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UK's FSA Finds No Health Benefits To Organic Food

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the 30-day-detox-delusion dept.

Medicine 921

blackbeak writes "The UK Food Standards Agency's 'Independant Organic Review' results were just released, and the BBC rushed to publish the findings in the shockingly titled article, 'No Health Benefits to Organic Food.' From the article, 'There is little difference in nutritional value and no evidence of any extra health benefits from eating organic produce, UK researchers found.' A peek into the research at Postpeakpublishing provides a slightly deeper look."

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World improves (0, Redundant)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878913)

There's a reason why we live so much longer now a days compared to middle ages and before and hell, even to beginning of 1900. That is technological improvement, so there's no really any reason why technologically made or improved food would be more riskier.

Technology has improved lots of things in our world and even more during the last hundred years, so why not the food industry aswell. The old ways sometimes.. correction, usually aren't the best way. They're always just based on what people knew at that time and because it got widely known as "truth".

One example about why past times doesn't work good now. Even 50-100 years ago it was a lot more difficult for people to get food. In my country usual food consisted almost 60% of carbs like potatoes etc, because farming land and the climate was good for it, hence it being cheap. And because getting food was still somewhat hard to get, people we're living good and healthy and fit. It's completely different situation now when you can just go to mcdonalds and order fatty food for 1-2 dollars. However just out of history my gov keeps promoting the same ingredient amounts to everyone (specially what pupils/students eat in school), while high bad carbs are really, really bad in the amounts they've being consumed now a days. Food has become so cheap that the habits need to change.

World changes during time.

And hell, I rather eat food thats *NOT* made in cow shit just because its "natural" based on human history and was the only way to make it at the time.

Re:World improves (5, Funny)

overbaud (964858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878939)

Last time I checked food is not 'made' in cow shit. Unless of course there are small pixie like creatures in cow pat factories making food that the rest of the world is yet to discover. Kinda like cow shit oompa loopmas.

Re:World improves (2, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878969)

Organic food is. That's the point of it -- Making it as naturally as possible, without using extra ingredients and such to better it. Cow shit is one of the most used things the fields are filled with (so they dont use technogically improved soil etc)

Re:World improves (0)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879005)

Unless of course there are small pixie like creatures in cow pat factories making food that the rest of the world is yet to discover.

Bacteria and fungi. HTH. HAND.

Re:World improves (1)

screamphilling (1173499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879049)

mushrooms!!

Re:World improves (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879339)

As snake!!!!!

          -dZ.

Re:World improves (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878973)

"That is technological improvement, so there's no really any reason why technologically made or improved food would be more riskier."

Utter Horsepuckey.

So because technological improvement has helped us get where we are now, it can do no wrong at all?

What nonsense. Look at the whole trans-fat thing for an example. Carcinogens added technologically as a preservative.

Re:World improves (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878997)

Sorry, worded it bad. Point being technology has bring lots of improvements, so theres no reason why wouldn't it work the same way with food. I dont deny something can go wrong either tho, but with everything else we're took the risks too. I bet people have suffered to bring computers and internet to us too, but we can all see what kind of improvement it has bring to the world.

Re:World improves (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879077)

The problem with your point is - in my opinion - that in the area of food, technological advancements are either scams or used to sell us processed cheap shit.

Our national consumer protection organisation recently published a list of what some "food" items really are made of. Technology is used to get away with as little of the original ingredients as possible and add as much cheap filler (corn, soy, cheap oils) as possible. How can technologically engineered food with 20% real ingredients for taste and 80% cheap filler be good?

Re:World improves (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879351)

Couldn't agree more.

That and all the chemically dependant "fast-grow, high-yield" fruits and vegetables taste like arse compared to the more traditional ones.

Going for higher, cheaper yield is not always good.

Re:World improves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28878993)

Straw man/offtopic

Bad grammar

Technology fanboy

Re:World improves (4, Interesting)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879113)

The problem with McDonald's food is not primarily the fat. It's the flavour enhancer.

Our body is pretty well able to regulate how much of our intake it actually processes, unless, of course, it is swamped with it. And therein lies the problem: Flavour enhancers override our senses and let us eat beyond what we need as sustenance.

From personal experience I know that I eat less the more unprocessed ingredients are used in food preparation. I'm less in a hurry to shovel it into my mouth, thus giving my stomach the time to process the stuff and tell me when it's enough.

The biggest problem we have nowadays is stress. Not only at work or in personal matters, but also when eating. We eat faster and thus more. So in my opinion, the less additives food has, the better you're off all around.

We do not live longer all that much, by the way. The problem is that in those statistics all the children and mothers that died at birth were included. Since these problems have lessened due to higher levels of hygiene during child birthing, our statistics have, of course, vastly improved.

Re:World improves (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879205)

I agree. Actually pure fat is not even bad, its just bad when its combined with other things. I mostly eat meat, grounded beef or chicken and it makes me full and feeling great for long time, while keeping me in shape too. Problems just comes when you mix bad carbs and those flavour enhangers into it, because instead of burning the fat you burn those. Which is the case with mcdonalds and hamburgers -- they're both high-fat and high bad carbs. Personally I've felt a lot better when I dropped all of those, with a minor side effect thinking how great they would taste :)

But the point being, tech has improvement a lot and why not with food aswell. Maybe it can even make those hamburgers healthy without affecting the taste or health issues. We live happily in cities that aren't exactly "natural" kind of living based on history, so why is food technology such a problem.. if done correctly.

Re:World improves (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879299)

IMO, there are no bad carbs. There is just energy and whether your body is at liberty to be lean because enough of it comes in regularly and stress levels are low enough to not trigger starvation mode.

Calling food groups 'bad' is, IMO, about as insightful as an 'axis of evil'.

Re:World improves (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879199)

You have got a fairly odd idea of what organic food is about. It's not like organic produce is created like it was in the middle ages. They just take a few more variables into consideration which are more or less irrelevant to normal agriculture: multiple ways of sustainability, a more careful application of pharmaceutics, animal living conditions, human working conditions.

Another odd idea of yours: that non-organic food is not made "in cow-shit". Manure is used as a fertiziler in both organic and non-organic agriculture. And it's certainly preferable to most chemical fertilizers, for starters because you don't have to expend a lot of energy to get it; you typically get it for free. (Of course I'm aware that too much fertilizing with manure is just as dangerous as using too much non-organic fertilizer.)

from TFA (5, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878917)

The review did not look at pesticides or the environmental impact of different farming practices.

says it all really.

Re:from TFA (4, Insightful)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878929)

You are dead right. I for one would call "not being poisoned by organophosphorus residues" a health benefit. I wonder who paid for this study and then chose the report's title.

Re:from TFA (0)

Xelios (822510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878947)

Or if he eats organic food maybe he's not-so-dead right, am I right?

They ignored the "weight of evidence" (4, Interesting)

Smegly (1607157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879179)

The world is not black and white. The FSA scientists (and/or their political masters) obviously did not apply (or ignored) Scientific Principles when Applying the Weight of Evidence. From "The Principles of Weight of Evidence Validation of Test Methods and Testing Strategies [nih.gov] ":

Weight of evidence (WoE) is a phrase used to describe the type of consideration made in a situation where there is uncertainty, and which is used to ascertain whether the evidence or information supporting one side of a cause or argument is greater than that supporting the other side. We all frequently make personal WoE decisions in our daily lives, but more-formal WoE approaches are used in many different kinds of circumstance â" for example, in commercial, educational, health, legal and scientific contexts

The weight of scientific evidence against the use of pesticides is quite frankly, frighting. For a decent condensed summary of many scientific papers from many fields demonstrating the effects of pesticides, (especially on the endocrine system [wikipedia.org] ) check out the book/collection of scientific reports Our Stolen Future [ourstolenfuture.org] . In 1995 worldwide pesticide sales were around 30 billion. Who knows what they are today?

Re:They ignored the "weight of evidence" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879317)

The weight of scientific evidence against the use of pesticides is quite frankly, frighting. For a decent condensed summary of many scientific papers from many fields demonstrating the effects of pesticides, (especially on the endocrine system [wikipedia.org] ) check out the book/collection of scientific reports Our Stolen Future [ourstolenfuture.org] .

In 1995 worldwide pesticide sales were around 30 billion. Who knows what they are today?

Not so fast. If you're concerned with pesticides, you might want to brush up on what exactly constitutes an "organic" food.
  Here is a Quackwatch [quackwatch.com] article about the subject. It also addresses pesticides directly.

Re:from TFA (5, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879349)

You are dead right. I for one would call "not being poisoned by organophosphorus residues" a health benefit. I wonder who paid for this study and then chose the report's title.

If you follow the links (yes, I know, this is /.) you will find that it covered overall health effects, not just nutrition. You will also find that it was paid for by the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA). I don't know who chose the report's title ("Organic Health Effects Review"). Presumably the FSA chose the title of the press release ("Organic Review Published"). Why? Do you find those titles biased or controversial?

However, the FSA press release doesn't seem to match the content of the report. The report was on a study of studies, looking at existing work rather than doing any new research. It found that the "because of the limited and highly variable data available, and concerns over the reliability of some reported findings, there is currently no evidence of a health benefit from consuming organic compared to conventionally produced foodstuffs". That is not the same as the FSA's claim that "there are no important differences in the nutrition content, or any additional health benefits, of organic food when compared with conventionally produced food" as the FSA say on the press release. The study showed that we don't know whether there are any health benefits, not that there are no health benefits. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This suggests at least incompetence on the part of whoever did the press release, and possibly malice.

Re:from TFA (1, Interesting)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878959)

Tells me the study was really paid for by corporate interests.

Re:from TFA (5, Insightful)

managementboy (223451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879185)

tells me you didn't like the outcome of the study, had no better arguments, then had to fall back to insinuating without proof that the scientist are just crooks who will bend the truth to earn a few bucks. Ahh, I love a good conspiracy.

Re:from TFA (1)

fatalwall (873645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878961)

organic food has pesticides used on them too. The only difference is the pesticides are organic. Organic pesticides are no more safer then chemical ones.

Which organic pesticides? (1, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878977)

organic food has pesticides used on them too. The only difference is the pesticides are organic

The world wants to know.
 

Re:from TFA (4, Insightful)

Digestromath (1190577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879053)

"Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority."

I think thats more of an apt summary which doesn't imply a bias based on data which lies outside the scope of thier research.

They were comparing values of vitamins in one to the other, let those facts stand on thier own. There is no nutritional value in sustainability, pesticide use or ecologically sound farming practices nor should any imply as such.

Re:from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879073)

"Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority."

I think thats more of an apt summary which doesn't imply a bias based on data which lies outside the scope of thier research.

They were comparing values of vitamins in one to the other, let those facts stand on thier own. There is no nutritional value in sustainability, pesticide use or ecologically sound farming practices nor should any imply as such.

Proponents of organic do not claim that organic food is more nutritious. Just that it is better for the environment, and that the lack of pesticide/herbicide residues on the food is better for you. ...making this paper a straw-man argument...

Re:from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879327)

Actually some proponents do claim that organic food has more nutrients, or at least they do in the UK.

The major organic proponents/labelling system creators in the UK are the Soil Association [soilassociation.org] . And what do they put right at the top of their "Why Organic?" page:

"Organic farming ... ensures the food you eat is nutrient rich."

Re:from TFA (4, Insightful)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879159)

What? Says what? Their research was only looking at the nutritional differences.

As for environmental impact of organic farming, from what I know, in order to get the same amounts of produce we'd need to expand existing farms much more because organic farms give lower yields. If people ate less, that might help the situation and others, but that's unfortunately unrealistic. Instead given our track record, if we all switched to organic, we'd just destroy some forests. The other alternative is shrinking the human population quite a lot, but I do not like that idea at all.

I think that many people who champion organic have some crazy superstitious assumption beneath many of their claims, and that this assumption is that nature is benevolent, some kind of caring mother, probably called Gaia. Unfortunately nature is not benevolent, and our lives are so much better now because we've managed to subdue much of nature. During all the time we've been evolving we've had to adapt to fit in with nature. We've finally, in the last hundred years or so, been able to change things and make nature fit in with us instead. Though there are still many natural events that we can't control.

Re:from TFA (5, Informative)

HighFlyer (60002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879263)

No need to expand anything. People just need to eat less meat. There's a conversion factor of around 8 to 15 converting plant-based food into any kind of meat. You loose around 90% of your nutrional energy by that conversion. We could easily feed the world if the industrial nations wouldn't insist on their daily hamburgers and steaks.

Re:from TFA (1)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879335)

I agree that eating less meat would be a great start. I just unfortunately have no idea how we could really get people to eat less meat without making them angry.

Any solution has to be workable in the real world, which can really screw up many of the best plans. Whatever the solution may be though, we're going to need to use our brains. Sitting back and being a bunch of hippies and saying nature will care for everything if we just let it, is not going to fix things.

Re:from TFA (2, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879323)

it shows that the article is tendentious at best. It is written *specifically* to undermine organic food, by misleading the public through ignoring the targets of organic food.

Re:from TFA (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879221)

Except that it is better for the environment, the biggest problem of non organic food is it ruins the soild depending on the treatment of the soil, the worst example probably being genetically modified food, which often ends in plants which are resistent to ultra toxic substances to kill off the insects, those substances severely ruin the soil in the long run and make it unusable for other plants!

Re:from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879307)

I haven't read TFA (posting from my phone) but the BBC article had a quote from someone at the FSA basically making this point, that is that they weren't intending to make any comment on reasons for eating organic food other than the nutritional value andv they accepted there were other valid reasons to eat it.

Re:from TFA (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879347)

but they scored with people that only read headlines ... which is a large part of the population nowadays.

Re:from TFA (3, Insightful)

cberger (1244306) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879315)

Yes, benefit to environment, and so to ourselves...
but also they do not say whether the review looked at pesticides in the food itself. They may have the same nutritional value, but organic food will probably always carry less harmful substances. (ex. a recent study on grape fruits showed they were highly contaminated with pesticides. Not the organic ones...)
Kind of a huge health benefit I think !
I usually eat organic food, I think it is better for environment. But I also give it to my baby, and for her the lack of pesticides (and other such products) is very important !

Re:from TFA - it tastes better too. (3, Insightful)

Manic Miner (81246) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879359)

Exactly,

I eat organic for 2 reasons, one is I don't want my body filled with the left over amounts of pesticides (in the case of fruit and veg) and antibiotics and hormones (in the case of meat). I especially don't want my 1 year old son's body being subjected to those if I can avoid it.

But to be honest the main reason I do it is because it tastes so much better. Carrots actually test of carrot rather than crunchy water taste you get from a standard supermarket carrot.

We get organic veg delivered to our door from a local farm and it last much longer due to shorter pick to delivery time scales. There is also the added bonus of getting a wider variety of veg.

As a result I eat a wider range of vegetables, it tastes nicer, and because of the longer shelf life I throw less away. This means that it costs me the same or less than buying normal super market veg. Couple that with the convenience of it delivered to my door it is a no-brainer really!

Sure there is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28878925)

With "organic" food, less people die in order to secure the petroleum products used to make fertilizer etc.

so? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28878935)

The point behind organic food is that it's better for the environment, not healthier to eat. But thanks for the useless study, UK!

Re:so? (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879105)

But its not always sold as such. I know plenty of people who think that organic is healthier. Organic food advertising and stores actively push that myth.

Re:so? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879141)

The same study happened last year in France and now all organic food (or "biologic food" as it is called here) are now advertised as environment friendly food, not super-healthy food. Their ads were really fear-mongering before that.

Re:so? (3, Insightful)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879187)

There is a difference between "no nutritional difference" and "no health benefits": sometimes the lack of a thing (ie. antibiotics in milk) can be healthier than the alternative.

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879117)

When you are proven wrong, change the argument. Perfect strategy! Please tell us how organic is "better" for the environment? A nice skeptic view can be heard and read from Brian Dunning at: http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4019

Re:so? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879125)

No, that isn't the only point about organic food.

Another point is that you, the consumer, don't get to eat the various fertilisers and pest control chemicals, and in the case of meat, you don't get to eat the various growth promoters and you don't get to eat the various anti-bacterial and other medicinal treatments given to the animals. The FSA (Food Standards Agency) say these are all safe and so completely discounted them from the study - talk about rigging the results.

And then of course, there is the upon study from the European Union that will be released in the next month or so (that was completely ignored by the study this story is about), that also examines the same topic and looks at anti-oxidants, of which there are apparently a lot more in organic food than in the typical petrochemically fertilised foods most people eat.

Re:so? (1, Interesting)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879175)

Check the data, organic farming is not better for the environment unfortunately. It's an idealistic dream, and one that I think is built upon the superstitious assumption that nature is benevolent and that we evil humans are screwing it up. Unfortunately the facts seem to indicate that a switch to organic would be terrible for the environment.

Re:so? (2, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879277)

Which "facts" are you talking about?

Re:so? (2, Informative)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879247)

Tastes better, too.

I get lots of vegetables, olive oil and pork from my folks. They are retired, live in the country and farm for fun. After eating a tomato from them, you'll never want to buy tomatoes at the supermarket again. And olive oil is so expensive, I get the best, 100% pure olive oil in the world for free.

Re:so? (0)

ryants (310088) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879275)

The point behind organic food is that it's better for the environment

Wrong.

Organic Food Exposed [cosmosmagazine.com]

...many agricultural scientists estimate that if the world were to go completely organic, not only would the remaining forests have to be cleared to provide the organic manure needed for farming, the world's current population would likely starve.

How can that be counted as better?

Re:so? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879329)

Less humans = better for the environment.

In other news... (1)

netpixie (155816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878941)

Yellow Smarties have same health qualities as red Smarties.

Why is there this weird upsurge in news reports appearing surprised at the bleeding obvious? Apparently, charging for university tuition means only the rich can afford to educate their children. Shock! Horror! Hold the front page!

Eating lard makes you fat!

Smoking is bad for you!

Pope is Catholic!

(etc).

Switch from Smarties to M&Ms (2, Informative)

haruchai (17472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879007)

Yellow Smarties have same health qualities as red Smarties..

Put down the Smarties, pick up the M&Ms and eat the blue ones: http://timesonline.typepad.com/science/2009/07/why-migraines-could-leave-you-blue-in-the-face.html [typepad.com]

Re:Switch from Smarties to M&Ms (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879131)

Blue Smarties were "missing" for a couple years after they switched to more natural food colouring. Now they are back again but they're more kind of slightly purple than a vibrant blue.

In fairness, I don't think kids care once they are chocolate, an attractive package, and interesting (different colours even if not exceedingly vibrant).

Of course it being British chocolate, it's not proper milk chocolate at all, and has a lot of vegetable fat added unlike real milk chocolate (British chocolate is very distinguishable by being horrible and greasy - kind of sticking to the roof of your mouth). I don't know what on earth is in US chocolate but I found Hershey bars inedible when I was last there, although peanut butter cups are tasty enough (although I'd feel ill eating more than one or two).

Re:Switch from Smarties to M&Ms (1)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879211)

Does the UK stock any brands of non-British chocolate? I'd like to know what I'm missing out on.

Re:Switch from Smarties to M&Ms (1)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879281)

Lindt Swiss chocolate is usually available in most supermarkets (at Tesco for sure), and they have a good variety of non-atrocious chocolate - from sugary milk chocolate to the dark chocolate bars with 75%+ cocoa. A lot better than Cadburys, but it costs a bit more, of course.

Re:Switch from Smarties to M&Ms (1)

bothemeson (1416261) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879355)

UK PLC stocks plenty of chocolate from Switzerland, Belgium, France and has a few authentic chocolatiers of its' own.

What you might be missing out on is a high cocoa content single bean derived chocolate that doesn't give a sugar high as a cop-out instead of the beneficial feelings from the Good Stuff(TM) - try a Val Rhona...

Nearest thing to cannabis that's legal!

Back on topic I also eat organic food, for the taste and lack of added crap. The report specifically excludes the effects of ingesting pesticides, herbicides and 'growth promoters' (antibiotics) and the 'scientists' refuse to say which foodstuffs they eat.

Re:Switch from Smarties to M&Ms (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879331)

Ah Hersheys probably the worst chocolate on earth, believe me I tried it once, I have never eaten such a gruesome chocolate, who on earth buys this inedible junk?

I don't buy organic food for health reasons (3, Insightful)

jpstanle (1604059) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878951)

And really, organic food has never been about health. It's more about sustainable practices and all that jazz. Organic food is more an environmental concept than a health concept.

That said, when and if I buy organic foods, it's usually fruits, vegetables, or nuts; and I do so because they are of noticably better quality than standard supermarket faire. For me, it has nothing to do with health OR environmentalism... Organic produce simply tends to be better quality from a culinary standpoint.

Re:I don't buy organic food for health reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879207)

And really, organic food has never been about health. It's more about sustainable practices and all that jazz. Organic food is more an environmental concept than a health concept.

That said, when and if I buy organic foods, it's usually fruits, vegetables, or nuts; and I do so because they are of noticably better quality than standard supermarket faire. For me, it has nothing to do with health OR environmentalism... Organic produce simply tends to be better quality from a culinary standpoint.

Truly, taste vastly differs. My father in law grows tomatoes. They have a pleasant aroma and rich taste. In supermarkets I get a red, odour-less, bland taste organic matter.

Corporate Bias? In MY Government research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28878955)

Apparently it's more likely than you think. I don't know about how things are over in the UK, but here in the US there has been a systematic attempt to discredit the benefits of holistic forms of medicine, including herbs -almost always funded by the same medical and pharmaceutical establishment that is losing dollars due to people realizing that a proper organic diet and exciercise keeps them out of the doctor's office.

Shit, better post this anonymously lest the AMA's sciencegoons rape my karma.

Re:Corporate Bias? In MY Government research? (1)

fatalwall (873645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879021)

having socialized medicine reduces the benefits of pushing pills if there are holistic methods that are cheaper.

Re:Corporate Bias? In MY Government research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879133)

That's why studies in general a utterly worthless. There's always some party pushing the findings in one direction or another.

"Studies" are at best a marketing tool. Most of the time either for huge companies, large religous groups or political interests. Facts and truth are the least you can expect from studies. Especially if any government has something to do with it.

Not surprised, however... (5, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878967)

The report specifically doesn't look into the main reasons why I tend to buy organic - which aren't do to with health issues primarily, but to do with environmental and animal husbandry factors.

In the UK at least, organic farmers do practice lower intensive farming, leaving hedgerows in and wider strips for wildlife to flourish, they're not allowed to use antibiotics to promote growth in cattle (though they can use antibiotics to treat disease).

I've never taken the health issues seriously, but I do take biodiversity (and antibiotic resistance) very seriously and I'm more than willing to pay a little more to farmers who take additional care to help protect the country's wildlife.

There is one exception to this: I do buy organic carrots with health mind. Various studies have shown that carrot skins do retain a fair amount of insecticide and other pesticide residue. I'm a lazy bugger who likes to eat carrots raw without peeling them and so feel marginally happier choosing organic.

Re:Not surprised, however... (3, Interesting)

ryants (310088) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879213)

The report specifically doesn't look into the main reasons why I tend to buy organic - which aren't do to with health issues primarily, but to do with environmental and animal husbandry factors

Do human beings ever come into play while considering these "animal husbandry" factors?

Organic Alchemy [reason.com]

As the Cambridge chemist John Emsley recently concluded, "The greatest catastrophe that the human race could face this century is not global warming but a global conversion to 'organic farming'--an estimated 2 billion people would perish."

Re:Not surprised, however... (3, Informative)

Angostura (703910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879319)

Yes. As I pointed out in my original message, antibiotic resistance is a real problem when they are used to promote growth rather than to fight disease. The use in agriculture is implicated in resistance in human pathogens too.

As for John Emsley's analysis. The man takes things to extremes. Am I suggesting that organic methods be foisted on sub-Saharan Africa to retain biodiversity? No (although they do get higher export prices for export crops) I'm explaining why there are ratioanal reasons in the UK to favour UK organic farmers. I hope that helps your comprehension.

Re:Not surprised, however... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879353)

In the UK at least, organic farmers do practice lower intensive farming, leaving hedgerows in and wider strips for wildlife to flourish, they're not allowed to use antibiotics to promote growth in cattle (though they can use antibiotics to treat disease).

I wouldn't be so sure of that. Supermarket organic meets restrictions on what can go on or in the food, but it's as intensively farmed as they can possibly achieve within those restrictions to maximise the margins, and it's robotically processed and shipped out on trucks nationwide like everything else. It's the produce equivalent of the "Tesco's Finest" range, after all - it's a higher-price, higher-margin, "luxury" version of the products. If that margin shrank, they'd be dropping the organic stickers for seductive gold-and-purple stickers in a heartbeat. They don't actually give a shit about small farms or the environment except as a marketing ploy.

If you want less intensive farming, less transportation, more local jobs, and environmental self-interest, buy from a farmer's market, organic or otherwise.

(Antibiotics don't promote growth in cattle. It's biologically impossible. I think you're confusing that with continuously feeding them antibiotics versus selectively giving them antibiotics when they get sick.)

Re:Not surprised, however... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879363)

The report specifically doesn't look into the main reasons why I tend to buy organic

They called but you were out :)

Main benefits are to the environment (2, Insightful)

medoc (90780) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878975)

Gaining major health benefits from eating organic food would mean that 'normal' food is unsafe, which is hopefully not the case, nothing unexpected here.

The main advantage of organic food is that its production causes less damage to the environment and this is obviously very important.

The personal benefits myth was useful for promoting organic food adoption (out of egoist motives), so it's probably counter-productive for the greater good to debunk it.

Re:Main benefits are to the environment (5, Informative)

screamphilling (1173499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879041)

taken from wikipedia's entry on organic farming: Excess nutrients in lakes, rivers, and groundwater can cause algal blooms, eutrophication, and subsequent dead zones. In addition, nitrates are harmful to aquatic organisms by themselves. The main contributor to this pollution is nitrate fertilizers whose use is expected to "double or almost triple by 2050". Researchers at the United States National Academy of Sciences found that organically fertilizing fields "significantly [reduces] harmful nitrate leaching" over conventionally fertilized fields: "annual nitrate leaching was 4.4-5.6 times higher in conventional plots than organic plots".

Re:Main benefits are to the environment (1)

managementboy (223451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879243)

I agree with you on the personal myth debunking... but how does organic farming benefit the environment? Most information I have found, is that organic farming uses significantly more space to grow the same amount of product. This in turn means, that if everyone where to switch to organic foods, then we would need more agricultural square kilometers, which would in turn have to come from undeveloped or otherwise used space. So if you, like I do, hate deforestation and the real impact on the environment, then organic should not be for you. Organic food seems short sighted to me.

Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28878985)

It's quite simple, when i drink standard milk i get horrible stomach cramps and other nasty digestive effects. When I drink organic milk (NOT SOY) I have none of that.

I wonder how the statistics were made to fit into the "lies, damned lies, and statistics" [wikipedia.org] category Disraeli so famously quoted, and how much the multi-national conglomerates responsible for all the chemicals and hormones in our food paid for it.

I know damn well that there is something substantially chemically different when one substance has the same name as another, but the non-organic version causes horrible pain.

For the record, i'm not some organo-nazi, I happened to discover this when i was slipped some organic milk at a friend's house.

