Organic food promoter the Soil Association has refuted claims made in a recent survey by Mintel that consumers are becoming increasingly cynical about the safety of organic food.
"Despite Mintel's findings, the truth is that organic food is safe and healthy," the Soil Association said.
Two new studies published last year have shown that organic crops contain higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as magnesium, iron and calcium. Higher levels of nutrients were particularly evident in spinach, lettuce, cabbage and potatoes.
The Association said that organic processed food also delivered health benefits. Health problems as diverse as heart disease, osteoporosis, migraines and hyperactivity have been linked to food additives whose use is banned under organic standards. Hydrogenated fat, which should be avoided in order to help maintain a healthy heart, is not allowed in any organic food.
It added that consumers could also be assured that organic food reached the highest standards, as all organic farms and food processors were inspected and licensed annually for compliance to a legally defined set of standards.
The Soil Association has found no recorded case of BSE in any animal born and reared organically and a survey conducted by the Public Health Laboratory Service of over 3,000 ready-to-eat organic vegetables found no evidence of dangerous microbes that might cause disease in humans. In addition, the UK Food Standards Agency recognises that there are likely to be lower levels of pathogens in manure used on organic farms.