12 September 2000
Organic toxins may improve health

By FWi staff

POISONS in organic foods could improve the health of consumers, claim researchers.

The Danish Institute of Agricultural Science say organic fruit and vegetables do not have more vitamins and minerals than conventional produce.

But it says organic methods do force plants to produce more toxins to fight off pests.

Small amounts could be good for humans, reports the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

Defence compounds which retard growth in predators could help people gain weight less quickly and avoid health problems associated with being overweight.

While admitting they cannot prove this theory yet, the Danish team believes if organic produce is found to have benefits, it will be in this direction.

Meanwhile a leading environmental campaigner has expressed concerns about the growing links between supermarkets and organic farming.

Prof George Monbiot voiced his fears after Tesco announced it is donating 450,000 to a new organic research centre in Newcastle.

Speaking on Farming Today Prof Monbiot said supermarkets were geared up to deal with big farmer.

This could squeeze out small farmers who pioneered organic farming and deserve to be rewarded for the boom in the sector, said Prof Monbiot.