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Organic Food Not Proven Healthier or Safer, Study Finds

Organic foods no less likely to be contaminated than conventional

We know it usually costs more, but is organic meat and produce any healthier — or safer? A new review of the science suggests that the answer may be no.

According to a study, conducted by scientists at Stanford, the market for organics in the United States was worth $3.7 billion in 1997. By 2010, it had ballooned to $26.7 billion. But the study questions whether paying a premium for certified organic — food grown and processed without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, added hormones or genetically engineered ingredients — is really worth it.

“Consumers purchase organic foods for many reasons,” wrote the scientists. “Despite the widespread perception that organically produced foods are more nutritious than conventional alternatives, we did not find robust evidence to support this perception.”

The study, published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzed 17 human studies and 223 studies on nutrient density and contamination levels and concluded that, so far, published literature “lacks strong evidence” that organic foods are significantly more nutritious, but choosing to consume those foods may reduce exposure to pesticides and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The review found that, overall, organic produce is 30 percent less likely to contain detectable pesticides, compared to conventional produce, but the vast majority of all produce tested fell below government safety tolerances. The study did look at one study which found that children who switched to an organic diet for five days had lower levels of pesticides in their urine, but whether the levels have a direct impact on human health is “unclear.”

When it came to bacterial contamination and produce, the reviewers found that there was not a statistically significant difference in the rate of E. coli contamination — 7 percent for organic, 6 percent for conventional — but the review noted that only five of the studies they reviewed directly compared this type of contamination. When the authors removed one study that looked only at lettuce, the meta-analysis showed that organic produce had a 5 percent greater risk for contamination.

Both organic and conventional animal products, on the other hand, have repeatedly been shown to be widely contaminated with harmful pathogens. The reviewers found that the differences in contamination between organic and conventional products were statistically insignificant.

For chicken, 67 percent of organic samples and 64 percent of conventional samples were contaminated with Campylobacter, while 35 percent of organic and 34 percent conventional samples were found to be contaminated with Salmonella. Pork was commonly contaminated with E.coli — 65 percent of organic and 49 percent of conventional samples — and the reviewed did not find any studies that compared organic and conventional beef.

The one major difference the study found was that conventional animal products were more likely to be contaminated with pathogens that were resistant to three or more antibiotics — for chicken and pork conventional samples were 33 percent more at risk. The differences were strongest when looking at resistance to ampicillin — organic and chicken had a 35 percent lower risk for resistance — but when looking at the remaining antibiotics, conventional products were more at risk. However, the review found differences were statistically insignificant. The reviewers also noted that few of the studies they looked at analyzed the same antibiotics on the same animal product.

“This increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance may be related to the routine use of antibiotics in conventional animal husbandry,” wrote the authors. “However, the extent to which antibiotic use for livestock contributes to antibiotic-resistant pathogens in humans continues to be debated because inappropriate use of antibiotics is the major cause of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans.”

The internet has been abuzz with reaction to the study. On Tuesday, more than 500 news stories — with headlines like “Study Questions Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce” (New York Times), “Organics not a healthier food choice, study finds” (Chicago Sun-Times), “Why Organic Foods May Not Be Healthier For You” (NPR) — seemed to contradict one of the main reason a growing number of consumers choose to buy organic.

The authors of the review said their results should be “interpreted with caution.”

There have been no long-term studies of health outcomes for people who eat primarily organic food versus those who eat primarily conventional — as the reviewers note, this type of study would be expensive and hard to conduct — and the studies that are available vary greatly in their design, size and scope, so drawing broad conclusions is difficult.

Still, their meta-analysis of the science to date shows organic produce and meat might not be worth the extra buck to consumers looking for a health benefit.

In an interview Tuesday, Michael Pollan, one of the key figures of the food movement, responded to the study by pointing out that the whole point of organic food is that it’s more environmentally sustainable. “That’s the stronger and easier case to make,” he told KQED.

“I would just encourage people to educate themselves and not take headlines at face value. It’s a complicated question, and we need to a do a lot more science,” he said. “The absence of proof means that we either haven’t studied it or we haven’t found it yet, it doesn’t mean we won’t. In the meantime, there’s a precautionary principle: even though the case isn’t closed on low levels of pesticides in our diet, there are very good reasons to minimize them.”

