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Home » Ethics

FSA study on organic food

Submitted by on November 18, 2009 – 1:58 pmOne Comment

ladybug

A recent independent study funded by the Food Standards Agency concluded that organic food is no healthier and provides no significant nutritional benefit compared with conventionally produced food.  The study looked at evidence published over the past 50 years of the different nutrient levels found in crops and livestock from organic and so-called conventional farming regimes and of the health benefits derived from eating organic food.

Dr Alan Dangour, who led the review by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “Most studies were based on the hypothesis that eating organic food is beneficial to health. Looking at all of the studies published in the last 50 years, we have concluded that there’s no good evidence that consumption of organic food is beneficial to health based on the nutrient content.”

He said that while small differences in nutrient content were found between organic and conventionally produced food, they were “unlikely to be of any public health relevance”.

At the same time, the appendix of the FSA report itself shows that some nutrients, such as beta-carotene, are as much as 53% higher in organic food, but such differences are not reflected in its conclusions.

Confusing and contradictory messages about the way we live these days, what we eat, what we drink, where we live, how we spend our leisure time, appear with increasing frequency in the content-hungry media channels of the ‘Information Age.’ The one question provoked by such a study as this is why the Government  should apparently be concerned with discrediting organic food. Whether or not it is of greater nutritional value, few would deny its production is less harmful to the environment, and, although meat production makes absolutely no sense environmentally, animal welfare seems better under an organic farming regime.

True, organic farming is less productive hectare for hectare. In an age of unparalleled population increase this will inevitably need to be factored in. It might, however,  be interesting for any statistician with either time on their hands or independent funding, to examine the relationship between the incidence of gastro-intestinal disorders or food intolerance and diet.

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