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (0, Troll)

SlashWombat (1227578) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879037)

HA HA, organic milk. Laughed my arse off! ... Just exactly how does organic milk differ from the "other" type? I have visions of a star trek "Borg" cow somehow hooked up to a milking cube.

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879167)

"Just exactly how does organic milk differ from the "other" type?"

My experience with "organic" vs. "stock" milk pointed up one interesting, yet unexplained to me, difference:

Organic did not spoil nearly as fast as traditional dairy.

When we bought (traditional) milk by the gallon it wasn't unusual to have it spoilt within 5 days or less. When we switched to the organic variety that time went up to 10 to 14 days or more.

Hormones? Processing methods? Other additives? I have no clue, as both were handled the same on my end. Both were bought and transported the exact same way ... in fact for a while (since organic milk initially wasn't as widely available in my area) it actually rode home unrefrigerated for over twice as long as "the leading brand".

YMMV, but if I still drank milk the way I used to, the only kind I would buy is an organic brand.

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879201)

I've noticed this as well.

Organic milk lasts considerably longer.

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879311)

Organic milk is typically ultrapasteurized. Cheapie milk usually isn't.

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879249)

Actually unprocessed milk from a cow becomes sour within 1-2 days... the higher longlivety is caused by higher pasteurization which kills the milk bacteria which produce the acids which make the milk sour.

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

ysth (1368415) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879229)

Is that a joke? Have you missed all the comments explaining that organic production isn't so much about what molecules end up in the finished product as what the side effects of production are? Here's an article describing some of the debatable (or at least debated) requirements for organic milk, from which you can glean a sense of the priorities being considered: http://www.tilth.org/education-research/in-good-tilth-magazine/articles/18vi/what-makes-a-cow-organic [tilth.org]

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879293)

It is mostly the treatment of the cows what they get for food. All I can say is BSE, cows were fed cows and thus BSE spread like wildfire.
You cannot imagine how much junk is fed to animals and dropped into the soil in industrial farming.
(For instance mass application of strong antibiotics which ultimately renders them useless, or genetically modified plants which are resistant to very toxic substances then sold by the same company which sells the plants which then ultimately poisons the soil)

Buying organic food somehow raises again that standard which should not have sunken so deep.

I will give you an example, modern crop cannot reproduce, it has been bred out of it. The seeds are sold by conglomerates. Now what happens if this system collapses, most farmers dont have their own seeds anymore and cannot breed it out of the junk crop sold by Monsanto and Co. within a year, speaking of worldwide famine, you have it then with millions starving and dying even in industrialized countries and temperatures perfectly fine for raising crops!

How was that introduced? Simply farmers were given the seeds, they were cheaper than buying reproducable ones and the companies gave a guarantee to buy a certain percentage of the resulting crop giving the farmers some kind of financial security!

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879061)

It's quite simple, when i drink standard milk i get horrible stomach cramps and other nasty digestive effects.

Every stomach is unique, no really, so what cause ingestion in one person may very well prevent it in another. It's fully possible that "organic" milk cause ingestion in more people than "non-organic", and to answer that we need... statistics :-)

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

ximenes (10) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879095)

I also prefer organic milk for different reasons (I think it tastes better, and it's expiration date is usually way further out than regular), although I suspect the main differentiator may be that organic milk is almost always ultra-pasteurized as opposed to regular pasteurization which is the norm for regular milk.

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879109)

In your situation what I would do is set up at least a single blind study. If you are correct about your hypothesis then we need to look at what is ending up in our milk. If you are wrong then you can look for whatever else is causing you to get stomach cramps. I suggest that you try to get four different types of organic and non-organic milk so that there is a good comparison, it could be that only one brand of milk is causing you a problem which might come from a particular breed of cow. Conversely it could be that the organic milk is coming from a breed of cow that doesn't produce something you are mildly allergic to. There are a lot of variables to control for and I don't think you will be able to say what the causative factor is.

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

smolloy (1250188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879165)

Not flaming. Just wondering.

Have you ever double-blinded this experiment? I.e. get someone to offer you a glass of milk (making sure that they have no idea whether it is organic or not), and testing whether you can determine if it is regular or organic?

OK, I know this experiment has the risk of leaving you with bad cramps, etc., but I was just wondering if you had ever tried.

Re:Personal experience with milk says article's BS (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879233)

I dont think it is the substances.
I think it is the treatment probably the percentage of various substances and the pasteurization process.
Also the cows are treated differently, probably less antibiotics and less medicine generally and less junk being fed to them.
As for the milk I rather doubt the already drop some cheapish replacement stuff into the milk itself.

Taste! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879035)

Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste! Taste!

It cannot be emphasized enough. Ever try an organic banana, while comparing it to a non-organic? Even country of origin can make a difference in taste.

Re:Taste! (2, Insightful)

all_the_names_are_ta (957291) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879081)

As someone who consumed organic food for several years I can attest that none of the organic food I ate tasted better than its conventional counterpart.

I suspect that most people who espouse this view have been convinced it tastes better because of the price.

Re:Taste! (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879295)

Interesting. As someone who has recently started buying a delivered vegetable box from a nearby farm, I have noticed a large difference between fresh organic produce, and standard supermarket fare. In particular, carrots and cucumbers are noticeably tastier and juicier (organic cucumbers are almost a fruit -- they're almost unrecognisable from those at the supermarket). Having said that, I can't discount the "tastes better because of price" theory as I haven't done a double-blind test.

I like being able to eat the carrot skins without worrying about pesticides though.