This story has been updated with links.

© Food Safety News
  • FoodSci

    How does Michael Pollan feel about this then?
    Organic farms not necessarily better for environment
    Science
    04 Sep 12
    “Organic cereals generate higher greenhouse gas emissions per unit of product than their conventionally farmed counterparts, the researchers found.Organic farming is generally good for wildlife but does not necessarily have lower overall environmental impacts than conventional farming, a new analysis led by Oxford University scientists has shown.”
    http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2012/120904.html

  • http://nyfarmer@frontiernet.net michael

    you would think that you would take a good LOOK for the real hard facts that the gmo runs the show

  • Rene

    Remember, this was not a study like the average person thinks of studies. It was a review of previously done works on this subject. There is a lot of room for error here. The media has distorted the study and the conclusions drawn. From my own personal experience, I can tell you organic food is better. It cooks better, tastes better and doesn’t make me sick. One year ago, I could eat nothing–I mean I was limited to crackers and water and that hurt. I tried to eat fruit and veggies and got sicker than ever.On my own decided to switch to organic foods–guess what? NOT SICK ANYMORE–I can eat everything. I used to live on Pepto, Antacids. Immodium–you name it–now I NEVER take those medications. Headaches–gone! Lost 75 lbs. without even trying. As sick as I was before, I could not lose weight. Switching to organic worked like a charm! A final example, my daughter cannot eat a raw, conventional apple without her mouth instantly becoming blistered and sore. She can however, eat an organic apple with NO PROBLEMS whatsoever. So no one can tell me there is not difference. THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE! ORGANIC ROCKS!

  • Joanie

    No Michael Pollan, no the “absence of proof” will never be STUDIED away….the absence is real — there is no damned difference….valid studies are conclusive….indeed, there is now an abundance of PROOF organic is in NO WAY superior to conventional — what’s left to prove is your desperate insipid SUGGESTION organic is somehow “more environmentally sustainable” — using the universal weasel word “sustainable”….so silly when your myth of imaginary organic benefits is NOT SUSTAINABLE among RATIONAL consumers. Go scribble some esoteric yuppie poetry Pollan. You are exposed for the sick subversive agri-poseur you really are. Time to give it up. Time to wise up. Time to stop selling the fictional organic snake oil. It’s over ladies.

  • Marge Mullen

    “The review found that, overall, organic produce is 30 percent less likely to contain detectable pesticides, compared to conventional produce, but the vast majority of all produce tested fell below government safety tolerances. The study did look at one study which found that children who switched to an organic diet for five days had lower levels of pesticides in their urine, but whether the levels have a direct impact on human health is “unclear.”
    Enough said….I am tired of being asked to pretend that Stupid is a virtue.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    You didn’t note the Washington State report that criticized the techniques used in this study, and it’s findings.
    Mother Jones briefly touches on them
    http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/09/five-ways-stanford-study-underestimates-organic-food
    And the Washington State University critique
    http://organicfarms.wsu.edu/blog/devil-in-the-details/
    http://www.tfrec.wsu.edu/pdfs/P2566.pdf
    The same will most likely be found with the Oxford study, and herein lies the problem with so-called ‘meta-analysis’ reports: flawed findings, inherent bias in report sampling, the skewing effect with findings that aren’t published that could impact on a meta-analysis, and so on.
    The problem is that the media picks up sound bites and extrapolates results that the meta-analysis doesn’t necessarily “prove”.
    And since the original studies are behind paywalls, and are not necessarily easily readable by the average person, the results are misrepresented.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    What I find disengenious about the study creators is their quiet assertion that the results should be interpreted with caution, all the while they exclaim at the top of their lungs that organic food is not healthier than conventional.
    I imagine the publicity ensures funding for their future efforts.

  • http://www.foodsafetyanalysis.com/introduction M. “Mike” Mychajlonka, Ph. D.

