Food Standards Agency report on organic food – customer response

Contrary to most of the press coverage, the Food Standards Agency report published last week did not prove that organic food was no better for you than non-organic. It merely showed that there was no conclusive evidence either way, on the grounds of a limited review of existing research into a limited range of nutrients taken in isolation.

A customer’s thoughts
Thankfully many of our customers read past the headlines. Diane sent us this email in response to the FSA report:

“Firstly I would like to thank you for todays box of fresh, tasty, reasonably priced, nutritious vegetables, grown with conscience and compassion and most importantly without man-made chemicals.

I have just read the accompanying newsletter entitled ‘misguided?’ and I thought perhaps a ‘customer’ reaction to the FSA’s report might be gratifying for potentially damaged morale.  I personally found the well publicised conclusion of the report somewhat incredulous; how can such a statement be made when only a number of nutrients have been considered and no other aspect of production has been taken into account.  Additionally, does this statement truly reflect analysis that shows a positive increase in a number of important nutrients but which appears to have been ignored on the basis that there are too few studies to take the data from.  During the last week it has become very apparent to me that many people simply scan read the newspaper primarily noting the headlines, no doubt as a result of our busy lives.  Such statements/headlines are therefore often taken out of context with potentially damaging results.  Perhaps we need to consider who stands to gain from such statements; are the interests of the global chemical giants being protected here? One would hope not but it is a worrying thought.

Keep up the good work Riverford, we still love you despite what you may read in the papers!”

13 responses to “Food Standards Agency report on organic food – customer response

  1. Hi, I just wanted to send my gratitude for your newsletter that I always find insightful and interesting and a fabulous addition to what is already a wonderful box!!
    I also wanted to just echo what Diane has said above, and also to wholeheartedly agree with the need to just ‘follow common sense and intuitive judgement’ on what we choose to eat. I’m just so pleased that I’m one of your customers!!
    Thanks again,

  2. Daphne Rowbottom

    I totally agree with what Diane and others have said. Some people are sadly mis-informed by headlines and knee-jerk reactions> I’m so glad to be part of what feels to me to be a community of like-minded people who are able to think beyond the headlines. I think we all know the value of good food, grown without chemicals and we value the huge amount of thought which has been put into packaging, transport, the environment and ethical treatment of workers. You are wonderful Riverford. The fact that the produce tastes great and is reasonably priced is the icing on the cake!

  3. Without that newsletter rant, I would have been completely unaware that there had been a pan-European survey. I’m pretty surprised at papers like The Independent taking such a story seriously without some harder research. Even I’ve heard of studies of organic milk in County Durham proving that it contains initially 30% more nutrients, then later on 70%.

    Keep us informed Riverford!

  4. Unfortunately papers will jump onto any report and very rarely give a reasoned review of the report. To me the biggest criticism of the report is that it is about food and nothing is mentioned about taste. The non-organic choice of growing veg varietes to match a particular criteria (size, colour, shape) means that taste is always compromised. Remember we are talking about food here, when was the last time you said that the food was great because the carrots were perfectly straight. Riverford keep up the good work and I will continue to get my boxes from you, in the knowledge that my veg will TASTE great.

  5. One expects distortion, omission and bias from official reports – whatever the topic, so the Food Agency’s comments came as no particular surprise given that government has its own steadfast agenda regarding food supply, profitability, and the resultant slow poisoning of citizens with adulterated food and ‘healthcare’.
    As an ‘organic’ customer, I attribute our continuing reasonably good health to the eating of wholesome, uncontaminated produce. Long may Riverford’s high standards and quality (surpassing its rival competitors) endure.
    Know that you are much appreciated!

  6. When you consider that when a farm goes organic it’s yields drop by what – a half of the post war levels? – in other words back down to a sustainable level of agriculture, then its no wonder a government quango like the FSA starts attacking systems that undermine Britain’s and Europe’s ability to feed itself, while all the while encouraging unlimited immigration into our crowded continent.

    In a word it’s liberalism – and like communism before it, it’s insane ideology is doing and will do untold damage before it finally dies from it’s own insane paradoxes!

  7. ossof // September 6, 2009 at 6:02 am | Reply

    “a half of the post war levels? ”

    Sorry, I meant *pre-war* levels.

  8. Oh my God -where’s the moderator when you need him?

    Actually I did mean *post-war levels*….

    You see I’m drunk as a skunk and so I got my meanings confused 🙁

    But as it happens, I guess I’m a living example of Moy’s statement: *As an ‘organic’ customer, I attribute our continuing reasonably good health to the eating of wholesome, uncontaminated produce. *

    I’m an alcoholic and have been boozing since the mid-nineties, but following a diet dominated by organic (not orgasmic) green vegetables -and now mostly supplied by Riverford – I have recently passed two bio-opsys (blood tests) with flying colours – much to the amazement of my doctor!

    No liver damage, no cholestorol, nutrient count fine etc, etc…

    I’m reminded of the ancients who couldn’t trust the water and mostly drank beer – and yet look what they achieved from Alexandra to the Parthenon….

    On an unadulterated diet!


  9. Vivien Cruickshank

    No real surprises from the FSA. There are huge vested interests that see organic food as the enemy of their beloved chemical industry which must be protected at all costs. Before the 1940’s, all food was more or less organic and had been so throughout history. We are adapted to eating organic food and yet it is seen as some elite and odd choice of diet. Just shows how well the propoganda works from the powers that be.

  10. These reports make me so angry. They tasted organic stuff in supermarkets, probably at least a week old by the time it got there! Have they compared ‘proper organic’ from farm sources delivered fresh to our homes, against the chemically produced products. A research report comparing organic with ‘poisoned stuff’ said there was no difference, but they did not take pesticides into account! We eat organic for a) superb flavour
    b) our health and
    c) the variety of vegetables produced by growers

  11. Sigh – I guess there are two kinds of people in this world…

    Those that think – and those that follow.

  12. HIC – Jules !!!!…hahaha!

    good grub makes all the difference…

    If I – for whaterver reason – don’t eat my organic brunch from mostly Riveford – I end up really staggering for the rest of the day…

    As an alcy who has controled his alcoholic input down to 9 pints a night, I’m like a lab experiment to discover whereever fresh, organic food makes a didfference…

    It does.

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