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‘Wake up to an Organic Breakfast!’ 1-16 September 2007 17.08.07

Soil Association Organic Fortnight

The Soil Association is asking everyone to ‘Wake up to an Organic Breakfast!’ to celebrate Soil Association Organic Fortnight, Europe’s biggest celebration of organic food. Nutritionists have long known that a good breakfast is at the heart of a healthy diet, and what could be healthier than an organic breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast provides the energy your body needs to start the day. When you wake up in the morning, you haven’t eaten for 8 to 12 hours: it’s time to "break that fast." Research has shown that breakfast helps to improve mental and physical performance and contributes many important nutrients to your diet. Skipping breakfast is not a good way to cut calories during the day. . . you may end up eating more at lunch, or relieving your hunger with higher fat, less nutritious snacks. If you eat a good organic breakfast, you might not need those higher fat "quick fixes."

Top 6 reasons to wake up to an organic breakfast:

1. A better start to the day for you and your children The best way to avoid pesticides, GM and unnecessary additives is to eat organic. Published research indicates that on average organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants. Organic milk is naturally higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene) and certain other antioxidants than non-organic milk.

2. Supporting the UK farmers growing your cereal Organic farming is helping reverse the decline in the UK’s agricultural workforce, which has fallen by 80% over the last 50 years. Organic farms in the UK provide on average over 30% more jobs per farm than equivalent non-organic farms. Organic farms tend to be more diverse, so requiring a greater number of people and skills for a wider range of jobs, as well as running entrepreneurial activities like local box-schemes and farm-shops. Although employing more people, organic farms are profitable.

3. A great rise and shine for the environment Overall organic farming supports more butterflies, beetles, birds, bats and wild plants than non-organic farming. The UK government has said that it is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays, and produces less carbon dioxide - the main global warming gas - and less dangerous wastes.

4. Producing Planet Friendly Food Organic farming can play a major role in addressing climate change. Organic substantially cuts back many of the key input adding to climate change. Organic farming typically uses 30% less energy than non-organic agriculture. Climate-change boosting artificial fertilisers are banned, instead organic farmers build fertility naturally using plants like clover. So, eating an organic breakfast everyday is one simple thing everyone can do to help tackle climate change.

5. Bacon & eggs from happier pigs and chickens Leading animal welfare organisation, Compassion in World Farming has endorsed Soil Association organic welfare standards - “Organic farming has the potential to offer the very highest standards of animal welfare. Compassion in World Farming believes that the Soil Association’s welfare standards are leaders in the field.” (Joyce d’Silva, Compassion in World Farming). The Soil Association also bans the routine use of antibiotics.

6. No nasty bills hiding under your napkin UK taxpayers fork out over £120m annually to pay for chemicals to be removed from drinking water, mostly from pesticides used in non-organic farming.

And if that isn’t enough here are a few of the Soil Associations suggested ingredients for that perfect organic breakfast.

Good ‘moos’ for organic milk drinkers

Several scientific studies have demonstrated the nutritional differences of organic milk. They show that organic milk generally contains higher levels of beneficial nutrients and vitamins than milk from non-organic cows. The studies have found that organic milk contains higher levels of beneficial compounds in the milk fats, particularly short-chain omega-3 essential fatty acids, as well as vitamin E and the antioxidant beta-carotene (which the body converts to vitamin A). Higher levels of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthine have also been found in milk from cows that eat a grass and silage based diet typical of organic farming.

Organic mushrooms and tomatoes

No food has higher amounts of beneficial minerals, essential amino acids and vitamins than organic food. Organic mushrooms and tomatoes contain more nutrients and less water. Artificial fertilisers used in non-organic farming increase the water content of fruit and vegetables. Although this method may produce bigger yields, it dilutes the food’s nutrient content. Researchers found that organic tomatoes "contained more dry matter, total and reducing sugars, vitamin C, B-carotene and flavonoids in comparison to the conventional ones.”

Organic tomato ketchup

Research has shown that organic varieties of tomato ketchup contain more cancer-fighting lycopene than non-organic ketchup. Lycopene helps protect against breast, pancreatic, prostate and intestinal cancer, especially when eaten with fatty foods. Also evidence that it can reduce the risk of heart attacks.

Organic fruit

We all know the importance of getting our five-a-day, but eating five organic fruit and vegetables a day is even better. A non-organic apple can be sprayed up to 16 times with 36 different chemicals, many of which cannot simply be washed off. The latest Government tests, carried out in 2005, found pesticides in 80% of non-organic apple samples.

The British Medical Association say that some pesticides can be stored in our body’s fatty tissues for years, raising concern about them being carcinogenic (cancer causing), mutagenic (causing birth defects) and neurotoxic (damaging to our nervous system). As organic farmers predominantly use natural methods to control pests, choosing organic is the best way to avoid pesticides in your food.

The annual Organic Market Report, published to coincide with the launch of Organic Fortnight will confirm growing consumer support for organic food, drink, textiles and health and beauty products. Such sustained market growth confirms the public’s support for and understanding of the benefits delivered by organic food and farming for their health, for wildlife and for the planet.

Robin Maynard, Soil Association Campaigns Director said,, “More and more people are waking up and supporting planet-friendly farming by choosing to buy organic food. They know it’s the best way to avoid things they don’t want in their or their children’s food like pesticides or GM; of getting more of the good stuff, such as increased omega 3s in organic milk, as well as supporting more wildlife and cutting pollution. Organic farming also uses much less energy to grow our food, so producing far fewer dangerous climate change gases.

“The government knows organic farming delivers all these benefits – so why doesn’t the government encourage everyone to take the easy, everyday action of choosing planet-friendly, organic food? Organic Fortnight will mobilise public support to deliver an organic wake-up call to Gordon Brown and the government.”

Peter Shield

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