    Unfortunately, this FSN article contains neither any links to the original article or a literature reference. The literature reference is: Ann Intern Med. 4 September 2012;157(5):348-366. Some basic information about this article may be retrieved, gratis, from the link:
    http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1355685
    A PDF version of the entire article is available to the public, but only at a considerable price. Such selling, by a scientific journal, of information no doubt freely given by the authors, is one of the great failings of the academic enterprise. A trip to a library may be in order. Nevertheless, I think it may be quite safe to quote information this journal has already made freely available:
    “Conclusion: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”
    For one thing, this conclusion appears to contradict the headline used by this FSN article, since reduced consumer exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria seems to be a clearly desirable (and “safer”) outcome. Much of the media “frenzy” regarding the publication of this review of the literature seems to stem from the desire to paint organic food as some sort of fraud. Be that as it may, given this review’s conclusions, how can anyone use this publication as evidence with which to denounce organic food, except on nutritional grounds? A far more useful activity would be to effectively and economically sanitize the waste products often used as organic fertilizer.

  • Donnie

    We are encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables. A trace of pesticides here, a trace of pesticides there. Well gee whiz, pesticides build up and the more we eat, the more risk of harm. This is common sense. That is not even taking into account that GM foods are drenched in even more pesticides. Then there is non-organic meat and dairy. Lots of antibotics there. Arsenic is fed to chickens, hormones to cows, and God only knows what to pigs and other food animals. Now… tell me again, that I shouldn’t waste my money on organic foods. No evidence of harm, doesn’t mean there isn’t any harm being done. Remember, we were told that trans-fat is healthy and safe for us, and all the other false information we were given to sell more products that we probably should not be eating in the first place. Pesticides only purpose is to kill stuff, and I really don’t want that to be me and my family. I will continue to buy organic foods and products. I will rely on my own common sense, and not some so-called studies that may be slanted to serve an unknown agenda. At this point, we are still allowed to have a choice about some things. And I will choose wisely, on the side of safety and health, and avoid eating pesticides as much as possible. If I pay more for organic foods, then that is fine with me. I don’t put a price tag on my health, and will do what I can to preserve it.

  • Jan

    Such a hoot you would close your article with a gargle of keep up the faith koolaid from Michael Pollan. What a stooge. The man is a journalism teacher. He thinks and writes science fiction. Just a lot of soppy emotional pulp to sell to the gullible masses. No different from Harlequin or Agatha Christie.
    Organic is lucky to be found equivalent to modern conventional foods for health and safety. Anyone could easily assume insect infested food smeared with manure fertilizer might be dangerous to eat. Pollan should be strutting and crowing because organic food hasn’t been proven a danger to health. Not yet, anyway.

  • http://www.yourbodyofknowledge.com Ron Lavine, D.C.

    The study also showed that organic foods had higher levels of phosphorus and phenols than “conventionally” grown foods. For some reason this finding was not considered significant enough to alter the overall impression that organic foods were of equal nutritional value. That makes no sense.

  • Elivaa

    The meta-study only looked at pesticides that we put on the plants, not pesticides that the plant makes organically. Plants are one of the oldest forms of life on the planet and they have developed very advanced and dynamic forms of defense (or they could not have survived as long as they have). Plants make their own pesticides that are now starting to be examined. Initial studies have indicated that these plant pesticides are hundreds of times more carcinogenic than the synthetic pesticides. Adding synthetic pesticides down-regulates the plant’s own pesticide production allowing the plant to divert that energy into different uses such as making the fruit and veg we eat.

  • Lance

    Donnie, in reference to your comment “Then there is non-organic meat and dairy. Lots of antibiotics there.” Speaking of dairy, this is a false statement. Having worked as a QA Manager in a fluid milk facility, all raw milk loads that came into our facility had to be screened for the presence of beta-lactam and other antibiotics per Appendix N of the Pastuerized Milk Ordinance. Any loads that tested positive had to be rejected and not used. Please don’t spread misinformation and use blanket statements as a general rule. This just further confuses those who do not think critically. Thank you.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    Elvira, can you please provide a link or citation for your statements?

