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Ego Ronay turns his criticism on organic

Date Published: 03/02/2007

Restaurant critic Egon Ronay has hit out at organic food claiming the public are confused and being “conned”.

Mr Ronay has taken issue with the way organic products are marketed and says there is no proof that they are healthier. He has called on the Government to provide clearer information about the subject.

As one of the UK’s leading organic certifiers, Organic Farmers & Growers has been working for a number of years to inform shoppers about the many and various benefits of organic food and farming.

OF&G believes Mr Ronay may be correct that not everyone understands the key benefits of organic, but refutes the use of the word “con”.

Chief Executive of Organic Farmers & Growers, Richard Jacobs, said: “There seems to be a band of people who worry that the organic sector is trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. This is, of course, daft. There are no tricks or secrets, just hard working producers.

“We never criticise non-organic farmers because they still produce quality food. What we do say is that our organic farmers produce food that gives people the choice about how they want it grown and raised. That’s actually a fairly simple message to get across to anyone.”

OF&G believes that the key message for shoppers to understand is that organic food is produced in a strictly controlled system that means it is in tune with the environment in which it is produced, it cares about animal welfare as a priority and it doesn’t involve the kinds of chemicals that some forms of farming rely on. It also does not allow any GM inputs.

Mr Ronay, a respected restaurant critic, went on to say that recent comments by environment minister, David Miliband, about organic food had only served to confuse the situation further.

Mr Miliband said that non-organic food should not be seen as second best, although he clarified this by saying that people, including himself, bought organic for the taste and environmental benefits.