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Organic produce

In HER support of organic farming, Laura Stewart (Letters, 29 March) omitted common organic claims of better health.

A meta-analysis of 1.3 million women over a nine-year period in the UK, published recently in the British Journal of Cancer, indicated that continual consumption of organic food (compared to other produce) had no effect on any cancer rates – except for a slightly higher rate of breast cancer and slightly lower one of lymphoma. Breast cancer is ten times more common than lymphoma.

The composition of organic food is no different to conventional produce. Farmers using integrated pest management (linking environment and farming), for example, view their farm holistically and accept slight reductions in yield, while examination indicates that their wildlife maintenance is as good as any organic farm.

Finally, experiments at Rothamsted Research Station have shown that conventional and organic fields release equal amounts of polluting nitrate into the water supply. Organic does not survive proper scrutiny.

Prof Tony Trewavas

Scientific Alliance Scotland

Edinburgh