  • steve

    Attn: the well-endowed Figures Can’t Lie, But Liars Can Figure Research Dept at Stanford:
    A Meta Analysis (a screened roundup of previous studies) is only as good as the underlying assumptions of the studies it is rounding up. And of course there’s that whole thing about comparing apples and oranges.
    Further — to anyone wanting to actually read the details (instead of the spin) of the study — good luck — it’s hidden behind a pricey copyright paywall — cute.
    However, those who have actually analyzed the actual study come up with some widely differing facts than are circulating though the media by the disinformation shills. For a detailed scientific critique of the Meta Study by Dr Charles Benbrook see:
    and for an overall view of all this see Tom Philpott at:
    That’s because the Standford researchers utilize a highly reductionist statistics construct called a”risk difference” metric that seriously masks the benefit of going organic to avoid traces of toxic pesticides on and inside (systemic pesticides taken up by the crop plant) our food supply — especially for vulnerable populations like pregnant women and kids as well as farm and food workers subject to ongoing field and processing exposures.
    Vastly unreported by the media the Stanford statisticians found a 30% risk difference between organic and conventional (major enough) but the Benbrook critique does the math to come up with the real number = an 81% lower risk for organic.
    Where are the headlines???
    Philpott explains it all with “5 ways the Stanford Study Sells Organic Short”:
    “1. Conventional produce is much worse than organic on the pesticide-exposure question than the 30 percent number suggests. That’s what Chuck Benbrook of the Organic Center shows in adetailed critique of the study. To get the 30 percent number, the authors used an odd statistical construct they call “risk difference.” By their method, if 5 percent of organic vegetables contain at least one pesticide trace and 35 percent of conventional vegetables contain at least one trace, then the “risk difference” is 30 percent (35 minus 5). But that’s a silly way of thinking about it, because there’s a much greater difference between those numbers than “30 percent” suggests. Crunching the authors’ own raw data, Benbrook finds “an overall 81% lower risk or incidence of one or more pesticide residues in the organic samples compared to the conventional samples.”
    But even that doesn’t get to the full extent of the study’s underestimation, since:
    2. To arrive at their “risk difference” metric, the authors didn’t distinguish between a single pesticide trace and multiple traces; or between light traces and heavier traces. For their purposes, an organic apple carrying a tiny residue of a relatively innocuous pesticide is equivalent to a conventional apple containing a cocktail of several relatively toxic pesticides. Here’s Benbrook on why that’s silly:
    a) most residues in organic food occur at much lower levels than in conventional food, b) residues are not as likely in organic foods, c) multiple residues in a single sample are rare in organic food but common in conventional produce, and d) high- risk pesticides rarely appear as residues in organic food, and when they do, the levels are usually much lower than those found in conventional food (especially the levels in imported produce).
    Now, the authors might reply that all of this is trivial, because the traces that researchers find on produce, whether conventional or organic, almost always come in at levels below the EPA’s safety threshold. But:
    3. This ignores a growing body of research that pregnant women’s fetuses can be harmed at low exposures of organophosphate pesticides, as can young children.
    And what’s more:
    4. The authors—like the EPA itself—ignore the “cocktail effect” of exposure to several pesticides, say, from a single apple. As Environmental Working Group’s analysis of USDA data shows, conventional produce like apples, blueberries, and bell peppers often carry traces of many pesticides. The EPA regulates pesticide traces only on an individual basis, disregarding possible synergistic effects. The European Commission is starting to take them more seriously. Here’s a report commissioned by the European Commission in 2009:
    There is a consensus in the field of mixture toxicology that the customary chemical-by-chemical approach to risk assessment might be too simplistic. It is in danger of underestimating the risk of chemicals to human health and to the environment.
    Which brings us to the fifth point:
    5. We probably know more about how exposure to low levels of multiple pesticides affect amphibians than we do about how they affect people—and what our amphibious friends are telling us isn’t pretty.
    In short, the Stanford study seriously underplays the benefit of going organic to avoid pesticide traces, especially for vulnerable populations like pregnant women and kids. In a future post, I’ll show why it does the same for exposure to antibiotic-resistant pathogens in meat, and doesn’t give organic its due with regard to nutritional benefits.”

