Consumers have been debating the costs versus benefits of organic produce for a while, now.

  The controversy extends to the scientific community, too. Research results vary widely. Some studies conclude that benefits, if any, are minimal. Others are far more positive. No wonder it’s possible to get scientific data to support either side of the argument!

  So much research has produced mixed results that some researchers are now comparing the studies. They are evaluating data on nutritional and public health aspects, like antioxidants, pesticide residues and incidents of heavy metal contamination.

 Even meta-analyses or comparison studies, can reach differing conclusions, but a recent article in the “British Journal of Nutrition” has come out forcefully on the side of organic produce.

   Researchers from Britain, the U.S., Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland,France and Switzerland rigorously examined 343 scientific publications comparing organically and conventionally produced food. The goal was to see whether the data led to a definitive conclusion.

  They found no significant differences in protein between the two methods but organic-produced food frequently had higher levels of antioxidant compounds. These chemicals appear to be protective against some chronic diseases, benefit cardiac health and possibly diminish cancer risk.

  Not surprisingly, organic food contained fewer pesticide residues, since conventional insecticides, herbicides or fungicides are prohibited. In an organic garden insects are controlled mechanically and biologically, with acceptable insecticides used as a last resort. Weeds and plant diseases are treated the same way.

  Finally, they found that there were lower levels of the toxic heavy metal, cadmium.

  It appears there are significant benefits to food produced organically. In other words, the answer to the question above is “Yes, I think so.”


Angela O’CallaghanDesert Gardening