Letter of the week
One cannot reject the possibility that the report recently published by the Food Standards Agency was politically motivated. The chemical industry must have lobbied the Government so that sales of pesticides, presently in a very parlous state, could resume at 1970s levels by assuming that consumers are simple-minded, gullible, pushovers and can be fed any kind of misinformation on food safety.
Dr Alan Dangour, a respected nutritionist, must feel rather low after his research on extra benefits - or absence of them, as it turned out - of organic food when compared with non-organic was grossly mismanaged by the lamentable FSA and laughed-off as irrelevant and incomplete by growers, sellers and the catering industry as a whole.
Dangour, a self-confessed "nutritionist not qualified to look at pesticides", stated that nutritional differences between the two categories are non-existent. He based his report on the study of 162 research papers written from 1958 to 2008 that looked at nutrition contents of 3,500 organic and other foods.
Yet, in 2008, the FSA reported that a Which? survey from four leading supermarkets stated that extra nutrients found in organic food included, among others, 7.4% more magnesium,12.7% more proteins, 38.4% more flavonoids and 53.7% more beta-carotine.
To state - after their own report - that there are no benefits by using organic and then "forgetting" to mention that the benefits derive principally by the absence of chemicals used is bordering on the criminal, as the damage done to the organic industry must be enormous.
The continued existence of this quango, created by the Labour Party in 2000 "to protect consumers' interests in relation to food safety and standards", should be seriously questioned. The FSA has not understood that the premier reason for the increasing popularity of organic food is the absence - or very limited usage - of pesticides and other chemicals.
To repair the damage done to the food chain and public's confidence, the FSA should have the decency of admitting to - the latest - serious mistake and announce an immediate new study that will look at all areas of the matter.
Ermanno Nuonno di Agnone
Proprietor, ENDA Consultants
- Ermanno wins a bottle of Champagne, courtesy of Bakehouse