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Food producers were up in arms this week when the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition released a study that said organic food offers no more nutritional value than traditional food options.
The survey, commissioned by the British Food Standards Agency, reviewed more than 150 reports conducted over the last 50 years. The findings will be published in AJCN’s September issue.
The Organic Center (TOC), a Boulder, Colo.-based association dedicated to increasing the awareness and demand of organically grown food, denounced the study’s findings.
“We strongly refute the claim made by Dr. Alan Dangour and his U.K. colleagues that the nutritional benefits of organic food are 'not important,’” said a statement from the TOC.
The organic market has been on the rise for the past several years, as consumers seek to adopt more healthy lifestyles. The Greenfield, Mass.-based Organic Trade Association reported in May 2009 that 2008 U.S. organic food sales reached $22.9 billion, a 15.8 percent increase from the prior year.
The TOC strongly criticized the fact that none of the reports included research on the effects of pesticides. Additionally, the FSA failed to take into account the differences in the levels of key polyphenols and antioxidants, according to the TOC. Finally, the TOC said that the agency did not use “stringent guidelines to determine whether the studies are scientifically valid.”
In March 2008, a TOC report that found organically produced food contained 25 percent higher quantities of 11 nutrients.