Is this really news? (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879055)

A plant grown "organically" and one grown in what is now considered normal conditions will almost certainly produce all the same chemicals and take up the same nutrients and therefore have the same health benefits. We might be able to control the proportions of various chemicals in the plant - for example cause more sugars to be produced in sweet corn - but fundamentally it's the same plant and therefore it will produce the same things.

I looked into "organic" farming a while back when I got quite into growing my own vegetables. I couldn't believe the stuff they were allowed to use and still call it organic. Pretty much if it appears in nature, anywhere, it was fair game but I could find plenty of things in nature that are just as harmful as modern man made sprays.

Benefits of organic growing, or lower risks (2, Interesting)

Andrew Ford (664799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879069)

I have been buying organic food for 30 years or so and it is not because I believe it has higher levels of nutrients, but largely because of the lower levels of pesticide nutrients. For example: a couple of years ago the fields next to our kitchen garden were used for growing potatoes for a major UK supermarket. They were sprayed 2 or 3 times a week with fungicides for about 10 weeks, before being sprayed with sulphuric acid to burn off the tops before harvesting. Of course the sprays drift in the wind, which is worrying for people living just metres from the fields. Of course in the future organic farming (or at least farming with lower levels of chemical inputs) is likely to become more common, as peak oil drives up oil and natural gas prices, pushing up the price of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides.

Higher quality (1, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879085)

That's not the point. The point is that making things properly often makes them nicer.

While there are some organic products which aren't noticeably different, there are also some vegetables which benifit significantly.

Re:Higher quality (1)

managementboy (223451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879217)

When you write it makes them "nicer", what do you mean? What is the "significant" benefit of organic products?

Not the point (1)

Iffie (1410897) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879091)

You eat organic food because you don't like the methods of food production, not because the food is healthier.They did not tak into account the amount of pecticides kept out of the environment. It is the same line of attack as saying carbon dioxide concentrations are not poisenous.

Damn! (5, Funny)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879097)

Just checked the new import rules on Food Agency website.

Sad to say, Australians are still permitted to import V*g*m*te.

why would I trust anything from a UK govt. agency? (1)

distantbody (852269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879139)

...Just so much dumb shit happening in that place, accepting bribes to hurt the organic food industry are easy to imagine.

Organic Hippies (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879163)

"I hereby sentence you to a term of no less than 6 years and not exceeding 12 years" bellowed the Judge at my court case. You could tell in the sterness of his voice and his general demeanor that he took delight in sending scum like me up the river. A fucking DUI that ended up killing some black kid in Detroit was all it took to sealed my fate for the next decade. I had thoughts of appeal but I figured it wouldn't be worth the little savings I had left and my sentence would probably stand. To this day I still believe had the kid been white, my life would have been much easier, inside and outside of prison.

Now, don't believe what you see on Televison about prison, it is a far worse place than any 32" screen could every conjure up. Imagine watching an MSNBC special on jail or an episode of OZ and take that experience and double it. That's about the wretched hell I have come to know for the past 3 1/2 years. Sometimes I don't know who is worse and my already fazed and battered mind, the prison guards or the inmates. It really takes a certain type of psychopath to want to work around this place, 8 hours a day or longer and that's exactly the type of labor pool this place picks from.

I can't say my first week was the worst week of my life, but I can certainly say it was the scariest, most horrifying change change in lifestyle I can remember. The dynamic between my old life as a software developer with a modest 1 bedroom downtime, to sharing a tiny cell with a sexual deviant is enough to make anyone go insane. But anyway let me talk about my first day of 12 long years here.

As I was escorted on to the prison bound bus with the day's newly convicted felons, it was already starting. I was chained next to this black man named Napps. I am sure this wasn't his real name but you can't tell these days with the way these people are named. Now Napps was a pretty built man, and I could tell by the excess amount of tattos and his attitude, that this wasn't the first time he was getting bussed off to a stint in the State Penetentary. Napps upon being forced to sit next to me had given me a look that you would imagine a wolf would give towards their defenseless prey. That was what I officially was now, defensless prey for Napps and God knows who else now. Napps, with a smug and deviously look in his eye asked me "What's a white boy like yourself doing going to the shit?". "Pardon?", I said uneasily almost choking on my words. "This white boy dinks we at da country club.", he said to the rest of the bus, while the bus started roaring in laughter. Now all eyes and ears on the bus were tuned in to me. "I says, wat a tender cracka like you doing here wit the rest of us?", he said in a more pointed fashion. "I'm here...for drunk driving. I killed someone in Brightmore", I shamefully admitted. "So you the motherfucka who killed dat black kid!", now furious with me. The rest of the bus, still focused on me began roaring again loudly as if my crime is more terrible than raping and killing a white woman in the suburbs (I eventually find this out later on). "You lucky da guards are here bitch, you hear me? When we get down to the shit, your ass belongs to the blacks, you got it cracker?". My heart jumped, not even in prison yet, and I am already targeted for what I am sure is to be a stabbing. Shit.

The bus finally turned into the outer gate, which seemed to stretch on for ever, Napps was still from time to time threatening me. I didn't think I would even make it into prison alive. "So you kill one of ours, huh?", he uttered with extreme hatred. "Well, I took one of yours too bitch ass. 4 of my boys went to your white part of town and and took a bitch. We ran a train on dat fo 8 hours, den we pours acid on that cunt", he must have enjoyed the thought as he laughed sadisticly while telling me his crime. As we got manhandled off of the bus one by one, Napps turned around and said "watch yo ass, lit'ry!", before being forced face first by the guard.

