Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Well, duh

Organic food is no more nutritious than normal food. Well, no shit, Sherlock - or actually rather a lot of shit when it comes to organic vegetables.

People of course choose to eat organic food despite the enormous mark-up for all kinds of reasons: pesticide residues, carbon footprint, whatever. But to hear the shrieks of dismay from the organic lobby on seeing one of their cherished marketing myths demolished, the Big Nutritional Lie was clearly a significant part of the sales pitch. Elsewhere in the Times, an industry shill suggested that the alternative to eating organic products is junk food ("My family could have been eating £1.99 chicken nuggets with cheese strings and frozen peas for the past few years and ice cream made from palm oil for 74p rather than a luxury brand made from double cream and free-range eggs for £3.95.") Gosh, it's as though most of the shelves in the supermarket didn't exist.

Putting it as simply as possible: I care about the taste of the food I eat and the ethics behind it. I buy tomatoes on the vine, free-range or barn eggs, freshly-squeezed tomato juice (to go with the up-market vodka, natch), avoid mechanically-reformed meat products, eat wholemeal bread and lots of vegetables, and generally avoid generic products and the cheap-and-cheerful end of the market. I don't buy Bacardi, or Coke, and go for Fairtrade produce where I can. On the other hand, the only circumstances under which I ever buy something with an "organic" label is if there is no alternative (or none except something hosed from an abattoir floor). I buy organic milk when Sainsburys sell out of normal skimmed: I grit my teeth at paying a premium for effectively the same product with a fashionable label, but I'd rather that than buy semi-skimmed or whole milk.

What the food industry desperately needs is a Gok Wan equivalent. Someone prepared to buy decent-quality non-organic ("normal") supermarket produce and go head to head, in a contest judged by the public, with one of the legion of I-only-ever-shop-organic-darling Jamie Oliver/Rick Stein/whoever culinary clones sponsored by the multi-million-pound organic food business. (I find it so hard to differentiate them I had to use Google just now to remind myself of Oliver's name, though a friend of mine once pointed out the helpful labelling on a pack of Anthony Worral Thompson's sausages: "Prick with a fork"). Not going as far as Delia Smith with "How To Cheat At Cooking" and using tins of mince or whatever, but simply using decent quality freah non-organic ingredients. If someone were to do that, another holy cow could be disposed of, that of organic food's purportedly better taste. Bollocks. Locally-sourced, grass-fed, antibiotic-free, bollocks (severed with a golden sickle by the light of the equinoctial full moon by a certified Soil Association shaman).


At 01 August, 2009 14:58, Blogger Persephone said...

I haven't noticed a difference in taste between organic and less-than-organic vegetables, but golly, organic meat tastes miles better, at least the stuff we get.
Just sayin'....

At 06 August, 2009 23:26, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Out here in the desert we get just a few organic veggies, all three times the price of non and tastes the same.

At 07 August, 2009 00:01, Blogger Rob said...

Persephone - you may well be right, but I contend it depends on the quality of non-organic meat you have available. In Edinburgh at least (or in Ballater where I am typing this) there is plenty of decent locally-sourced less-than-organic but still miles-better-than-bog-standard-supermarket-shrink-wrap meat to be had. And that being so, I go for it. If it were the straight binary choice between organic and crap that the organic industry spends millions trying to persuade us is the case, then I'd go for organic meat. But it ain't so (in Scotland at least).

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