HL Deb 28 February 2001 vol 622 c143WA
Lord Vinson

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 12 February (WA 11), if there is no universally applicable method of distinguishing organic food from that conventionally produced, (a) whether there is any difference in nutrition or benefit to health between organic and conventional produce; and (b) how the Food Standards Agency authenticates organic produce. [HL871]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Food Standards Agency considers that there is not enough information available at present to be able to say that organic foods are significantly different in terms of their safety or nutritional content from those produced conventionally. What matters is the nutrient content and overall balance of the diet as a whole, rather than the composition of individual foods.

Administration of the certification scheme for organic food lies with the United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards. Enforcement of the regulations dealing with organic products lies with local authorities. The agency's role is to set standards of enforcement and to assist enforcement authorities in their task. The agency has commissioned research to find a method which would indicate whether vegetables meet some of the standards required in organic production.