Delia Smith has spoken out against the fashion for organic food, advocated by fellow TV chefs like Jamie Oliver.

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

Delia, 66, also suggested that battery-reared chickens, which have been condemned by Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, were crucial to feed the less well-off.

She told Radio 4’s Today programme that if the whole world went organic it would be disastrous for the Third World.

Delia 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’.

“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.”