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Organic Foods Not Healthier or More Nutritious, Study Says
Date:9/4/2012

nd information.

Organic products are generally grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, irradiation or chemical food additives and without routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic livestock are offered freedom of movement and access to the outdoors and are fed pesticide- and animal byproduct-free organic feed.

Only one nutrient, phosphorous, was found to be significantly more abundant in organic produce, but researchers felt this had little clinical significance since few people are deficient in phosphorous. Also, no difference in protein or fat content was observed between organic and conventional milk, though limited previous studies did suggest organic milk contains markedly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which may lower the risk of conditions such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

Smith-Spangler said she and her team were inspired to undertake the research to find answers for themselves, their families and their patients about the potential merits of organic foods. But, "we didn't find strong evidence that organic food was significantly more nutritious or healthier," she said, "and similar levels of both types are contaminated with bacteria" such as E. coli, which can be deadly.

"We can't exclude the idea that some organic practices may increase nutrient levels . . . or increase or decrease bacteria," she said. "But at the market you don't often get to look at the organic practices used. Many studies mention that other factors can influence nutrient content, such as ripeness, season and storage practices."

Charles Benbrook is chief science consultant at the Organic Center in Enterprise, Ore., which says it conducts "credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming." He praised the study authors' "ambitious undertaking" but said the study underestimated the impact of organic livestock farming on reducing antibiotic resistance and missed analyzing
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