Delia: I don't do organic

TV cook and top Canary Delia Smith has suggested battery-reared chickens are crucial to feed the less well-off.Norwich City's majority shareholder, who lives near Stowmarket, admitted that she “didn't do organic”.

TV cook and top Canary Delia Smith has suggested battery-reared chickens are crucial to feed the less well-off.

Norwich City's majority shareholder, who lives near Stowmarket, admitted that she “didn't do organic”.

The cookery queen also risked provoking the ire of the environmental food lobby when she declared that she "loves" freshly-shelled peas flown in from Kenya.

Battery-reared chickens have been condemned by fellow celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, but Smith told Radio 4's Today programme that if the "whole world' went organic it would be disastrous for the Third World.

Smith said she did not do "politics', stating: "I will stick to cooking.

"I'll stick to teaching people to cook because I certainly don't like the way battery chickens are reared... and I have put in my book 'use free range'.

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"But on the other hand, I'm aware we still have a lot of poverty, particularly among children in this country, and I feel that is a disgrace, and somehow or other we have got to make sure everybody gets enough nutritious food to eat in the first place.'

She added: "I don't do organic because I'm a cook. I can't get into the politics of food. I don't have the knowledge or the background.

"But if I go into a shop and I want to buy some beautiful fresh beetroot, I will go for whatever looks best.

"If it is organic I might buy it, if it isn't I will buy that.

"Also, if the whole world goes organic, the state of the third world will be twice as bad as it is at the moment and I'm much more interested in people getting enough to eat.'

Asked about the problem of emissions caused by "food miles', Smith replied that she was concerned about the environment but added: "I do love fresh shelled peas that you can buy in the winter from Kenya.

"I'm sorry about the planet and the problem of emissions but I'm also conscious there are people in Kenya getting employment and money to bring up their children from that produce.

"I'm in a minefield. I haven't got a clue... It's really confusing at the moment.'

The cookery presenter and writer's latest cookbook, How To Cheat At Cooking, is her first in four years and hits the shops today.

It has been top of Amazon's best-sellers chart all this week on pre-orders alone, beating Nigella Lawson's Nigella Express and Oliver's Jamie At Home.

Sales of organic and free range chickens soared following Oliver and Fearnley-Whittingstall's TV programmes which showed disturbing scenes of chickens being slaughtered using battery-farm methods.