Experts led by Newcastle University, UK have proved that organic crops and crop-based foods are up to 60 per cent higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown crops.
Analysing 343 studies into the compositional differences between organic and conventional crops, the team found that a switch to eating organic fruit, vegetable and cereals – and food made from them – would provide additional antioxidants equivalent to eating between 1-2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
This constitutes an important addition to the information currently available to consumers, which until now has been confusing and in many cases is conflicting. And which naturally, is of great importance to the people producing and delivering food to patients.
Responding to the Study, Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) National Chair, Andy Jones says:
“The findings and analysis, which is of course reliable and independent, is the most extensive I have ever seen. It adds weight to the view that food quality is influenced and impacted upon by the ways it’s produced and grown,” a view endorsed by Helen Browning OBE, Chief Executive, Soil Association.
“This may give us a start point which would prove the benefits of using organic, or not, but the HCA would welcome it going even deeper to prove that food is essential to patients’ recovery, then maybe ALL would treat catering as an essential, if not critical service.
“We encourage Members to use more seasonal, local products and organic wherever they can, but in reality cost prevents this happening on a wide scale as catering budgets have been targeted for CIP (cost improvements), so we need our budgets increasing accordingly so we can truly support organic.
“We need to be able to prove that feeding patients better will cost the NHS less in the long run. To that end, we are in early development discussions about our serious new focus and interest in research. The authors of this study welcome the continued public and scientific debate on this important subject so we will certainly be following the team’s continued research, and we will be contacting them to establish how the HCA Members can assist and be involved.”
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