Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Organic food not better for environment

Organic food is not necessarily better for the environment. Or better for you, the consumer. There are risks from it, so we have to balance things out. Independent (UK)
Organic food may be no better for the environment than conventional produce and in some cases is contributing more to global warming than intensive agriculture, according to a government report. The first comprehensive study of the environmental impact of food production found there was "insufficient evidence" to say organic produce has fewer ecological side-effects than other farming methods. ... Sir David King, the Government's chief scientist, also told The Independent he agreed that organic food was no safer than chemically-treated food.
There are some good effects...
he report for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found "many" organic products had lower ecological impacts than conventional methods using fertilisers and pesticides.
And some bad effects, including more energy required...
But academics at the Manchester Business School (MBS), who conducted the study, said that was counterbalanced by other organic foods - such as milk, tomatoes and chicken - which are significantly less energy efficient and can be more polluting than intensively-farmed equivalents. Ken Green, professor of environmental management at MBS, who co-wrote the report, said: "You cannot say that all organic food is better for the environment than all food grown conventionally. If you look carefully at the amount of energy required to produce these foods you get a complicated picture. In some cases, the carbon footprint for organics is larger."
So decide for yourself if the cost is worth the risks. Don't fall for the assumption that organic is always better.

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