Letter: Going organic
Thursday 30 September 1999
Most organic crops are grown using conventionally grown seed. Plans to allow only organically grown seed have been put back, and, indeed, one significant organic grower admits that he would not be able to continue growing many crops organically if he were obliged to use organically grown seed. The disease burden carried by the seed would be too great to risk.
Inorganic fertilisers, used on vegetables and fruit which are consumed raw, offer significantly lower acute health risks than organic animal manure. Organic fertilisers by their very nature carry a higher risk of food poisoning from E-coli.
An organic production system is much less productive than the equivalent conventional farm - by as much as 50 per cent in some situations. Current levels of consumption could not be supported by organic agriculture without a dramatic increase in cropped land, thereby putting even greater pressure on unfarmed land around the world.
It is not surprising that around 1 per cent of foods show traces in excess of maximum residue levels. MRLs are not a safety level. The safe levels are often many hundred or thousand times greater than the MRL.
The advent of GM technology ought to bring huge benefits in reducing the environmental impact of food production. In setting its face so rigidly against genetic modification in Britain, the organic movement may well have done more environmental harm than good.
W R N TAPP
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
Drake matches The Beatles' record with 14 singles in top 100 chart at the same time
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Catwoman comes out as bisexual
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Justin Kelly interview: On James Franco playing a gay man who renounces his homosexuality
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts