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Is going organic healthier?


14:45, September 14, 2012

(file photo)

Researchers have put organic food on the chopping board, and the results could be hard to swallow for some. Stanford University doctors say there’s little evidence that going organic is much healthier.

It’s a question that many shoppers ask: Is eating organic food - which generally costs more - really better for me?

Now researchers from Stanford University have dug through reams of research to find out.

And they have found there’s little evidence that going organic is much healthier, nor did it prove more nutritious.

Yes, eating organic fruits and vegetables can lower exposure to pesticides, but researchers found the amount from today’s conventionally grown produce is well within safety limits.

Dr.Dena Bravata, Sr.research affiliate of Stanford University, said,"The purpose of our study was really to answer the question: What are the health benefits and harms of organic versus conventional foods? There are many reasons why someone might choose to buy organic foods or not, and if they are making the decision based principally on a belief about the health benefits, I would say that there is not a robust evidence base to suggest that that would be the case. But that doesn’t mean that they might not choose to buy organic foods for other reasons, like concerns about the environment, pesticide use in general, the way that animals are cared for, or even just buying locally, which can be either from an organic or a conventional farm."

Specialists long have said that organic or not, the chances of bacterial contamination of food is the same. But on Monday, researchers from the Journal Annals of Internal Medicine reported that when bacteria did lurk in chicken or pork, the germs in the organic meat were 33 percent less likely to be resistant to multiple antibiotics. They found the reason was that it’s common for conventional farmers to feed animals antibiotics, not because they’re sick but to fatten them up. Farmers say it’s necessary to meet the demands for cheap meat.

Dr. Bravata noted that some farms that aren’t organic have begun selling antibiotic-free meat to address specific consumer demands. Her own preference is to buy from local farmers so she can get the ripest produce with the least handling.

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