FSA News Item, 16 November 2010
An independent assessment by the General Advisory Committee on Science (GACS) has concluded that the Agency-commissioned 2009 review of the nutrient content of organic and non-organic foods followed good practice at all stages.
GACS considered concerns put forward by the Soil Association and the Organic Trade Board regarding the validity of the study and the nature of the Agency’s communications. GACS concluded that the study followed good practice at all stages, and noted that comments on the research protocol were invited at an early stage and that the research had undergone extensive and rigorous peer review.
The review made two recommendations to the Food Standards Agency:
In responding to the GACS review, Dr Andrew Wadge, FSA Chief Scientist stated: 'I am pleased to see the General Advisory Committee on Science has recognised the quality of the systematic review and the quality of the Agency’s research.
'This is an exemplary piece of work that adds greatly to the evidence base. The systematic review objectively assessed the evidence in a complex area where the quality of the published data is very variable.
'The Agency is committed to using the best available science and evidence and accepts fully the recommendations made by GACS. We will implement these recommendations to ensure that the Agency’s science and evidence continues to be of the highest quality.'
The systematic review of the nutrient content of organic and non-organic foods was carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and published in July 2009.
Transfer of nutrition policy
Nutrition policy is now the responsibility of the Department of Health in England and it will be for Health Ministers to consider whether further research is conducted in this area.
For the full report of the GACS, go to: http://www.food.gov.uk/science/ouradvisors/gacs/gacsgroups/wgorganic