The Life Doctor

SHOULD YOU go organic? I tried a few months ago. I went to the length of ringing up my local organic produce delivery company. The price was acceptable, the range of vegetables was reasonable. But then came the problem; delivery. It could only be on Thursday afternoons. No worries, they said, if I wasn't there, they would happily leave it with a neighbour.

"No, no!" I said. "My neighbour is a distinctly inorganic greengrocer. His carrots have been brought up in slavery. He's not going to store my knobbly organic produce 'out back' until I can collect them in the evening."

"Well, there it is," said the organic deliverer impatiently. "This is back to a more traditional way of eating. You can't expect it to fit into your 24-hour needs. What do think this is, Pizza Hut?"

I don't know why I always expect environmentally sound people to be more polite.

Most of us would like to use more organic stuff but our enthusiasm can be dampened if the products fail to live up to our synthetically inspired expectations. Dominic, a 35-year-old engineer struggled at first. "It was more expensive and they couldn't guarantee a big variety. Some weeks it would be nine turnips, a mound of potatoes and a cabbage. The main disadvantage was the price and cleaning them - they always came covered in earth." Yeuch! Not "washed and ready to eat"? Can you imagine?

About 30,000 families in Britain are now using a local organic food delivery company. And consumer interest is driving the supermarket revolution so that it is now easier to get organic products. But a whole basket of organic food will still cost you about 30 per cent more than its non-organic equivalent.

Organic produce does, however, taste better. We conducted a blindfold test on carrots*. Among our five testers, the organic carrot was unanimously the winner in terms of both taste and texture.

It is also better for us. The two big areas of danger with non-organic produce are organophosphates, which are said to affect the nervous system and the immune system (and are linked to Gulf War syndrome), and Lindane, which has links with cancer. There are, of course, government tests to check safe levels of these pesticides. "They test the residue per kilo," says Simon Brenman at the Soil Association. "This tells you that some of the crop is safe. It doesn't tell you that the tractor went over a ridge and so three of those carrots have very high levels."

The fact is that we do not know the personal heath costs of eating non- organic food over a long period. Organic is safe. "Organic" is not a word food producers can bandy about. It's not like "natural" which is defined officially now as any food stuff that isn't dabbling in the occult. Organic means there are no artificial pesticides and fertilisers, that the food has been produced using only an EU list of approved organic products. It also means that your food will not have been genetically modified.

In theory, of course, you would need to go completely organic to guarantee your safety. It's not just fruit and vegetables that are affected. Surely then there's no point eating knobbly vegetables and organic milk if you are still succumbing to fluffy white bread. But in terms of fuelling manufacturers' interest, every little helps. Think of it as an insurance policy - a bit of a nuisance at the moment but it should pay back in the long term.

* Note: The testers were blindfolded, not the carrots. No carrot was harmed in this demonstration.

For information and a directory of organic food sellers and distributors in your area call The Soil Association on 0117 929 0661

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Sport
Steven Caulker of QPR scores an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool
football
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Year 6 Teacher

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

    Year 6 Teacher

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

    Year 4 Teacher

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed Randst...

    KS2 Teacher

    £100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted said "A good larger...

    Day In a Page

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past