

Case closed? Well no not really.

The way the study has been concluded is misleading and the media have further distorted that conclusion.

The actual raw data in the study shows that organic food does in fact have more nutrients.

Protein 12.7% – Beta-carotene 53.6% – Flavonoids 38.4% – Copper 8.3% – Magnesium 7.1% – Phosphorous 6% – Potassium 2.5% – Sodium 8.7% – Sulphur 10.5% – Zinc 11.3% – Phenolic compounds 13.2%

However they suggest that eating more nutrients isn’t better for you, which is what the media have ran with.

“…there is no good evidence that increased dietary intake, of the nutrients identified in this review to be present in larger amounts in organically than in conventionally produced crops and livestock products, would be of benefit to individuals consuming a normal varied diet, and it is therefore unlikely that these differences in nutrient content are relevant to consumer health”.

It’s an odd way of looking at things. The body needs nutrients, organic food has the most nutrients, the obvious conclusion is that organic is inherently more efficient and better for you.

Lots of other studies confirm this.

A Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry study shows that organic corn has 52% more vitamin C than regular corn. [2]

Organic apples, pears, potatoes, wheat, and sweet corn, showed a higher level of nutrients than their commercial counterparts in a study published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition. [3]

Chromium is found at levels 78% higher in organic foods, Calcium is found at 63% and Magnesium is found at 138% higher in organic foods.

Dr. David Thomas discovered that in the United States, government guidelines and tables for the nutritional content of food had rapidly declined since the 1940s.

He wrote:
“Over the past 60 years there have been fundamental changes in the quality and quantity of food available to us as a nation. The character, growing method, preparation, source and ultimate presentation of basic staples have changed significantly to the extent that trace elements and micronutrient contents have been severely depleted.” [3]

So why is the UK Government so content with the status quo?
Laziness? Ignorance? Or a good old conflict of interest?

The Huffington Post reports:
The FSA is a branch of the government of the United Kingdom, but states on it’s website that it “works at ‘arm’s length’ from Government because it doesn’t report to a specific minister and is free to publish any advice it issues.” With no oversight, influence over the selected research could have been a factor in the outcomes. A look at the profiles of the head of FSA reveals former employees of agribusinesses like Arla Foods (now part of Europe’s largest dairy), Sarah Lee Corporation, and UK grocery giant Sainsbury’s. Therefore it is not hard to assume that the perspective may lean towards what is best for agribusiness interests.

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