For more on Krebs see: FOOD FIX: G8, OECD, FSA, Krebs and Paterson
How the Food Standards Agency is part of a global GM spin operation
Organic produce attacked by food agency
BY NICK NUTTALL, ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT
The Times, September 2nd
CONSUMERS who believe that organic produce has nutritional and food-safety benefits are wasting their money, the head of the Food Standards Agency said yesterday.
In a devastating attack, Professor Sir John Krebs characterised organic food, which has been promoted by such figures as the Prince of Wales, as an image-led fad.
Supporters of organic farming hit back by accusing Sir John of being out of touch with consumers and of being in the pockets of the biotechnology industry.
Harry Hadaway, of the Soil Association, the organisation which certifies organic food and organic farmers, said: "As a historic supporter of genetically modified foods we feel Sir John continues not to represent the wishes of the British consumer who have made it clear that they reject chemical farming."
Sir John, 54, who was a surprise choice for the £96,000-a-year post as head of the agency,stuck to his guns, however: "[Consumers] are not getting value for money, if they think they're buying food with extra nutritional quality or extra safety. We don't have the evidence to support those claims.
I think the organic industry relies on image and that image is one that many consumers clearly want to sign up to."
Sir John, who recently chaired a debate on biotechnology and GM foods, organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, said that some organic foods on sale in Britain may not be what they seem. He said organic standards in Britain were high but they were not necessarily applied in the rest of the world, and an estimated 70 per cent of organic food is imported into Britain.
His comments come in advance of his interview tomorrow on BBC1's Countryfile, which will give details of tests that found pesticide residues on organic carrots.
Sir John said yesterday that he was happy to eat GM, organic or conventionally produced foodstuffs. "I choose food on the grounds of whether it is fresh and well produced."