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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
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

    Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

    £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Advisor - Opportunities Available Nationwide

    £15000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to ...

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced Special Needs Support Worker

    £12 - £14 per hour: Recruitment Genius: We are looking for someone to join a s...

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence