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SCIENCE

This week: organic versus the ordinary

Text by Eve IRVINE

Latest update : 2009-08-31

A review of 50 years of scientific studies rocks the organic world as it concludes that organic produce is no better of one’s health than conventionally produced foods.

Spotting the potential for profit, Jim Collins left conventional farming some ten years ago and went organic. He feel unconcerned by a recent report commissioned by the Food Safety Authority in the UK that states that organic food is no healthier than organic.
 

"I'm a scientist. I'm not pro-organic or anti-organic. I'm a scientist. I'm interested in evidence. I wanted to know if there is any evidence that organic food is nutritionally superior to conventionally produced food. We know from reviewing all evidence ever published that there are no important differences between organically produced food and conventionally produced food," says Dr Alan Dangour of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He’s the man behind the report and has come under fire from farmers who believe that the report was politically motivated and complain that it didn’t take the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers into account.

 

And while that report causes controversy in the UK, back in France a new study has raised concerns over the use of pesticides saying that regular exposure to the chemicals doubles the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. They point the finger in particular at insecticides.

 

Insecticides can then harm a farmer’s health but insects themselves can destroy his crops.

Since the start of the summer, a team of agricultural engineers has been making its way through the Alsace countryside in France trying to track down the scourge of local corn crops the chrysomelid beetle. Known as the million dollar beetle once it catches onto corn it can cut production by up to 80%.

 

Finally ENVIRONMENT takes to the sky and looks at the idea of vertical farming. Architects are drawing up plans to put agricultural skyscrapers into city centres.

 

Date created : 2009-08-28

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