Missing The Point For Food Politics

foodGill Fine, Director of Consumer Choice and Dietary Health at the Food Standards Agency, has posted a short comment on the blog of the Agency’s chief scientist Andrew Wadge, about the recent report on organic food, which had itself been commissioned by the same agency. Its of no surprise that she claims all food in the UK is safe even non organic food which has been produced with the aid of pesticides. These chemicals are strictly controlled in the UK and the residuals on the food we buy are carefully monitored so they don’t exceed safe levels.

It was clear from the very narrow scope of the research it was aimed at confirming something many people already suspected, organic food has no nutritional benefits over non-organic food. What the report entirely avoided was any assessment of the importance of land stewardship and the environmental impact of different farming practices. As has been said by many people responding to this pointless report, going organic is about caring for the environment and the land on which the food is grown.

If the FSA wants to ensure the quality and security of our food supply it should consider the whole of the production cycle and its impact on the environment. Many modern food production methods are unsustainable in the long term, requiring greater and greater chemical interventions to keep up production levels. This is the area that needs researching, but that would risk the anger of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which remains under the influence of the powerful farming lobby.

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