August 21, 2014

Organic foods study falls short

A new study on organic foods doesn’t tell the whole story. National media outlets jumped on a Stanford University study which showed little difference between organic and conventionally grown foods. Joe Pedretti is with MOSES - the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service “This meta-analysis that they did only looked at one very narrow thing,” he explained. “Are there nutritional differences between organically and conventionally produced foods?”

Pedretti said it’s difficult to get a baseline on nutritional values. “Nutrient content can vary widely between products, no matter how it’s grown,” he said. “It’s not surprising to see that there weren’t a lot of big differences.”

Pedretti noted that the Stanford study also found consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but didn’t receive as much attention. “The discouraging thing here is that consumers may read the headlines, and not look into it in greater depth,” he said.

Pedretti said more study needs to be done before it been conclusively stated that there’s no nutritional difference between organic and non-organic foods. Wisconsin currently has more than 1200 certified organic farms, with more than 195,000 acres under cultivation.