Organic Food Facts

Cox's apples can be sprayed up to 16 times with 36 different pesticides (source =

50 to 93 percent of pesticide residues remained on potatoes, apples and broccoli after washing (source = The Soil Association)

Around 350 pesticides are permitted in conventional farming and the Soil Association says an estimated 4.5billion litres of them are used annually. While there are Government rules for pesticide residues, they still end up in our food and nobody knows the long-term implications of their combined effect. (source =
Pesticide residues have been ranked among the top three environmental cancer risks by the American Government. (source =

UK Government research has consistently found pesticide residues in a third of food, including residues of more than one chemical in apples, baby food, bread, cereal bars, fresh salmon, lemons, lettuces, peaches, nectarines, potatoes and strawberries. (source =

The most dangerous chemicals used in farming such as organophosphates [pesticides] have been linked with a range of conditions such as cancer, decreasing male fertility, foetal abnormalities, chronic fatigue syndrome in children and Parkinson's disease. (source =

Little is known about the effects of multiple residues - the cocktail effect. Two surveys of lemons were carried out in 2001. The first found that 100% contained detectable residues with 90% of them containing multiple residues and the second found 93% contained detectable residues with 81% containing multiple residues. There has been very little research done but all current knowledge points to there being a very distinct possibility that chemicals would react with each other. (source = The Soil Association)

Around £120 million a year is spent removing pesticides from the UK's water supply - mainly as a result of the chemicals used in conventional farming (source = The Soil Association)

Government tests have shown that some spinach contains pesticide residues that exceed the safety level for toddlers. Pesticide residues were also found in three quarters of the dried fruit that was sampled, half of the bread, a third of the apples and celery, and a quarter of the chips from fish and chip shops. Six samples of baby food contained residues at high levels (source = The Soil Association)

Women with breast cancer are five to nine times more likely to have pesticide residues in their blood than those who do not (source =
In a study of children aged 2-4 living in the US, concentrations of pesticide residues up to six times higher were found in children eating conventionally farmed fruit and vegetables compared with those eating organic food. (source =

All artificial colourings and artificial sweeteners are banned in organic food.

A typical Sunday meal could travel 49,000 miles - equivalent to two journeys around the world and releasing 37kg of CO2 (source = The Soil Association)
The food system accounts for up to 40 per cent of all UK road freight (source = The Soil Association)

Between 1940 and 1991, trace minerals in conventional UK fruit and vegetables fell by up to 76% (source = The Soil Association)

The Soil Association conducted a systematic review of the evidence comparing the vitamin and mineral content of organic and conventionally grown food. It was found that, on average, organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium.

An independent review of the evidence found that organic crops had significantly higher levels of all 21 nutrients analysed compared with conventional produce including vitamin C (27% more), magnesium (29% more), iron (21% more) and phosphorous (14% more). (source =

A high antioxidant intake has been shown to be associated with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease and some cancers. (source =

In terms of the environmental benefits, organic farms naturally promote biodiversity as the lack of herbicides and pesticides encourages wildlife. Green and animal manures are used to enrich the soil, whereas some intensive farming methods result in soil erosion. (source =

It is a common misconception that organic food could be at greater risk of E. coli contamination because of raw manures application. Conventional farmers commonly apply tons of raw manure as well with no regulation whatsoever. (source =

In a review of 41 studies from around the world, organic crops were shown to have statistically significant higher levels of vitamin C, magnesium, iron and phosphorous. Spinach, lettuce, cabbage and potatoes showed particularly high levels of minerals (source = The Soil Association)

Organic standards set strict guidelines on manure use in organic farming. It must either be first composted, or it must be applied at least 90 days before harvest, which allows ample time for microbial breakdown of any pathogens. (source =

Currently about 500 such additives are used in the farming process, some of which have been linked to allergic reactions, headaches, asthma, growth retardation, hyperactivity in children, heart disease and osteoporosis. These food additives include preservatives, sweeteners, colorings, hydrogenated fat, aspartame (artificial sweetener) and monosodium glutamate (MSG). (source =

Nitrate levels in organic food are on average 15% lower. Scientists from Glasgow University have found a link between the levels of nitrates in vegetables and gullet cancer, which has trebled over the last 20 years and claims more than 3000 lives a year. They believe that an increase in the use of nitrate fertilisers since World War II may be one of the main reasons for the rise in this cancer. (source =

Even though cancer-causing chemicals such as lindane and DDT have been banned, Government tests in 2000 showed that food still contains residues. Other chemicals are linked with cancer, breast cancer, decreasing male fertility, foetal abnormalities. DDT has been found in 67% of feta cheese samples. (source =



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