RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—A new analysis of previous research studies has found that organic food, and food produced using pesticides and other chemicals, are of comparable nutritional quality—implying that buying organic because it’s perceived to be healthier isn’t justified. The report is slated for publication in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and is available now on the journal’s website. Critics contend that the study’s flaws invalidate its findings. The analysis was done by a research team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and funded by the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), a government agency similar in some ways to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
THE DETAILS: The researchers analyzed 162 studies that compared the density of 11 nutrients in organic and chemically grown produce, and two nutrients in dairy and meat products. They found no difference between organic and chemical methods in the nutritional value of meat and dairy products, but they found that chemically farmed produce had higher levels of nitrogen, while organic produce had higher levels of phosphorous and titratable acidity (which relates to flavor). In all other respects, the two types of produce were found to be no different in their content of vitamin C, phenolic compounds, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, total soluble solids (the level of sugars found in the produce), and copper.