This week was a big news week in the food world, mostly surrounding the findings of a study published by Stanford University, published in Annals of Internal Medicine. The study article is entitled, “Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review”. (Find the study abstract here: http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1355685)
The study claims to have found that there is generally no difference in nutritional value or risk for bacterial contamination between organic and conventional foods, meaning the consumption of organic foods has no greater benefit over conventional foods in terms of improving your health. The only slight advantage the study noted to purchasing organic goods was the finding that organic food consumption reduced exposure to pesticide residue by around 30%. They noted, however, that the pesticide levels were still within the allowable limit for safety.
Since this study lead to much controversy around the internet, rather than linking you to various articles ranging in topic, I’m going to do things a little differently this week. I found 5 articles discussing the Stanford study’s findings, so you can decide for yourself how to feel it.
This article, “5 Ways the Stanford Study Sells Organics Short”, found on Mother Jones, looks specifically at what the Stanford study found in terms of pesticides and argues that the study falls short in emphasizing the risks they pose. Read further to see the 5 ways in which they think that 30% may not be such a safe limit after all.
Here is a written interview detailing Michael Pollan’s response to the study findings. Pollan argues that health benefits aren’t the only reason to purchasing organic; We must also think about the farmers and our environment. Additionally, Pollan brings up the point that the organic label has been exploited and we should instead be focusing on finding local food, which will be fresh, nutritious, and most likely grown without synthetic pesticides.
This video and article from Nation of Change looks at other aspects of buying and consuming organic foods the article failed to address, such as GMOs, BPA, mercury, and artificial sweeteners.
A review in Washington State University’s The Campaign narrows in on the Stanford study flaws and how those flaws might make the sweeping statements the study made not entirely accurate.
This piece in Communicate Science argues entirely for the environmental benefits of organic food and farming over health.
Have a great weekend!