Major study documents benefits of organic farming


Evidence Type: Press Release (Scientist)
Major study documents benefits of organic farming, Washing State University, 11 Jul 2014 - Major study documents benefits of organic farming | WSU News | Washington State University Score: 0.0/0.0


This article hypes some reserch released by the university, pointing out all sorts of reasons why they think organic produce is super useful Unfortunately the evidence does not appear to bear this out You can read a full write up on this research at Study claiming organic food more nutritious ‘deeply flawed’, say independent scientists, but a quick outline would be:

  • This research makes a big deal about anti-oxidants, when there is Little credible evidence that they are that big of a deal for health Hyping up a term which the general public associates with health but for which there is little evidence is the first clear warning sign
  • Yes, this review did include more studies than previous reviews However it included more papers of poor quality, rather than simply adding more quality information This opens the flood gates for errors
  • This research (which is not independently funded) contradicts a wealth of other research (which was independently funded)
  • Sure, it reports lower levels of pesticides, but is only looking at conventional pesticides To ignore the pesticides used in organic farming is either highly biased, or very poor quality of research
  • The paper admits to a decrease in nutrates, fibre, and protien in organic crops Many would call this a disadvantage



Strength/Weakness 1

Yes, this article talks about research with a larger than usual sample size for such reviews. Unfortunately in order to get the larger sample size papers of poorer quality were included, which leaves us unable to trust the results

Strength/Weakness 2

This research was funded in part by organic organisations

Strength/Weakness 3

Strong weakness: Industry Independence

Every part of this research involved interation with various pro-organic individuals and groups

Strength/Weakness 4

Strong weakness: Known Advocate

The authors are known advocates of organic.

Strength/Weakness 5

Strong weakness: Well Designed Research

Inclusion of weaker papers in a review is not good practice

Strength/Weakness 6

Mild weakness: Demonstrable Bias

Strong emphasis on the overhyped antioxidants, looking at conventional pesticides while ignoring organic pesticides, inclusion of poorer quality papers, and all but ignoring the negative aspects of organic farming show either poor technique or a strong personal bias.

Conclusion 1

This article needs expanding once the relevant organic topics have been created

Conclusion 2

This article claims to provide strong evidence that organic food is healthier and better for consumers, but provides little convincing evidence to back this claim

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