By now I was too much in shock from being scared to even be scared. I went through the motions of "processing" before I was escorted to my cell. The bunk was already occupied with an inmate, reading some sort of hip-hop magazine. I was pushed into my cell, and my new roommate eyed me and said "So you the nigga killer?". "It's gonna be you and me tonight", he threatened as I already had my fill of being threatened by prison niggers. It was already about 8:30 and since our bus got delayed coming in, and I knew that in a half an hour it was going to be 'me and him'.

"Lights out! Lights fucking out!" Yelled from the distance as the boom of the dimming lights started my first night. "You and me time, cracker" the hulking voice from the top of the bunk whispered. He came down from his bunk getting about 6 inches away from me and must have been 6 foot five. I started panicking, believing he had a shank or was going to choke me to death but it was too dark to tell. He moved his hands down around his crotch and made several 'manuveurs'. Before I knew it, still being dark, he had his cock out in front of me, which must have been at least 8 inches but probably 10 if I could see. "Yo want to ack like a bitch, you gonna suck like one too". His giant hands pushed me into my knees while he began putting his already erect cock up towards my face. By now his throbbing cock was hitting me on the side of my ear as he kept commanding me to open my mouth. "Put this shit down yo throat bitch", he commanded again while I still resisted. "Boy, I will cut yo throat if I gots to say it another time", he responded to my reluctance.

I finally gave in, thinking that this was probably still better than death. I opened my mouth and began feeding his nigger cock into my mouth. This was not enough for him and he grabbed my hair while he forced the rest of what was probably 5 inches more down my throat. I almost gagged but maintained composure, while he started skull fucking me more and more. I figured this would soon be over and I would be able to go cry myself to sleep very soon. He then pulled out and I thought the worst was over. "Bitches need a good fuck now too", he said while he threw me in my bunk and made me get on my hands and knees. He forced my pants down and kept me in place even while I tried my best to squirm out of there and go...nowhere. His cock still hard and wet with my mouth, he pushed his cock into my virgin asshole. I swear, between his cock size and my clenching reaction, this was the most painful experience I have can remember. The car accident that brought me here didn't even hurt half as bad. He kept going at it while he pulled my hair and pinned me down with his giant body. I tried to scream for help but nothing would even coming out. The only sounds now coming out of my cell was the cyclic screeching of springs and the "Hmm! Hmm! Hmm!" of my new found rapist. When it was finally over, he had deposited a gigantic load of semen on my ass, and with his cock still in my ass whispered in my ear "Wait till the rest of the niggers break you in tomorrow". He kissed me on the cheek and left my limp body in my own bed as he climbed back up to his bunk.

3 spinchter surgeries and an HIV positive diagnosis later, I am 3 year into my prison sentence, and worth about a pack of Pall Malls. I constantly think of killing myself but I know I don't have the guts to do so. Napps, Tbone, and Shades are back and I have little time now before I get traded on the nigger exchange. I thought I would share my experiences on Slashdot and let people know how prison reall
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The review did not look at pesticides (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28879223)

from the article : "The review did not look at pesticides", just an useless study because that's just one of the main points making eople eating organic food.

Didn't we know this already (1, Flamebait)

physburn (1095481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879227)

Organic Food is a scam, to make rich people with a green leanings, to spend three times as much for there food. In the name of being kind to animals, and third worlders, supermarket create prestige organic brands to suckers shoppers into paying more.

---

Exotic Food [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Confused! (1)

zijus (754409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879245)

FTA

The review did not look at pesticides or the environmental impact of different farming practices.

Oops ! Isn't it a major point of organic farming. Not only the end product but also procedures and environment ? Many consumers choose organic product not only for it's intrinsic assumed qualities, but out of environments concerns. I'am no pro-organic man, yet that study seams to say little to me.

(...) they report in their analysis that there are higher levels of beneficial nutrients in organic compared to non-organic foods.

Now I am confused. What does this study have to say then!?

Z.

Controls? (1)

Shirakawasuna (1253648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879257)

I'm having trouble finding the actual study (which seems to be a meta-analysis more than original research). Does it have controls? Does it actually compare a set of people who are randomly assigned organic vs. nonorganic foods? If not, it's not at all conclusive. The fact that they desire a longitudinal study implies to me that they did not have such a control...

And don't get me wrong, the 'organic' craze has a lot of BS in it. It's not healthier by default, certainly, nor is it necessarily more environmentally sound (the rules for being organic can allow environmentally worse procedures). A lot of nutritionally worthless foods get labeled 'organic' as if that makes them healthier ('organic' butter will still go straight to your thighs...).

Does it really matter what the study sais? (1)

Krokz (1568895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879269)

What is the point of a study if everyone thinks it was corporate sponsored? I am a cynic person myself but if the study said that organic is healthier then everyone would say it was paid by the green/organic industry corps. btw, I know farmers that just fill out the state forms and get federal subvention for being 'organic', but what they do on the field is something different. Of course they don't spray the shit out of it but its certainly not organic or else the harvest is halved.

Breaking news ! (5, Insightful)

ivan_w (1115485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879285)

A [name insitution here] study has determined that using electric cars does not get you from point A to point B any faster than combustion engine powered cars..

Doh !

--Ivan

Title misleading (5, Insightful)

HighFlyer (60002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28879333)

Replace "Health Benefits" with "Nutritional Benefits" and it's ok. You certainly won't starve eating non-organic food. And you'll get pretty much the same level of basic nutritional elements (vitamins etc.).

But you will get more pesticide contamination, more genetically modified food, more additives and a few other nasty bits and pieces. And you will create more impact on the environment.

And keep in mind that this was a meta-study, just looking at existing publications. Their selection criteria pretty much guaranteed the domination of conventional food studies carried out by the industry.

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