An EUR18m (US$24.2m) EU research project into organic foods is developing practical processing methods to help the sector become more profitable.

The QualityLowInputFood project is for instance developing an ecological alternative to washing fresh vegetables in chlorinated water, using ozonised water to clean lettuce, and possibly courgettes and tomatoes.

"We don't use a chlorine wash in Finland but the Brits do it to such an extent that even their lettuce smells of chlorine," said participating researcher Marjo Särkkä-Tirkkonen, from the University of Helsinki.

Another study is assessing organic food processing that may improve dairy product nutrition, for instance increasing conjugated linoleic acid content.