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Why Eat Organic Food?

Health is now the single biggest concern for people living in the UK. Hardly a week goes by when our food isn't in the headlines. Artificial ingredients such as additives, E numbers and flavourings are increasingly coming under the spotlight. Greater links are being made with pesticides and diseases. As a result, more and more people are eating organic because they believe it is a better way to feed themselves and their family. So is organic food the solution to these issues, or is it just an overpriced fad that will soon blow over?

There is a growing amount of research that shows organic food can be more nutritious for you and your family. Put simply, organic food contains more of the good stuff we need - like vitamins and minerals - and less of the bad stuff that we don't - pesticides, additives and drugs.

10 Reasons To Eat Organic food

1. Top for taste

Many people buy organic food because they believe it tastes better than non-organic. This could be because organic fruit and vegetables tend to grow more slowly and have a lower water content, which may contribute to the fuller flavour some people experience.

2. It's healthy

On average, organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium as well as cancer-fighting anti-oxidants. Organic milk is naturally higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, Vitamin A (Beta Carotene) and certain other antioxidants than non-organic milk.

3. No nasty additives

Only 32 of the 290 food additives approved for use across the EU are permitted in organic food.

4. Avoids pesticides

The best way of reducing your exposure to potentially harmful pesticides is to eat organically grown food, where their use is avoided. Over 440 pesticides can be routinely used in non organic farming and residues are often present in non-organic food. Over 40% of all non-organic fruit, vegetables and bread tested in 2005 contained pesticides according to the Government's Pesticide Residues Committee.

5. GM-free

Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards. Over a million tonnes of GM crops are imported to feed non organic livestock that produce much, if not most, of the non organic pork, bacon, milk cheese and other dairy products in our supermarkets.

6. Reliance on drugs removed

Antibiotic additives routinely added to animal food to speed animal growth are linked with bacterial resistance in humans to the same or closely related antibiotics.

7. No hidden costs

Compare this with the £120m that tax payers fork out to pay for chemicals to be removed from drinking water, mainly as a result of the pesticides used in farming.

8. High standards

Organic food comes from trusted sources. All organic farms and food companies are inspected at least once a year. The standards for organic food are laid down in European law.

9. Care for animals

No system of farming has higher levels of animal welfare standards than organic farms working to Soil Association standards.

10. Good for wildlife and the environment

Overall organic farming supports more farmland wildlife than non-organic farming. The UK government has said that it is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays, produces less carbon dioxide - the main global warming gas - and less dangerous wastes.

Ideas for buying organic

Box schemes - fresh seasonal produce direct from the grower delivered to your door or to a central pick-up point.

Farm shops - buy your food from the farm where it is grown. Check out our organic farm network - many farms have farm shops.

Farmers' markets - enjoy the colourful and relaxed atmosphere, talk to the farmer and take home freshly picked and produced food.

Community Supported Agriculture - where the consumer invests in their local farm in return for a share in the harvest.

Independent retailers - selling fresh produce, dairy and bread products plus other food and drinks.

Supermarkets - all the large supermarket chains now stock organic ranges.

Local food directories - list local producers and processors who sell direct to the public - ring your local council to find out about directories in your area.

Source: Soil Association

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