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(article, Kim Carlson)
A central element in the so-called organic-versus-local debate is being addressed in Britain at the top. The Soil Association’s food and farming department, which regulates organic food production in the U.K., is calling for public comment about whether food that is imported via air freight should be allowed the organic label: bq. Although at present air freight accounts for a tiny percentage of all organic food imports, consumers have expressed concern over the cost this has for the environment. Environmentalists also highlight the projected growth of aviation as a serious flaw in the U.K.'s strategy for tackling climate change. bq. This debate brings together important issues of climate change, ethical trade, global justice, and international development. Two questions not addressed by the Soil Association (and probably best not addressed by government at all) are those of taste and nutritional value. Food shipped thousands of miles usually doesn’t taste as good as locally grown food because it's grown for shipping, not for taste. Such hardiness comes at a price, usually flavor. Also, because produce is most nutritious just after it’s picked, fruits and vegetables that have logged lots of travel time lose their nutritional punch. So, yet again, it comes down to you standing in the grocery aisle. An organic apple from China? Or a non-organic apple from the farm down the street?