The Way to a Manchester’s Stomach
New study says some organic food no better for the environment
In case you weren’t confused enough about your grocery shopping, a government-sponsored study in the U.K. has added a possible twist. It suggests that some organic foods may not be better for the environment than their conventional counterparts. While the 200-page study by the Manchester Business School found that many organic products do have lower impacts than their pesticide-laden brethren, it points out that the act of producing others can actually have a bigger impact. Organic milk, for instance, requires 80 percent more land and creates 20 percent more carbon dioxide than conventional milk; organic chickens, because they’re raised longer than those crammed into crummy conventional coops, require 25 percent more energy. Britain’s top organic group, the Soil Association, acknowledged that in some cases organic farming can be less energy-efficient, but said that factors not considered in the study more than make up for that. Like, say, eating food that’s not laced with neurotoxins.