RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—There's not enough evidence to say organic food is healthier, because studies on the topic are few and far between, according to a British review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition this month. (Of course, that also means there's a dearth of evidence that eating organic won't help your health.) However, there's more to the story. Organic advocates note that although the review was solid, and more funding is needed to explore the effects of eating organic on preventing disease, there is plenty of concrete evidence linking the chemicals used on our food (including carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and neurotoxins) to human health problems—even in small doses comparable to that found on food, in food, and around the home in common chemical bug and weed killers. In fact, earlier this month the President's Cancer Panel cited emerging research and recommended Americans take the precautionary approach and start eating food grown without chemical pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, and antibiotics.
THE DETAILS: To be clear, despite the way that some media outlets are reporting this story, the authors of the review did not say that organic food is no healthier for you than chemically grown food. Rather, their results imply that there is insufficient evidence to say that organic is healthier. The study authors found nearly 100,000 studies looking at health outcomes of eating organic foods with those of eating conventionally produced food, but only 12 met the reviewers' criteria for inclusion in their analysis. Researchers also noted that most of the studies only focused on indirect human-health outcomes, such as antioxidant levels.