Monday, June 21, 2010


There is a common perception that too many "scientific" reports, published even in peer reviewed journals are not believable 100% and added to this confusion is the contradictions contained in these reports, some of them expressing diametrically opposite opinions on same issues. Organic foods are preferred by many obviously because it is considered safer than their normally produced counterparts. Some claims regarding the nutritional superiority of organic foods are not sustained by adequate scientifically sound research as reported by a recent survey of literature published in a reputed journal.

"The latest review of research comparing the relative nutritional value of organic and conventionally grown foods was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last week. Of an impressive 98,727 articles published over the past 50 years, the researchers found only 12 that they deemed relevant. They concluded that the existing evidence is not sufficient to suggest that organic food is any healthier. The same researchers came to the same conclusion last year, when they looked at 162 studies. But so what? Ignore the headlines that shout 'Organics not really healthier' or 'Organics are waste of money' – the truth is that the most significant finding of these reviews is that there is a paucity of well-conducted research. A large number of studies were excluded because they did not specify an organic certifying body; there was no information on the cultivar or livestock breed; no statement of which nutrient or nutritionally relevant substance was reviewed; no information on statistical methods; or no information on laboratory methods".

It is a sad reflection on the scientific skills and even the integrity of food scientists when hardly 0.01% of the articles on organic foods published during the last 5 decades are "believable" while the rest suffered from inaccuracies, experimental inadequacies, wrong interpretations and use of non-standard raw materials for the studies. Though this fact is not easily "digestible", the scientists need to "introspect" on the "fault lines" in their "products" and rededicate to the principle that science is "pursuit of truth", not for glory.


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