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Organic Production and Food Quality: A Down to Earth Analysis



Organic Production and Food Quality: A Down to Earth Analysis

Robert Blair

ISBN: 978-1-118-24499-9 November 2011 Wiley-Blackwell 282 Pages


The internet is rife with biased and unsubstantiated claims from the organic industry, and the treatment of issues such as food safety and quality by the media ("if it bleeds, it leads") tends to have a negative impact on consumer perceptions about conventional food. Until recently, more and more consumers in many countries were opting to buy organic food over conventional food, resulting in a radical shift in food retailing. This was due to concerns over chemical residues, food poisoning resulting in recalls, food scares such as "mad-cow" disease, issues like gene-modified (GM foods), antibiotics, hormones, cloning and concerns over the way plants and animals are being grown commercially as food sources. As a result there has been an expansion of the organic industry and the supply of organic foods at farmers' markets, supermarkets and specialty stores.

Organic Production and Food Quality: A Down to Earth Analysis is the first comprehensive book on how organic production methods influence the safety and quality of foods, based on an unbiased assessment of the latest scientific findings.  The title is a 'must-have' for everyone working within the food industry.

  • Comprehensive explanation of organic production methods and effects on the safety and quality of foods
  • Authoritative, unbiased and up-to-date examination of relevant global scientific research
  • Answers the questions of whether organic food is more nutritious and/or more healthy
Foreword ix

1 The Shift to Organic Food 1

Background 1

Organic regulations 3

Consumer perceptions 7

Analysis of the topic 9

References 10

2 Consumer Concerns About Food 13

The concerns 14

Consumer concerns and attitudes 16

Food regulations 20

Justification for consumer attitudes about the safety of

organic and conventional foods 21

Range of organic foods 22

References 23

3 Vegetable Produce 25

Pest and disease control 25

Documented findings on pesticide residues 27

Other chemical contaminants 33

Other toxic and antinutritional compounds in produce 35

Hormones 35

Can organic produce cause food poisoning? 36

Nutrient concentrations 42

Organoleptic quality 51

Identification of organic produce 53

Food from afar 54

Finally: watch which salad veg you eat 55

Conclusions 55

References 56

4 Fruit 61

Pesticide residues 61

Other risks with fruit 68

Chemical residues 68

Microbial problems 70

Mycotoxins 70

Cloning and gene-modified fruit 71

Nutrient concentrations 72

Appearance and organoleptic qualities 83

Preserves 86

Conclusions 88

References 89

5 Cereal Grains 93

Pesticide residues 93

Chemical residues 96

Other issues relating to grains 97

Mycotoxins: are organic grains less safe? 98

Gene-modified crops 102

Nutritional and organoleptic qualities 103

Wheat 104

Oats 108

Barley 108

Conclusions 108

References 109

6 Meat 111

Chemical and pesticide residues 111

Organic meat 116

Hormones 121

Hormone residue levels in meats. Do government agencies

monitor for these? 123

Developing countries 124

Antibiotics 125

Bacterial contamination of meat 127

Cloning 129

Mad-cow disease 131

Contaminated beef products implicated 132

Gene modification 133

Nutritional and organoleptic qualities 135

Beef 135

Pork 141

Poultry 146

Fish 150

Conclusions 157

References 158

7 Milk and Milk Products 163

The hormone issue 163

Raw milk 165

Antibiotic residues 167

Pesticide and chemical residues 168

Nutritional and organoleptic qualities 170

Research findings 170

Consumer findings 175

Conclusions 179

References 180

8 Eggs 183

Cholesterol 184

Salmonella and food-poisoning 187

Contamination with residues 191

Antibiotics 191

Chemical residues 192

Egg quality 198

Research findings 198

Consumer findings 203

Conclusions 203

References 204

9 Is Organic Food Safer? 207

Residues 207

Vegetable produce 207

Fruit 208

Cereal grains 208

Meat 208

Milk 209

Eggs 209

Food poisoning 210

Mycotoxins 211

Other anti-nutrients 211

Nitrate 211

Significance of the findings in relation to health 213

Other research on food and health 216

Health of farmers and farm workers 219

Other approaches 221

Conclusions 222

References 223

10 Is Organic Food More Nutritious and "Tasty"? 227

Reviews 227

Analysis by food group 237

Vegetable produce 237

Fruit 238

Cereal grains 239

Contents vii

Meat 239

Milk 239

Eggs 240

Taste 240

References 240

11 Psychology of Organic Food Choice 243

The safety issue 244

Nutritional quality and taste 244

Environmental issues 248

Image 252

Conclusions 256

References 256

12 Conclusions 259

Reference 263

Appendix 265

Index 267

"This comprehensive book is welcome in that it not only covers the quality of crops in separate chapters on vegetables, fruit and cereal grains but it also deals, in equal measure, with the quality of meat, milk products and eggs." (The Biologist, March 2014)

“Everyone with a serious interest in the differences between organic and conventional food should have this book on their coffee table or bookshelf, because it is the most comprehensive and objective library of present evidence.”  (Int. J. Environment & Pollution, 1 May 2013)

"Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals; general readers." (Choice, 1 December 2012)

"This book by Professor Blair is a very valuable analysis of how organic food production affects food quality, and the conclusions and suggestions should be of great interest to all sectors of the food industry, including researchers and producers. Hopefully the book will also benefit consumers by encouraging the media and the food industry to present a more accurate picture of the relative quality of conventional and organic foods." (Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Science, 1 May 2012)

"This is a remarkable book . . . Everyone with a serious interest in the differences between organic and conventional food should have this book on their coffee table or bookshelf because it is the most comprehensive and objective library of present evidence." (Prof. John Hodges, Food and Nutrition Sciences)

"Dr. Blair's book is a comprehensive and balanced review of the scientific literature related to the organic versus conventional debate. . . . Each chapter provides an unbiased overview of the literature related to a particular food item and lets the reader decide if their preference for or against a particular organic food is supported by research." (Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 1 December 2012)

"This unique book gives an objective and thorough view of a major issue in health, nutrition, food quality, the environment and food production systems and is of interest to consumers, farmers, nutritionists, medical specialists, environmentalists and businesses in the food chain." (Journal of Tropical Agricultural Association, Winter 2012)