The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has just completed a study of the scientific literature commissioned by the Food Standards Agency in the UK [Comparison of composition (nutrients and other substances) of organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs: a systematic review of the available literature].
According to the press release ...
An independent review commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) shows that there are no important differences in the nutrition content, or any additional health benefits, of organic food when compared with conventionally produced food. The focus of the review was the nutritional content of foodstuffs.This makes a lot of sense. There was never a good reason for assuming that organically grown foods would be more healthy than conventionally grown food and now we have scientific evidence to support that assumption. From now on, whenever you hear someone say that "organic" foods are more healthy you can inform them that what they are saying is contrary to scientific evidence.
Gill Fine, FSA Director of Consumer Choice and Dietary Health, said: ‘Ensuring people have accurate information is absolutely essential in allowing us all to make informed choices about the food we eat. This study does not mean that people should not eat organic food. What it shows is that there is little, if any, nutritional difference between organic and conventionally produced food and that there is no evidence of additional health benefits from eating organic food.
'The Agency supports consumer choice and is neither pro nor anti organic food. We recognise that there are many reasons why people choose to eat organic, such as animal welfare or environmental concerns. The Agency will continue to give consumers accurate information about their food based on the best available scientific evidence.’
There may be other reasons for wanting to eat organically grown food. It may be better for the environment and it may contain fewer traces of pesticides and herbicides. Those claims haven't been refuted by this study. (Although, as far as I know, there's no scientific reason to believe that treating food with herbicides and pesticides is dangerous to the consumer. Besides, organic food is also treated.)
You may wonder why this is such a big deal. Maybe you never thought that organic food was more nutritious than conventionally grown food. If so, you are one of the more rational consumers. Most other consumers are more inclined to believe what the image above shows and what they think are scientific studies proving that organic food is better. That image is from this report in the Daily Mail from 2007: Organic food really IS better for you, claims study.
[Image Credit: The top image is from Green Expander where they say, "Organic food is becoming more and more popular. This is the healthy food, without any additives, with higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals. Organic food comes from trusted farms and food companies, that are inspected at least once a year."]