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Organic vs Conventional foods: Part 3 – Safer for you?

Posted on December 30th, 2012 by Stephen Hardy | No Comments | Print | RSS

In the first part of this blog (3) we looked at the argument over the Stanford study (1) on whether organic foods are healthier or safer for you than their conventional alternatives. Four key claims were made:

  1. Organically produced foods are no more nutritious for you than those produced using conventional agricultural methods.
  2. Organically grown produce does have higher levels of certain nutrients than conventionally grown foods.
  3. Organic produce has less pesticide contamination than conventionally grown crops.
  4. Organic foods contain less antibiotic-resistant bacteria than do conventionally grown foods.

In the second part of this blog (6), we looked at the first of these categories: ‘Healthier for you’ – points 1. and 2. on this list – and discovered how difficult a question it was to answer. In this, the final part of this blog, we will look at the last claim made for the Stanford study: Organic food is safer for you. These are points 3. and 4. on the above list.

While it is very difficult to say organic food is healthier for you, we are on much firmer ground when asking whether it is safer for you. Here the evidence is much clearer and the interpretation much easier and cleaner.

Before going into the discussion however I need to give you a glimpse into a day in the life of a scientist.

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