TORONTO - A new review of the literature on organic produce finds no evidence that organically produced foods are nutritionally superior to regularly produced food.
The study appearing this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition identified a total of 162 relevant articles published over a 50-year period, with 55 of them of satisfactory quality for further analysis.
In terms of nutrient content, the researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found organically and conventionally produced foods are comparable in their nutrient content.
The study, the largest systemic review of its kind, was commissioned and funded by the U.K. Food Standards Agency.
The review focused only on nutritional content of the food, and didn't look at the content of contaminants or chemical residues in foods from the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The lack of chemical residues is one of the main benefits to consumers cited by producers and proponents of organic foods.
Alan Dangour, one of the report's authors, says a small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance.
"Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority," he said in a statement.
"Research in this area would benefit from great scientific rigour and a better understanding of the various factors that determine the nutrient content of foodstuffs."