Growing crops in healthy soils results in food products that offer healthy nutrients.
There is mounting evidence that organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains may offer more of some nutrients, including vitamin C,
iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and less exposure to nitrates and pesticide residues than their counterparts grown using synthetic pesticides
- Reviewing 41 published studies comparing the nutritional value of organically grown and conventionally grown fruits, vegetables, and
grains, certified nutrition specialist Virginia Worthington has concluded there are significantly more of several nutrients in organic crops.
These include: 27% more vitamin C, 21.1% more iron, 29.3% more magnesium, and 13.6% more phosphorus. In addition, organic products had 15.1%
less nitrates than their conventional counterparts. She also noted that five servings of organic vegetables (lettuce, spinach, carrots,
potatoes and cabbage) provided the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for men and women, while their conventional counterparts did not.
Worthington said the results are consistent with known soil dynamics and plant physiology.
[Source: "Nutritional Quality of Organic Versus Conventional Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains," by Virginia Worthington, published in The Journal
of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2001 (pp. 161-173), available at: www.foodisyourbestmedicine.com/organic.pdf.
Worthington has her Masters of Science in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Maryland, and Doctor of Science from Johns Hopkins University
School of Public Health.]
- Organic crops appear to be higher in vitamin C, essential minerals and phytonutrients, according to the 87-page report prepared for The Soil
Association of the United Kingdom and released during 2001. Reviewing 400 published papers comparing organic and non-organic foods concerning food
safety, nutritional content and observed health effects, the report noted the need for further studies.
[Source: "Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health: A review of the evidence," written and researched by Shane Heaton, The Soil Association,
United Kingdom, 2001.]
- A study commissioned by the Organic Retailers and Growers Association of Australia (ORGAA) found that conventionally grown fruit and vegetables
purchased in supermarkets and other commercial retail outlets had ten times less mineral content than fruit and vegetables grown organically. For
the study, tomatoes, beans, capsicums and silver beets grown on a certified organic farm using soil regenerative techniques were analyzed for
mineral elements. A similar range of vegetables grown conventionally and purchased from a supermarket was also analyzed by the Australian Government
Analytical Laboratory. A major flaw of the study, however, is that it compared fresh produce at the farm to produce in a supermarket. Thus, there
could have been a difference in freshness, which could have affected the nutrients measured.
[Source: Organic Retailers and Growers Association of Australia, 2000, as cited in Pesticides and You, Vol. 20, No. 1, Spring 2000, News from Beyond
Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides.]
- A comparative study conducted by researchers at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Switzerland found that organically grown
apples were of higher quality than conventionally grown apples with respect to parameters that relate to health and taste (taste score, sugar-acidity-
firmness index, nutritional fiber content, phenolic compounds content, and "vitality index" according to picture-grading methods for holistic quality
assessment). [Source: "Are organically grown apples tastier and healthier? A comparative field study using conventional and alternative methods to measure fruit
quality," F.P. Weibel, R. Bickel, S. Leuthold, and T. Alf–ldi), Acta Hort. 517: 417-427 (2000).]
- A study has shown that organic soups sold commercially in the United Kingdom contain almost six times as much salicylic acid as non-organic soups.
John Paterson, a biochemist at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, and scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland analyzed 11 brands
of organic soup and compared their levels of salicylic acid with those in non-organic varieties. Salicylic acid, which is responsible for the anti-
inflammatory action of aspirin, has been shown to help prevent hardening of the arteries and bowel cancer. The average level of salicylic acid in
11 brands of organic vegetable soup was 117 nanograms per gram, compared with 20 nanograms per gram in 24 types of non-organic soup. The highest
level (1,040 nanograms per gram) was found in an organic carrot and coriander soup. Four of the conventional soups had no detectable levels of salicylic
acid. [Source: New Scientist magazine, March 16, 2002, page 10; European Journal of Nutrition, Vol, 40, page 289].
- Research by visiting chemistry professor Theo Clark and undergraduate students at Truman State University in Missouri found organically grown
oranges contained up to 30 percent more vitamin C than those grown conventionally. Reporting the findings at the June 2 Great Lakes Regional meeting
of the American Chemical Society, Clark said he had expected the conventional oranges, which were much larger than the organic oranges, to have twice
as much vitamin C as the organic versions. Instead, chemical isolation combined with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed the higher level
in the organic oranges. [Source: Science Daily Magazine, June 2, 2002.]
Organic Trade Association, July 2002
- Reporting on its study examining pesticide residues in foods bought around the country, Consumer Reports, January 1998, noted: "Our side-by-side
tests of organic, green-labeled, and conventional unlabeled produce found that organic foods had consistently minimal or nonexistent pesticide residue."
Source: "Greener Greens? The Truth about Organic Foods," Consumer Reports, January 1998, page 13.
- Analyzing U.S. Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Data Program data comparing the relative amounts and toxicity of pesticide residues in different
foods, a Consumer Union report found that fresh peaches, frozen and fresh winter squash, apples, grapes, spinach, pears, and green beans had some of the
highest Toxicity Index ratings. As a result, the Consumers Union recommended purchasing organically grown apples, peaches, pears, grapes, winter squash,
spinach and green beans.
Source: "Do you know what you're eating? An analysis of U.S. Government Data on Pesticide Residues in Foods," February 1999, Consumers Union of United
States Inc., Edward Groth III, project director.
- Organic fruits and vegetables have only a third as many pesticide residues as their conventionally grown counterparts, according to a study by
Consumers Union (CU) and the Organic Materials Review Institute. Study findings are based on pesticide residue data collected by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, from tests conducted on foods sold in California by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and from tests by Consumers Union.
Data covered more than 94,000 food samples from more than 20 crops, with 1,291 of the samples organically grown. USDA data showed 73 percent of
conventionally grown foods sampled had residue from at least one pesticide, while only 23 percent of organically grown samples of the same crops had any
residues. When residues of persistent, long-banned organochlorine insecticides such as DDT were excluded from the analysis, organic samples with residues
dropped from 23 to 13 percent. More than 90 percent of USDA's samples of conventionally grown apples, peaches, pears, strawberries and celery had residues.
The California data found residues in 31 percent of the conventional food, and 6.5 percent of the organic products. Tests by the Consumers Union, meanwhile,
found residues on 79 percent of conventionally grown samples and 27 percent on the organic products.
[Source: Food Additives and Contaminants, May 8, 2002. Also, see www.omri.org.]
- Data from the Associazione Italiana per l'Agricoltura Biologica and Legambiente show consumers in Italy consume approximately two kilos of chemicals
and pesticides from products grown through conventional farming practices. In 2000, 30 percent of vegetables and 40 percent of fruit in more than 5,000
fruit and vegetable samples in Italy showed evidence of pesticide residues.
[Source: Associazione Italiana per l'Agricoltura Biologica and Legambiente, Oct. 2, 2001, as cited in OrganicTS.com, Oct. 5, 2001.]
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