Do you want to stop at quacking plums?

The UK's Food Standards Agency have issued their report into the nutritional value of organic food, stating that there is no statistically significant evidence that it is better for you than food produced using conventional modern methods. A similar conclusion was reached by Lesley Regan, reporting for the BBC Science show, Horizon, in February 2008.

Unsurprisingly, the media have publicized these findings widely, although the Soil Association state that they are 'disappointed' with the FSA study, and offer their own, slightly different slant on the nutritional benefits organic produce provides. Clearly this is a subject that will always be arguable, even if further studies would be useful.

However, what I find slightly strange is that the discussion focuses almost entirely on health benefits, whilst a very important aspect of the topic - the environmental impact of organic farming - is being overlooked.

Surely it doesn't really matter if there are no major health benefits from eating organic food, if the farming itself has a more enlightened approach to animal welfare, uses fewer pesticides, chemicals and fertilizers, produces lower greenhouse gas emissions, and is more sensitive to local wildlife? Or is human health somehow independent of its broader environment?

Some beans, but are they really green?