Organic food debate - is it really better for the environment

A government-funded report out of the UK questions whether organic foods are actually less harmful than their intensively-farmed counterparts. While it does question whether "all organic" is better than "all conventional", it'd be a bit misleading to say they've questioned the benefit of every organic product. Unfortunately that assumption could easily be made after viewing recent newspaper headlines.

The report found many organic foods have a lower environmental impact, but items like milk, chicken and tomatoes, which it was discovered pollute more and are much less energy efficient, swayed the study in favor of conventional agriculture.

Some things the study did not take into consideration; increased biodiversity thanks to organic farming, improved soil condition, animal welfare and water use. Not to mention hormones and antibiotics. Who hasn't heard the worrying reports on those issues lately?

Britain's main organic certification body, the Soil Association, admits raising poultry and growing vegetables out of season can be less energy efficient when done organically. But they pointed to the overlooked factors, which they say outweigh others.

So what message should we take from this? Don't be afraid to go to your local Whole Foods and get all the organics you need. Especially those the Environmental Working Group calls the "dirty dozen"; apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, grapes (imported), nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, raspberries, spinach and strawberries. Other often recommended organic products…none other than milk, poultry and beef.

Posted by DiscoStu on February 21,2007 at 11:15 AM
The Independent has always been full of crap.
The real problem with so called "Organic" foods lies with the buyer. They will insist on buying non-seasonal produce that has to be shipped thousands of miles, creating a large environmental footprint due our dependency  on fossil fuels. Kind of defeats the purpose of buying organic if you ask me.
Eat more seasonal fruits and veg and support your local smallholders.
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