FSA: Organic meat no different

Organic meat has no nutritional benefits over conventional meat, according to a report by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The study was led by a team of researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who reviewed all papers published over the past 50 years relating to the nutrient content and health differences between organic and conventional food.

The researchers concluded that there are there are no important differences or additional health benefits to eating organic.

Study principal author Dr Alan Dangour said: “A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced crops and livestock, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance.

"Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.”

The Soil Association (SA) has been quick to point out the higher levels of beneficial nutrients in organic compared to non-organic foods and added the review rejected “almost all of the existing studies of comparisons between organic and non-organic nutritional differences”.

Peter Melchett, SA policy director, said: “Organic farming and food systems are holistic, and are produced to work with nature rather than to rely on oil-based inputs such as fertilisers. Consumers who purchase organic products are not just buying food that has not been covered in pesticides, they are supporting a system that has the highest welfare standards for animals, bans routine use of antibiotics and increases wildlife on farms.”

The FSA emphasises that it is neither pro- or anti-organic food and that the study is there to ensure people have accurate information to make informed choices about the food they eat.