A review of the scientific literature on the health benefits of organic food versus its chemical-intensive counterpart by Stanford University researchers finds that there is a lack of strong evidence that organic foods contain more nutrients than conventional foods; however, the study finds that consumption of organic foods reduces exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The review sparked headlines nationwide questioning the value of purchasing expensive organic food, despite its findings that consumers are exposed to higher levels of pesticides from conventionally grown food. In reaching its conclusions, the study authors chose to discount pesticide hazards by citing the lack of clinical findings and ignoring epidemiologic data on the effects of pesticide exposure.
The review, in looking exclusively at the limited clinical data on the benefits of organic food and the hazards of pesticide residues on food, ignored data on the broader benefits of organic practices that protect farmers and farmerworkers, air and water quality, wildlife and biodiversity. The review, Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review, was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.