[caption id="attachment_155" align="alignleft" width="114"] Nancy Hirsch, VisiVite.Com Certified Nutritionist[/caption] Quote of the day: "The food industry, in alliance with pharmaceutical and big biotechnology companies, has waged a long, often cynical campaign to convince the public that mass-produced, chemically-assisted and intensively-farmed products are just as good as organic foods, despite mounting evidence to the contrary." The quote comes from an article written in response to the UK's Food Standards Agency's (FSA) report this week that claims that organic food is no healthier for you than conventional food. The findings were based on fifty years worth of research papers on the subject. There are, in my opinion, many inherent problems with this report. First of all, contaminants? like pesticides and antibiotics contained in conventional produce were not even addressed. The FSA said that they were "beyond the scope of the study." It is now widely believed that pesticides not only poison the soil and harm wildlife, but also promote cancer and many other diseases because of their toxicity. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="260"] Is this food organic?[/caption] The FSA report didn't include the latest research commissioned by the European Union, which found that vitamins and other beneficial compounds were significantly greater in organic crops than in conventional ones. The EU study found that organic wheat, tomatoes, cabbage, onions and lettuce had between 10 and 20 percent more vitamins than conventional produce. And let's not forget that organic food simply tastes better. It's not just that conventional food is sprayed with pesticides and herbicides -- it is also filled with additives, colorings and other chemicals just so that is has an acceptable appearance once it reaches grocery store shelves. The FSA also failed to include the 15 studies that came out after the cut-off date of February 2008, which could have changed the outcome of the report. For example, one study? found that organic foods contain more phosphorus, while conventional foods contain more nitrogen, which scientists have linked to cancer. Supporters of organic farming claim that the results of the study are flawed because of the criteria used to select the most important research. Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association states, "The review rejected almost all of the existing studies of comparisons between organic and non-organic nutritional differences." When all of the research was taken into account, organic food was frequently higher in nutrients than conventional produce. Beta-carotene was shown to be over 50 percent higher in organic food, and organic milk contained around 60 percent more antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids than non-organic milk. Even the FSA's own published research shows that organic foods are clearly far better for the consumer in nutritional terms alone. So why was this research by the FSA brought to the attention of the public? There are some people who feel that by reporting it this way and apparently rendering the playing field equal for conventional farmers, the government and the agricultural sector wouldn't have to begin the difficult job of moving towards a system of sustainability. One reporter on the subject wrote in response to this idea, "Sustainable agriculture improves not just our personal health, but our collective environmental health as well."
And I couldn't agree more.