The benefits of the "bio" in question
A stand of primeurs on an organic market in Paris. The study calls into question the nutritional benefits of this type of diet.
According to a British study, products from organic farming would not be better for health. These results, however, do not take into account the presence or absence of pesticide residues in the diet.
Hard blow for fans of food stamped "organic"! According to a study released Wednesday by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, organically grown products are no healthier than regular foods and offer no additional nutritional benefits. Whether it is calcium, iron or vitamin C intake.
To come to this conclusion, researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine conducted a systematic review of 162 scientific studies published on the subject over the past 50 years. "From a nutritional point of view, there is currently no evidence in favor of choosing organic products rather than conventionally produced foods," said Alan Dangour, one of the authors of this report produced for the account of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the UK food standards agency. Some slight differences were noted but they are not statistically significant. In any case, "it is unlikely that they are of any importance with regard to public health", continues Mr. Dangour. “The study does not tell people to no longer buy organic food, tempers Gill Fine, one of the FSA officials, ensuring that his organization is neither for nor against organic. But it is absolutely essential to provide the public with precise information so that they can make an informed choice about what to eat. ”
This is not the first time that the nutritional benefits of organic food are being questioned. In France, a report published in 2003 by the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) had already arrived at the same conclusions as its British counterpart. "The small discrepancies or trends taken individually, which may have been demonstrated for some nutrients and in some studies between the chemical composition and the nutritional value of products from organic farming or conventional agriculture, do not appear. significant in terms of nutritional intake, "concluded this document which always refers.
A market of 2,5 billion euros
"The conclusions of these two studies are very oriented, rises Cécile Frissur, general delegate of Synabio, the National Union of organic processors who criticizes the researchers for not taking into account" methods of organic farming respectful of the environment and ultimately the health of consumers ".
In fact, the FSA study did not address the levels of pesticide residues and other pollutants found in organic or conventional foods. Chemical insecticides are excluded from the specifications of organic farming, the vast majority of organic products are exempt, as found Afssa in 2003. And when we find it is at levels much lower than those detected in conventional products. But for the latter, the residue levels are in the great majority below the maximum residue limits (MRLs), and therefore at concentrations that are a priori safe for the consumer. The difference between organic and non-organic remains very relative, even on this criterion.
It remains to be seen whether consumers will continue to pay on average 25% more expensive (but sometimes much more) products that do not bring a more obvious in terms of health. And who do not necessarily taste better. "In France, sales continue to grow with a market that has grown from 1,6 2,5 billion euros in three years," said Élisabeth Mercier, Agency bio. But in some countries, like in Britain, organic purchases are falling because of the crisis
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