  • http://www.phfspec.com Peter Cocotas

    Wow, a precious product with a premium price has no substantive advantage over its less expensive counterpart. That has to be a first in the annals of US marketing.

  • cmg

    The organic emperor has no clothes. Never did.
    Simply amazing how otherwise intelligent people obediently kiss the hem of an imaginary cloak. If only they understood how ridiculous they are with their libelous smear (normal food is poisoning me!) amplified by their preposterous testimonials (organic food has cured me!). Well, it certainly hasn’t cured them of delusional tendencies. In fact, if anything it seems to be making it worse.
    Organic is a price maximizing market category created by USDA. Nothing more. All the deceptive hoopla over organic food’s magical mystical properties is slick sales pitch. Nothing more. Organic proponents choose to believe in miracles, childishly demand them. Nothing less. You want me to buy into the organic deception? Nothing doing.

  • Jon

    Elivaa — Please send some factual backups to your opinion that:
    “adding synthetic pesticides down-regulates the plant’s own pesticide production allowing the plant to divert that energy into different uses such as making the fruit and veg we eat.”

  • Alliance for Food and Farming

    It would seem that the Stanford study should be reassuring to all consumers, not controversial. After all, the study found that both organic and conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are very nutritious and safe. So consumers should choose either with confidence, but eat more for improved health. Just wash and enjoy. It is that simple. To learn more about the safety of all produce, visit safefruitsandveggies.com.

  • Francine M. PhD

    The higher levels of phosphorus in organic is from all the manure that is used. When you rely exclusively upon manure and composted food waste for fertilizer phosphorus naturally builds up in the soil and in the plants. Phosphorus is also the nutrient/pollutant that chokes our waterways with algae and weeds. Thanks organic growers for making a bad phosphorus pollution problem infinitely worse with all your manure. Sustainable my ass. Decades ago we had to ban phosphates from detergents. Eventually we will learn the dangers of growing food in piles of rotting organic waste. What an uproar there will be when we have to begin regulating reckless organic fertilizing practices.

  • Amber

    As a graduate student I am fortunate enough to have access to this paper and am reading through it now. Systematic review/meta-analysis is important because it goes through a whole body of work on the topic. Not all individual scientific studies are created equal, and not all of them report thorough enough information. Systematic review/meta-analysis can reduce bias, although bias will never be eliminated.
    That being said, I don’t think one type of food is better than the other, and each has advantages/disadvantages. Consumers should have the choice, but at the same time be informed. Organic produce will still have natural pesticides, which as Elivaa said, can be worst than synthetic pesticides. Just because something isn’t “natural” doesn’t automatically make it worse. In livestock there isn’t a significant difference either in pathogen prevalence between organic and traditional. One misconception that people have that bothers me is that you can’t get food poisoning from organic food, which isn’t true. (The sprouts outbreak? Organic sprouts, and the bacteria wasn’t from animal feces either.) Bottom line: Organic and conventional may be different in production methods, but are basically equal in other areas.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    Amber, as I also asked Elivaa, can you provide a link or citation to a reference leading to the following statement:
    “Organic produce will still have natural pesticides, which as Elivaa said, can be worst than synthetic pesticides”

  • Ted

    The validity and power of meta-analysis is utterly lost on scientific illiterate cherrypickers. To say nothing of statistical analysis or statistical significance. Such a waste. Like handing a loaded handgun to a chimpanzee — appalling to watch, even from a safe distance.
    It is comical to see panicked foodies pontificating, preaching, explaining and excusing their organic religion. There is simply no way the biased personal opinions and paid froth of Pollan, Benbrook, Philpott or any number of paid shills can reasonably critique objective findings of a team of Stanford researchers statistically summarizing the peer reviewed output of literally hundreds of credible scientists.
    Actually our resident foodie apologists/anarchists are rather reminiscent of the McKenzie Brothers, Bob & Doug:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsgVspgy184
    But organic is, like, so smooth, eh? Yeah, and it saves lives, eh? Yeah, a hoser’s paradise. Buy organic. Good Day.
    Coo loo coo coo, coo coo coo coo

