A new Stanford University study concludes that organic foods are no more nutritious than their conventional alternatives.
Organically grown produce and meat do not provide more health benefits than those grown by conventional methods, according to a study by researchers at Stanford University.
The scientists analyzed the findings of 237 studies over four decades; topics included the health effects of organic foods on humans and comparisons of the nutrients and contaminants in foods.
The Stanford group saw no significant difference in the vitamin content in organic versus conventional produce and meat. However, certain nutrients were found in much higher levels in organics, including phosphorus in produce and omega-3 fatty acids in milk and chicken.
The researchers also found that pesticide residue was 30 percent more likely to be found on conventional produce, while 7 percent of organic produce contained pesticide residue and all traces of pesticides fell within legal allowed limits.
Additionally, there is no difference between organic and conventional produce when it comes to contamination from bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter, according to the study, but it is possible organics carry a higher risk for E. coli contamination. Bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics were far more commonly found in conventional chicken and pork than in their organic counterparts.
None of the studies examined by the researchers focused on the long-term health effects of organic food.