Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses

Citation

Evidence Type: Research (Systematic Review)
Br J Nutr. 2014 Sep 14; 112(5): 794–811. - Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses Score: 0.0/0.0

Discussion

This research pointi 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 littl 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

Strengths/Weaknesses

Conclusions

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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