  • Jem

    Ah… the truth will out… Not only is this fire-walled, interpretive cherry-picked Stanford Meta Study shown to be heavily biased in favor of chemical agriculture — now we get a look behind the scenes as to Why…. just follow the Money.
    According to the 2011 Annual Report of the research-sponsoring Stanford Center for Health Policy they are heavily supported by Agribusiness and top Agribusiness investors including Cargill, British Petroleum (BP), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (heavily invested in both Cargill and Monsanto), the Ford Foundation, Google, Goldman Sachs, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and many other corporate-financier, Fortune 500 special interests. It is no coincidence that the corporations behind this propaganda coup are the biggest contributors to the biotech disinformation campaign deployed to defeat California Prop 37, the people’s Right-To-Know GMO Labeling referendum.

  • http://www.norcalglutenfree.com Jean

    I think studies of studies are not research and any conclusions are vague at best. People don’t do research anymore, they do studies of studies of studies. The farther away you get from the original data the more off-base the results. Anyone who has ever written a term paper on a scientific subject knows that.
    I buy organic foods because ‘USDA certified organic’ means no ‘genetically modified organisms’ – no plant genes combined with insect genes or animal genes and sold to me without informing me. An organic tomato is a tomato not a lab experiment passed off as food. I buy organic because organic produce has less pesticides and it has to be handled and processed in specific ways to keep it’s certification.
    I buy organic because I saw substantive improvements in our family health after a few weeks of organic foods. So significantly fewer pesticides, and no GMO’s translates into fewer illnesses and better health in our household.
    To buy unadulterated food with the lowest amounts of pesticides, processing chemicals and unwanted food additives or colorings, you have to buy organic. It’s a shame that we have to pay a premium for what a hundred years ago would have just been called ‘food’, but that seems to be the price of progress. If you don’t feel you can afford organic, then at least buy fresh unprocessed produce. Buy real food, not chemical-laden lab experiments in a box or can.
    Food grown in a healthy way really is healthier for you, and the planet, too. And you don’t need a study of a study to confirm that. You can prove it to yourself.

  • Amber

    Jem, the study doesn’t say that conventional is better, just that overall the body of scientific evidence finds that there is no significant difference between the two.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    Jem, we’ve seen corporate front groups in action enough to know what is or is not their handiwork, and this study does not reflect corporate front activity.
    This study reflects more of the “publish or perish” attitude that exists in most universities. It has more of a feel of trying to justify the existence of this type of work (meta-analysis) than a deliberate attempt to deceive.
    Let’s face it: corporate front groups aren’t subtle. This study just isn’t decisive enough.
    Now, I would not be surprised to see corporate front money behind some of the publications that touted the study, as well as deliberately misconstruing the study results (think Heartland Institute), but I really don’t think there’s direct corporate money behind this study.
    I think there are enough arguments against the unfounded assertions related to this study that we don’t have to look for “shadow characters” behind it, in order to discredit it (or at least the unfounded assumptions being touted about it).
    I wondered myself if there was corporate front money behind it. But that way means we don’t seriously look at the science when publications we may not agree with are published. And that’s just as wrong as the nefarious activities on the part of the front groups.

  • Ted

    Ah….the panic has about played itself out….finally, inevitably our frantic apologists turn the conspiracy card face up — everything and everyone conspires against the magical mystery of organic farming. Of course.
    One wonders how Bill Gates or Cargill manage to get anything done at all, being so fully absorbed in conspiring against organic food, and all. And Google conspires, as it turns out! Any success of organic food will ruin Google. Somehow. Apparently. Inexplicably. Or so we are told to believe.
    We are asked to believe a great deal, expected to take it all on blind faith. Blind faith is the body, heart and soul of the organic charade. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
    But mainly be afraid. Be very afraid. Toxins and conspirators and boogie men lurk in your food, in every shadow, behind every bush. Only organic food can protect you. It used to be alien abductions. Werewolves were popular for quite a while. Elvis sightings were more amusing — too bad those died down. Oh well.
    It took long enough to get around to the standard issue tin foil hat conspiracy theory. About all that remains to fully round out the organic apologists’ frustration is for them to call me a troll. Aw, c’mon, you know you need to.

