Tag Archives: QLIF

FSA wastes my money on rubbish organic research

Preparing for pesticide application.
Image via Wikipedia

The UK government food watchdog, the Food Standards Agency, has published a new report on organic food.

“Let’s stop this tomfoolery once-and-for-all about organic food being better for you,” seems to be the subtext.

In its attempts to convince us we are wrong to trust our senses (including common sense and sense of taste), the Food Standards Agency has had to undertake some mind-bending contortions. See for yourself – the actual report is here.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) claims to have conducted an exhaustive review of all the literature comparing organic and non-organic produce in the last 50 years.

Its review of 162 studies seems rather meagre compared to the Soil Association‘s 2001 review by Shane Heaton of over 400 studies.

Perhaps the FSA managed to keep its numbers low by omitting studies. It conveniently left out:

  • studies on contaminants such as pesticide residues (see pic)
  • studies examining the environmental benefits of organic farming
  • results of a major European Union-funded study involving 31 research and university institutes and the publication of more than 100 scientific papers earlier this year.

Professor Carlo Leifert, who conducted the above EU-study, which found organic milk is way-much better for you than non-organic milk, remarked:

“With these literature reviews you can influence the outcome by the way that you select the papers that you use for your meta-analysis…My feeling – and quite a lot of people think this – is that this is probably the study that delivers what the FSA wanted as an outcome.”

The FSA could find only eleven studies that fitted its meta-criteria.


I am no scientist, but since when was eleven a big-enough sample to draw conclusions?

The fact is we need more research on the nutritional differences.

But I don’t want my tax spent on a biased analysis.

The FSA has a reputation for being hysterically anti-organic and pro-GM.

This report is making me think its rep is live and kickin’ again.

Addendum 19 September 2009

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]My understanding of this report continues to grow.
Let me share my findings: the FSA report DID show higher levels of key nutrients in organic food in some of the data.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine carried out the survey (goodness knows why)
rejected the findings because the samples did not meet its criteria.
If you add the samples together, the results would show organic food does have more nutrients.
Crikey – complicated, eh?
It’s the deceptions and obfuscations which make things hard to understand.
I always say: the truth is simple.