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Study says organic no healthier than conventional

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Over the last 10 years, the image of U.S. agriculture industry has suffered much criticism from the rising organic movement, which contends that organic farming is a superior system of producing food.

A new study confirms once again that not only is conventional agriculture a safe, sustainable, responsible system for supplying the world with food, it is also the system by which all others are compared.

A new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that organic foods aren’t any safer or more nutritious for children than conventionally-produced foods.

 “Parents know it’s important for children to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains,” the study said. “But it’s less clear whether spending the extra money on organic foods will bring a significant benefit to their children’s health.”

 In other words, it simply doesn’t matter whether children eat organic or conventional food, as long as they maintain a healthy diet, noted Dr. Janet Silverman, one of the lead authors of the report.

Over the last 10 years, the image of U.S. agriculture industry has suffered much criticism from the rising organic movement, which contends that organic farming is a superior system of producing food.

The AAP study confirms once again that not only is conventional agriculture a safe, sustainable, responsible system for supplying the world with food, it is also the system by which all others are compared.

And how does organic stack up to conventional? According to the study, the higher cost of organic may actually hurt parental efforts to protect their children’s health.

“Many families have a limited food budget, and we do not want families to choose to consume smaller amounts of more expensive organic foods and thus reduce their overall intake of healthy foods like produce,” Silverstein explained.

The report is similar to a recently released Stanford study, conducted by Crystal Smith-Spangler, an instructor at Stanford, and others. She noted, “Some believe that organic food is always healthier and more nutritious. We were a little surprised that we didn’t find that.”

The authors of the AAP study didn’t unequivocally endorse conventional agriculture, and I’m sure we’ll see the organic groups cherry pick some AAP observations.

An AAP press release on the study noted, “While organic foods have the same vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, lipids and other nutrients as conventional foods, they also have lower pesticide levels, which may be significant for children. Organically raised animals are also less likely to be contaminated with drug-resistant bacteria because organic farming rules prohibit the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics.”

The AAP also made the assumption that organically-produced food was somehow better for the environment and climate change.

 Despite this backtracking, the study could not escape its findings that in the long term, “there is currently no direct evidence that consuming an organic diet leads to improved health or lower risk of disease.”

The AAP report, “Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages,” will be released at a news conference, Oct. 22 at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans. A news release is available online at http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Weighs-In-For-the-First-Time-on-Organic-Foods-for-Children.aspx.

 

Discuss this Blog Entry 6

on Nov 1, 2012

Yes there are possibly benefits to the human body, but that is far from the reason this farmer chooses to go organic; it's for the land, the workers, and our environment. People seem to lose sight of this great fact.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 1, 2012

The organic food industry has been highjacked by a group that is using it as a tool in attacking modern American agriculture and crop science.....the food anarchists. They are populated and led by snooty elitists who would force the food choices of the minority (them) on the majority (us) by piling onerous regulations and labeling requirements on non-organic foods, thereby serving the purpose of making it more difficult and MUCH more costly to produce the foods they don't approve of (GMO's for example). They don't give a twit about the facts stated in this article; that there is no nutritional difference between organic and non-organic raised crops. They also don't give a twit about the fact that there isn't any intrinsic difference in the make-up of the two because they are identical. And they especially don't give a twit in practicing financial bigotry on the less affluent who will have to pay much more for their food purchased if they get their way in the various campaigns in place attacking agriculture, Prop 37 in California being the most notable current example.
This group of latte drinking elitist malcontents are fact starved and intellectually immature in their cynical, fear mongering sales pitches to the general populace but they can't be ignored because they are organized and dangerous.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 1, 2012

Tell that to all the workers and farmers who have cancer from pesticide and herbicide exposure. Look at these farm towns in Kansas where cancer rates are through the roof.

Pesticide residue on food matters to patients with compromised immune systems. Organic IS important for them.

Don't be so narrow minded. The point is you look at the whole system, not just the food you're eating. That's the point of organic-it's a systems approach.
After the disaster of herbicide-resistant weeds, don't you think it's time for a wholistic approach?

thefarmersdaughterusa (not verified)
on Nov 1, 2012

What are you talking about? There is no disaster. And pesticide residue is a moot point (http://www.thefarmersdaughterusa.com/2012/09/debunking-organic-myth-part...). Stop spewing the talking points of the organic movement. Farmers have to look at the whole picture because we have no choice. We don't just get new land every year, so we have to take care of what we have: the soil, the water, everything. Take some time to educate yourself.

thefarmersdaughterusa (not verified)
on Nov 1, 2012

Actually jakesfarm, those reasons are a myth. If you'd like to learn more: http://www.thefarmersdaughterusa.com/2012/09/debunking-organic-myth-part...

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 1, 2012

I have for 50 years produced grain, livestock, milk, and vegetables and at no time would I have ever considered compromising the product that I was producing for mass consumption. We consume the same products as a family and I work hard to produce a product that is safe and that is good for nature. I consider what may be good for my soil,air,water,wildlife and livestock. It is a balancing act that many, do not have a concept, on what it takes to do these things that need to take place to feed the masses of people world wide that depend on us to perform. I'm not organic but I use the best practices to conserve my soils and limit the treatment of antibiotics to my livestock. I believe in caring for my animals as any good herdsmen would, in providing the latest in new medicine to provide comfort. Get real, how do we feed the masses that we are expected to feed without modern ag. We are responsible and if you choose you can purchase what you want, just don't condemn the rest of us for what we are doing to stop starvation in the world. I'm tried of this battle between organic and convectional. Let the free enterprise system sort it out. If the market is there then so be it.

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