    • Rickter

      word

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    Amber, that is not what the study says.
    Still waiting on the links or citations to back up your earlier statements.

  • Jem

    Hi Shelley
    Thanks for your comments on my post. As I said earlier this study is only as good as its assumptions (and buy-ins). There’s numerous studies that show that US/ EPA pesticide allowance levels are questionable — particularly organophosphates.
    The US Agribusiness industry (prime supporters of the Stanford Health Group) has lobbied for and succeeded in setting preserving these higher allowances — and that’s what we’ve got in our food supply. But research in Europe, for example, has resulted in much more stringent regulations.
    This Meta Study compiles research that fits into these assumptions. There’s no mention of organic being free of GMOs. And somehow the “nutritive content” aspect of the study got turned into “healthier”.
    Clearly this study is pleasing to Stanford’s funders — and their PR forces have been working overtime to promulgate it’s questionable findings. Sounds like Junk Science to me…

  • Joanie

    Ted Mudddd — a Troll Is as a Troll Does….. there’s no way you can joke around it….

  • Ted

    Is your Google button broken Shelley?
    Here ya go, to get ya started learnin’ a little sumpin’ ’bout defensive chemicals produced naturally by plants…
    http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/05/27/understanding.plants.overactive.immune.system.will.help.mu.researchers.build.better.crops
    http://www.yale.edu/opa/arc-ybc/v33.n31/story16.html
    http://claylab.commons.yale.edu/research/
    Do your homework. See, this is the problem with opinionated amateurs arguing out of their depth. Simple facts get overlooked and truth suffers for it. We all suffer for it.

  • Richard Barrerr

    To Bill Marler, Dan Flynn, Suzanne Schreck and everyone else that thinks that Organic is no better,
    Please do not use Organic. Eat everything that is GMO. Also have your families eat GMO foods.
    After 3 generations, I would like to know what your health is like compared with the Organic
    eaters.
    My email is fuwmilkalberta@gmail.com

  • Tammy

    Ill make you a Deal , I will not spend one more Dime on my Organic food i buy if you Kick Monsanto and all the GMO Crap and Pestisides they make off the Globe. I want No traces of monsanto Poison on earth and i will quit buying my healthy happy Organic crops that wont kill me like monsanto wants to do .
    THANKS MONSANTO for KILLING MY DAD WITH AGENT ORANGE AND ALSO ME GETTING IT BECAUSE YOU LIED !

    • Vanessa Lacey

      Ya inam sure gmos cause death.

  • Marc Montti

    This article is very uncertain about their certainty in opposition about the “premise” of Organic Produce.

    Synthetic Fertilizer was left out of the list.  

    is there any difference in a plants ability to absorb chemically synthesized Fertilizers? strong evidence points to yes!

     however, the relevant point should be made… Standard Fertilizers consist of N-P-K (eg: 10-10-10)  these are the 3 main Macro (High concentrated) Nutrients that scientist discovered over 100 years ago. according to Current Science, plant health is much more complex,

    variables that contribute towards the optimal health of a plant-

    Macro Nutrients = N-P-K    Nitrogen,  phosphorous & potassium (pot-ash-ium)
    Micro Nutrients = 70+ trace minerals (that become depleted from large scale production)
    and
    Soil Structure = which contains a diverse array of bacteria and bugs: all of these life forms are living in symbioses in the role of extracting, converting and exchanging nutrients between each other and ultimately the plants. this nutrient exchange source is responsible for the overall health of the plants immune system. (Disease resistance as well as common pest resistance through their natural defence mechanisms “natural pesticides”) 

    Note- a new method of farming is slowly catching on “No Till” farming…great for higher nutrient rich food, slightly deeper pigmentation of the colour, Less need for Commercial Fertilizers = increase sustainability 

    Grand Total= Better For our Bodies! + Cheaper Food + better for the economy!

