Organic Farming in the News

It should be the measure of the eating habits in a country to consider the sources for E. coli poisoning. Whereas the fondness in Scotland for processed meat products has been linked to the higher than UK-wide incidence of cases, the popularity of ‘organic’ vegetables has been identified as the cause of the current German outbreak which is moving to eclipse the 1996 Wishaw outbreak as the world’s most deadly.

With the source being traced to manure used by two Spanish producers, I am left wondering if the manure were properly composted and how any perceived benefits from avoiding artificial fertilizers/pesticides would have been offset by transportation from Spain to Germany.

It should go without saying that ‘organic’ is seen as somehow more “pure” than other food; or “sin-free” to state outright the often weapons-grade sense of self-righteousness which Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wannabes can exude on the subject. I plough a lone furrow with my allotment, which might be for the best because if I had to put-up with adjacent plot-holders demanding that others modify their growing methods so their produce could remain organicy, it could mean war.

Such insistences would be a bit odd considering that, last time I checked, copper sulphate was permitted in organic farming. Me, on such a small scale as my plot, I simply pick-off the caterpillars and grubs from my veg.

Organic growing also is starting-up in countries such as the Philippines, presumably for cash-in in on export demand. This is a country which seeks rice guarantees from Vietnam after poor harvests in the wake of successive typhoons.

Organic pig farming also is being pushed, in which case I would hope that copper sulphate is used to keep-down E. coli in the slurry.

I have yet to see Filipino organic produce in the supermarket, but I am sure my eyes will spin as fast as they did when I saw organic baby courgettes from Zimbabwe.