Organic Consumers Association

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Stonyfield Farm Criticizes UK Study Claiming Organic is No Better Than Conventional

As Stonyfield Farm President and CE-Yo, I believe that a new study dismissing the health benefits of organics does in fact mislead an increasingly savvy public by ignoring documented health and environmental benefits of organic.

The supreme irony is that this study is getting an enormous amount of media attention in part because of heightened consumer awareness of where our food comes from, thanks to the popularity of the documentary "Food, Inc." and the discussion it's triggering across the country. "Food, Inc." lays bare just how bankrupt and dangerous our current food system really is, and what we are allowed to know about it. The result is that consumers are looking more critically than ever at studies like this.

I agree with the Organic Center (TOC), a non-profit industry think tank, that the authors of the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency (FSA) study used old data and flawed logic in reaching the conclusion that organic food is no healthier than conventional. TOC alleges that the UK study actually downplayed the positive findings which favored organic food and did not measure important nutrients such as antioxidants.

There are compelling studies that have shown organic foods higher in beneficial antioxidants, substances or nutrients in our foods known to slow or prevent heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. A 2007 Newcastle University (UK) study concluded organic fruit and vegetables contained up to 40% more antioxidants than non-organic varieties; organic milk contained more than 60% more antioxidants and healthy fatty acids than conventional. A 2007 study by the University of California found organic tomatoes had elevated levels of up to 97% of two types of antioxidants.

Of greater concern to me is the fact the FSA ignores the environmental and related health benefits of an organic farming system that avoids the use of millions of pounds of toxic persistent pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer and other chemicals that leach into soil, water and air.
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