    Finally a quick Note on “Organic Farming”

    there are many different organic methods of farming (its science that’s an art form)  mainly there is…
     
    1—-bulk production – (commercial organic) = relies on organic livestock Manure
    2——–Ecologically (Eco) Friendly -  Small Scale, less reliance of manure,
    3—Small Scale Farmers Market – produce is fresher. thus, it can have 7-12% more nutritional value.
    4———Perma Culture – combining different plants that work in harmony with each other, No-Till? ,
    5—soil Re-Mineralisation -  pulverizing different types of mineral Rocks, bacteria metabolize the minerals and convert them to easier forms for the plants to use.
    6———-use of Symbiotic Fungi- which increase the nutrient intake of the plant by creating a complimentary network of “root like extensions to the existing plants roots…i forget the specific name of the fungi.
    7—–Forest Farming – just like Perma Culture! but instead we would artfully create (for the most part) a self sustaining ecological Food Forest system implementing many of the ideas above.

     (eg: Vitamin B-12 is formed by bacteria that feed off the mineral cobalt, Vitamin B12 goes by many names all of which contain the suffix “cobalamin” aka Cobalt)

    Note-
    Long term risk analysis -  for a 10, 15, 20  year period of not getting the optimal nutritional value from your “sustenance”  will prove to be of significant value towards not only physical health but mental health as well.

    in conclusion, well you get the idea… think again when you hear someone say that all food is created equal!!! until next time….Muah hahahahaha     “It’s Alive!!!!……. It’s Really Alive”

    whats the difference between a caretaker and a caregiver??? well one Takes Care of you, and the other Gives Care to you….ok ok ok take 2….one takes care from you and the other gives care to you…. I enjoy Giving A broader sense of knowledge to topics that are tied to way too much Bias Opinions….most of  this uncertainty in organic farming is only relative to conventional perspective,  which does not have a strong foundation, at all on the projected nutritional value over a “VERY LONG TERM” period… a strong point can be made about the Japanese style of eating ” average Japanese eats 120+ foods per week while average American eats only 12!!! I say “GOOD DAY” !!! – Fez- “that 70′s show”

    P.S.  was that awesome? or was is Awful??? or is it pronounced Awe-Full? but wait…when we experience Awe, is it “full” of awe, or is it just “some” awe???? i must say that this seemingly sub-conscious sense of “Double Speak” May seem A bit Sneaky….  Im speaking to the incarnation of Ayn Rand….I like to imagine she would say keep up the good work

  • Joshua Petersen

    This is what I see happening, and the media does this ALL THE TIME.

    The Science: “New Study finds water contains less vitamens than chocolate.”
    The story: “Why you should replace all your water with chocolate, water’s no good for you!”

    Why the comparison is accurate:
    Water, of course, doesn’t have vitamens. Its for hydration, not vitamen intake. If you replaced all your water with chocolate, you’d die from dehydration.

    Similarly, saying that organic foods aren’t more nutritious is a no-brainer. With the organic standards, you’re not injecting new vitamens into the food. You’re not magically preventing some man with a curly mustache from going in and cutting out the pieces of the apple that contain nutrients in the middle of the night. What organic food does is prevent the addition of several major poisons. Poisons are not “anti-nutrients”. You don’t put vitamens and poisons in a room and both magically dissappear. Their study doesn’t test for toxicity in the blood stream, it doesn’t check lifespan, damage to IQ, or anything along those lines (which would be caused by poisons), it checks for the effects of nutrients & vitamens, which both organic and non-organic food still has.

  • Ashley D.

    no, organic is no more nutritious because fruit and veg is fruit and veg. it all contains the same nutrition, but what organic doesn’t contain that regular does is pesticides and genetically modified organisms. also, those of us that prefer healthy, organic food, don’t care about e.coli or salmonella as that’s naturally occurring and can be dealt with. we care about the unnatural stuff that our bodies can’t tolerate and turn into cancer.

    • Rickter

      You do realize that the way your body deals with e.coli and salmonella is by getting sick and dying? Just because its natural doesn’t mean its not dangerous.

  • Fred

    I see the big money organic food business has successfully buried this. They don’t want anyone to know their business model is based on gullible consumers.