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Organic food research harvests health data, finds no nutritional superiority

Photo by Christopher Paquette via Flickr Creative Commons

Organic food reports have cultivated a crop of health data that researchers digested in a new review, published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, comparing health effects of organic and non-organic foods.

Based on the studies they studied, authors of Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review concluded that while exposure to trace poisons and certain bacteria may be reduced by consuming organic foods, nutritionally they were not superior to non-organic foods.

Conclusion: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The hot potato issue cooked up a small bounty of backlash with publications like GOOD calling the findings "inconclusive," and stepping in to speak up for the scientifically scandalized vegetables of the world.

The online magazine also reiterated the study's disclosed limitations, and held a light to what passes as safe in a conventional diet, questioning allowable pesticide limits set by the EPA, and noting that certain types of produce may absorb and retain higher levels of toxic chemicals.