FSA bias against organics

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The Soil Association’s initial reaction to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) research when it was published in July last year was that it as misleading. Having taken detailed scientific advice, the Soil Association is now clear that the research was designed in a way that produced inaccurate conclusions which were then presented by the FSA in a biased and misleading way.

Following meetings with both the Chair and the Chief Executive of the FSA, and at their suggestion, the Soil Association and the Organic Trade Board are raising a large number of concerns about the FSA’s behaviour, and the way the scientist they commissioned went about this research, with the FSA’s General Advisory Committee on Science – hopefully they will report sometime this year.

The FSA’s review contradicted other recent science which has shown significant nutritional differences between organic and non-organic food. A paper will be published shortly in a prestigious scientific journal which examines how these different results were arrived at , and why the FSA’s were wrong. On 20 May this year, the FSA released the raw data on which their scientific conclusions were based – a scandalous 10 months after the research was published, and 7 months after the FSA Chair agreed to do so.

This data will now be reworked by independent scientists, led by Professor Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University, to investigate further how it was that the well-known and widely reported nutritional difference between organic and non-organic food were found to be ‘not significant’ by the FSA research.

This work is not likely to be published in a peer reviewed journal before the end of this year

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