Is Organic Food a Waste of Money

Research has shown that fertilizers, pesticides and hormone supplements have successfully entered the food chain have become common place in our food and drink. Consequently, this has had a knock on effect on the environment and our health with concern increasing more and more. Expensive labels? Organic food costs more simply because it costs more money and time to prepare. For example certain types of apples can be sprayed up to 16 times with 36 different pesticides and 350 chemicals are regularly used in conventional farming.

Only four are permitted in organic farming. Even though this might be the case careful inspection into the food labelled 'organic' can open up another can of worms. There are a few classes of organic product on the shelves which break down as follows: Made with organic ingredients - Only 70% of the ingredients must be organic Organic - At least 95 percent of ingredients are produced organically 100% organic - No synthetic ingredients are allowed by law The price naturally increments skywards depending on how 'organic' the produce really is and adds those unwanted pennies to your bill. At the same time it gives an insight into companies who use a minimum of organic ingredients to attain the label.

Many are turning to farmers markets springing up all over the UK, where on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon you can buy 100% organic fruit and vegetables without worrying about the ulterior motives of the big 3. Organic purists prefer a little soil on their carrots than the clinically prepared plastic packaged semi-organic alternatives in the supermarket. There are many online companies like Abel & Cole who will take your order over the internet or over the phone and deliver it straight to your door (soil included). The organic industry came under criticism by the former head of the government's food watchdog. "My advice would be not to worry about the organic, but worry about your kids having more vegetables," said Sir John Krebs, head of the Food Standards Agency until April 2005.

He had also said that there was no scientific evidence to prove that organic food was healthier. Lord Melchett, policy director for the Soil Association retorted saying "[He] turns round and says, 'well it would be much better to eat three portions of spinach a week than switch to organic' - this is, I think, an intellectually flawed argument," You get what you pay for. As with anything there is a trade off between how much you're willing to pay for something and what you'll get out of it; this I think we are all happy to accept. The issue here seems to be the size of this industry and the relative ignorance surrounding it, leaving the public to do their own research into what they're buying to make sure they're money is well spent.

Julian Hall of, Organic Products, Organic Food Marketing, Organic Information

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