To the editor:
Re: "Is organic food the be all and end all?" April 18.
Fiona Hughes's column highlighted a number of important considerations regarding the ambiguity of organic foods, namely the lack of a reasonable standard and does the "organic" label extend to all things involved in the food's production or only some? The word "organic" has always puzzled me as it is somewhat misleading as all food is organic. While some people mistakenly eat organic foods thinking there is more nutritional value than other foods (it doesn't), most eat organic foods to avoid the use of certain chemicals and processes used to grow the food. However, there is also no evidence to indicate that foods grown in a nonorganic way are at all detrimental to one's health.
In fact, the advancements in agriculture are a big reason why generation after generation has had a healthy and longer life than previous generations, and also why hunger in the developed world is at an all time low. Given the extra expense of organic foods, the one thing we know is that the purchase will lighten one's wallet. As Fiona summed up, it's better to eat locally grown food and it is also better for the environment and local economy.
With the warmer weather coming, growing food in one's backyard or neighbourhood is a sure way to get both organic and locally grown food.
Prof. Scott Lear, Department of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University