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The Rak Foundation

Organic vs. Conventional … there really is a debate going on

FoodFacts.com read the reports that were all over the internet today about the new research claiming that organic produce and meat really isn’t any better for you than conventionally farmed products. We’d like for our community to look into this and think about the information very carefully.

Within this research, over 200 studies comparing the health of folks eating organic and conventional foods and specifically nutrient and contaminant levels in those foods. While, in fact, organic options contain lower amounts of pesticide residue and antibiotic resistant bacteria, the amounts in those organic options did not appear to be substantially less that those present in their non-organic counterparts.

The foods reviewed were fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, poultry, eggs and milk. Many of the studies included in the review did not specify standards for the organic foods included. Department of Agriculture standards state that organic farms must avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizer as well as hormones and antibiotics. By contrast conventional farming can use pesticides and use antibiotics in their feeds to prevent disease and increase animal growth. It’s important to note that the FDA has been examining how the use of antibiotics in farm animals has contributed to drug-resistant disease in humans.

What was examined in the review of the studies showed that there was no difference in the amount of vitamins in plant or animal products produced organically as opposed to conventionally, with the exception of slightly more phosphorus being present in the organic products. In a few studies it was found that organic milk and chicken can contain more omega-3 fatty acids.

When it came to pesticide residues, which were also examined, there was a more apparent difference, with one third of conventional products having detectible pesticide residues than organic products. And organic chicken and pork was 33 percent less likely to carry bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics than conventionally-produced meat. It was noted, however that it wasn’t typical for either organic or conventional foods to exceed allowable pesticide limits.

While it was noted that more research is necessary to explore the health and safety differences between organic and conventional foods and that it is too early to actually state that organics aren’t healthier than conventional foods, it was noted that consumers might want to consider pesticide levels an important factor in purchasing decisions.

FoodFacts.com would like to note that nowhere in the articles we reviewed pertaining to these findings did we find any mention of genetically modified organisms and their possible impact on the health of consumers. Many studies have been released that have shown preliminary links between the presence of GMOs in the food supply and obesity. And while more study is required to substantiate those links, it would be shortsighted to exclude them from any review of organic vs. non-organic foods.

We encourage our community to read more. Start here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48888214/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/#.UEZus9WdHIU

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