Key conclusions in the meta-analysis conducted by Stanford University researchers reviewing published results from 17 human studies and 223 studies of nutrient and contaminant levels in unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, eggs, chicken, pork, and meat included three main findings:
- Conventional produce has a 30 percent higher risk for pesticide contamination than organic produce.
- Conventional chicken and pork have a 33 percent higher risk for contamination with bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics than organic products do.
- There is no difference in the food safety risk between organic and conventional foods.
The latest Stanford University research review confirms the health benefits that 78% of American families choosing organic foods, at least occasionally, seek. OTA’s 2011 Attitudes and Beliefs Study cites reducing exposure to pesticides and avoiding antibiotics in the food supply as top reasons for choosing organic.
Pointing out that published literature lacks broad evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods, the Stanford University researchers, however, did cite higher levels of total beneficial phenols in organic produce, omega-3 fatty acids in organic milk and chicken, and vaccenic acid in organic chicken.
The link between agronomic practices and nutritional profile of foods is an emerging research topic, Bushway noted, adding, “We are optimistic that in the future, good applied scientific research on organic food and farming will show that healthy soils produce healthy foods.”
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.