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26 January, 2007

Spreading the holy word too far

Hang on; organic farming is about not using artificial fertilisers, fungicides, pesticides and feed additives in growing non-GW produce, isn't it?  Some may consider that links into an overall ethical stance, but it's not a defining characteristic of the basic designation 'organic'.

Food might be organic and ethical, but it's quite possible for ethical food to be non-organic and for ethical problems to be associated with organic food. They're overlapping but independent parameters.

Yet, as the Guardian reports, the Organic Church (okay, the Soil Association) now wishes to withdraw their recognition from produce grown according to their rules but abroad, on the principle that "air travel's bad, m'kay?"

I fully agree that food miles is an important issue, but it's an entirely different issue, and not one in which the Soil Association has any remit.
It could be argued that they do a good job in regulating the very specific parameters of their core business, but it has to be remembered that they merely certify organic food, nothing else, and are certainly not arbiters of overall righteousness.

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