Strong support for organic farming at TV forum. The difficulty is, organic means many different things.

Organic or Not
Tuesday, 12 Oct 10 SBS TV, Insight current affairs

Transcript

Organic food is one of the fastest growing industries in Australia, and it is raking in the dollars for some enterprising businesses. Some people are prepared to pay up to triple for organic food in the interests of their health and the environment, but is it worth it? How does organic food stack up? That is what we are talking about tonight and you can too via Twitter and Facebook.


JENNY BROCKIE: Welcome everyone, good to have you here tonight. I am interested to find out from some of the people here what you think organic means. What do you think organic food actually is, Fiona?

FIONA: Well, I guess organic food is food that is supposed to be like healthy, should be healthy.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Healthy, how is it healthy though? If you see organic in a shop what do you think it means?

FIONA:  It shouldn’t have any insecticides on it or it should be grown naturally.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay Lyn, what about you, what do you think organic means?

LYN: Non exploitative, so anything that has been done humanely, so that takes it quite broadly.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Lorraine, what do you think organic means if you see an organic label on food or you see a sign that says organic food, what do you think that means?

LORRAINE:  I would say chemical free, pesticide free and, you know, grown without any other – naturally grown or…

JENNY BROCKIE:  Bill, you grow oranges. What do you think organic means?

BILL GENNIMATAS, ORGANIC ORANGE FARMER: Organic is representing nature and nature is a wonderful thing that we live in. Continues at link.

David Tribe

Written by David Tribe

David Tribe’s research career in academia and industry has covered molecular genetics, biochemistry, microbial evolution and biotechnology. He has over 60 publications and patents. Dr. Tribe's recent activities focus on agricultural policy and food risk management. He teaches graduate programs in food science and risk management as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, University of Melbourne.

One comment

  1. That was a very interesting discussion. The interviewer/host did a great job of asking questions.
    My favorite part is about halfway down the page. Andre Leu says that Rick Roush (who I agree with 100% by the way) is making “data free assumptions” and then he says “long-term research will show that good organic systems continue to increase the soil nitrogen as they increase the soil carbon”. If there’s no research on this then it is a data free assumption!
    Another awesome exchange (emphasis mine):

    LIZA OATES: We need to increase the food production in the areas which has those high population density though and that’s where there has actually been some good studies showing good agricultural practice using organic techniques, actually has higher yields in places like Africa because they can’t afford those chemical inputs anyway, it builds up communities, it keeps people in rural areas rather than moving to the cities and ending up in slums…
    CHRIS MIRAMS: I agree with that, sorry to butt in. I agree that the development of those systems is important but I don’t understand why you would have to lock an organic framework around developing food production in those environments. A lot of those environments are really deficient in phosphorous which is the driver of all life and if there is no phosphorous in that system then it needs to be put there.

    And one more: A mini-discussion started up on whether potassium sorbate (a completely safe common food additive) should be allowed in organic labeled orange juice.

    we use potassium sorbate because it is a mould inhibitor, we have no choice but to use it to produce a fresh orange juice. Now, we can pasteurise it or hot field it, it will kill the juice, kill the vitamin C, take the pulp away and it will give a terrible untasty product to the consumer.

    I drink only Florida Natural orange juice because I prefer Florida oranges over those from California, Brazil, and elsewhere. FN is pasteurized yet has tons of pulp, tastes fabulous, and has 120% of daily RDV for vitamin C in an 8 oz serving. FN juice may be using some sort of special pasteurization process, but I find it more likely that this person is just making things up to justify use of potassium sorbate. Potassium sorbate is fine, but don’t lie so you can use it!

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