Organic foods are not necessarily more healthier than conventional foods

Organic foods are not necessarily more healthier than conventional foods.

According to new research from the US, there was no strong evidence that organic foods “are more nutritious or carry fewer health risks than conventional alternatives”.

Crystal Smith-Spangler MD, MS, an instructor in Stanford University’s Division of General Medical Disciplines, said: “Some believe that organic food is always healthier and more nutritious. We were a little surprised that we didn’t find that”.

Looking at meat and poultry products, the report’s authors said there was no significant difference between vulnerability to symptomatic campylobacter infection among populations that consumed organic meat and those that consumed conventional meats.

Bacterial contamination of retail chicken and pork was found to be “common but unrelated to farming methods”, while E.coli contamination risk did not differ between organic and conventional produce.

The research team did find there was a lower risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in organic chicken and pork, but said the clinical significant of this was “unclear”.

Dena Bravata, MD, MS, a senior affiliate with Stanford’s Centre for Health Policy, said that by publishing the study, Stanford does not intend to discourage people from buying organic products.

She said: “If you look beyond health effects, there are plenty of other reasons to buy organic instead of conventional”.

The research team also said there report could be limited by the heterogeneity of the studies they reviewed, due to differences in testing methods, physical factors affecting the food – such as weather and soil types – and big variations in organic farming methods.

Smith-Spangler said: “What I learned is there’s a lot of variation between farming practices. It appears there are a lot of different factors that are important in predicting nutritional quality and harms”.


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