The recent FSA report on Organic Food has prompted the following strong response from Rozanne Gallon, MD and co-founder of The Organic Pet Food Company. Rozanne started The Organic Pet Food Company in 2007 in her kitchen while looking for alternatives to mainstream foods for her pets. The company’s products are certified organic and contain only 100% human grade ingredients. If you’d like to contact Rozanne, her details are below.
A surprising and important finding of this review is the extremely limited nature of the evidence base on this subject, both in terms of the number of studies and the quality of studies found,’ states an independent review commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The conclusion was that there are no important differences in the nutrition content, or any additional health benefits, of organic food when compared with conventionally produced food. It’s no wonder that there has been a surge of responses from farmers, producers, manufacturers and retailers and organic bodies.
The Defra website states ‘the word organic has been used to describe food grown without most artificial fertilisers or pesticides and in a way that emphasises crop rotation, making the most of natural fertilisers and ensuring the life of the soil is maintained. Animals are kept in ways which minimise the need for medicines and other chemical treatments.’
But the report has taken a view over the last 50 years which ignores all and any references to what organic actually means, how the food was produced, under what conditions and the effects on the environment. It is tantamount to examining global warming without the sun.
The debate between organic and conventional should be much more than just a cursory look at nutritional benefits! It affects a public perception of organic foods without a clear picture of the issues and threatens the very premise that an alternative to conventional foodstuffs exists. As a small business, the recent report brings a chill to our bones, which reverberates across the entire food chain from growers, farmers to retailers. It is difficult enough battling through the economic climate as a small business.
As a producer of certified organic pet food – without preservatives and additives – and a consumer of organic foodstuffs, I can’t but fear the worst. The repercussions of the report could be a fall in sales of organic, a rise in prices and a self-perpetuating cycle which destroys all those attempting to bring a choice to the market away from the corporate companies. The pet food industry is currently in the process of reviewing labelling and production of organic pet food to harmonise across the EU.
It should be a much wider discussion, and that’s why we are so concerned about the study. Of course the research is important but our collective organic hackles rise at the misuse of the information by the media and the stance taken to portray a negative view of organic.
So, what is the fuss all about? The consumers who buy organic will continue to do so; and the sceptics and doubters will be delighted they have been proven correct. But organic is much more than the sum of its parts; it’s a vital and necessary alternative for our personal health, the life of our pets, the improvement of the environment and less usage of pesticides.
What is needed now is a study that takes into account the nutritional benefits, the environment and the use of pesticides. Then the debate between organic versus conventional can begin in earnest and hopefully we can all benefit.