Organic is no better for you?

Checking the FSA reports (there are two, one concerning nutrient values, the second health impacts), you’ll find:

This review does not address contaminant content (such as herbicide, pesticide and fungicide residues) of organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs or the environmental impacts of organic and conventional agricultural practices.” – in both.

 

They were desk studies, looking at research from many sources. In each case, they first determined the research quality – like sample size, known crop variety, etc – and put a load of papers in the ‘second rate’ pile. They then had to match up the results in a common format.

 

On the nutrient values, they found, from their better papers, organic crops had more phosphorus and titratable acidity, and less nitrogen. Including results from the other studies added magnesium, zinc, phytochemicals (phenolic compounds and flavonoids) and sugars in organic crops. (Titratable acidity and sugar add flavour.) For livestock products, organic had more nitrogen according the better papers, and more of certain fatty acids according to the others.

 

On the health impacts, they looked at 11 studies, only three of which met their quality criteria. All were very different. They say: “In conclusion, because of the limited and highly variable data available, and concerns over the reliability of some reported findings, there is currently no evidence of a health benefit from consuming organic compared to conventionally produced foodstuffs.”

 

For the FSA reports, see http://www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2009/jul/organic

For two Ecologist reports, see:

 

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/294394/organic_food_report_admits_to_lack_of_evidence.html

http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/bloggers/the_editors_blog/294396/fsa_organics_study_read_it_closely.html







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