FSA attacks French organics study

| 18th September 2009
The Half-Farmer/Half-X lifestyle offers nourishment in soil and spirit – as well as a ready supply of homegrown veg

Organic vegetables contain 50 per less nitrates, concluded the French study

FSA says French study on benefits of organic farming published last week used 'diluted data'

A French study that concluded there are nutritional benefits to organic produce is too limited, the UK food standards agency (FSA) has claimed.

The review, published by the French food agency AFSSA, contradicted the findings of a July FSA report, which concluded there was no significant nutritional differences between organic and conventional food.

In an update to a report, originally published in 2003, researchers at the University of Aix-Marseille concluded that organic plants produce more dry matter, minerals and anti-oxidants.

They also found that between 94 and 100 per cent of organic food did not contain any pesticide residues and that organic vegetables contain 50 per cent fewer nitrate compounds.

However, the FSA dismissed the findings. The watchdog told the Ecologist that the AFSSA review, 'often based its conclusions on small data sets, sometimes based on one or two studies'.

'The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) review [commissioned by the FSA] looked at nutrient categories across foodstuffs, therefore it did not dilute the already limited data on the nutrient levels in organic and conventionally produced food.

'The use of different methods in measuring nutrient content makes straightforward comparison of the conclusions of both reports difficult,' said a FSA spokeswoman.

Useful links

French AFSSA study
FSA study

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