The Buzz: Non-organic produce is as safe as organic produce?|
What They’re Saying: Organic fruits and vegetables aren’t any safer than conventional, more affordable produce.
What We Know
Whether organic or conventionally grown, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has positive health benefits. Decades of scientific studies in nutrition and toxicology continue to show that the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables outweigh any risks. Our Fruits, Vegetables, and Health: A Scientific Overview, 2011 describes the multiple positive effects a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has on the human body. Among this information is new data that suggests diets rich in fruits and vegetables have positive effects on aging, cognitive function, and eye health among other mechanisms. This is regardless of conventional or organic growing methods.
How Do We Know This?
An Expert Panel Report commissioned by the Alliance for Food & Farming reviewed the claim made by special interest groups that organically grown produce is safer and more nutritionally beneficial than conventionally grown produce. What the panel found is that there is no current scientific data convincing enough to support this claim.1
Toxicologists agree that the presence of residue on produce doesn’t mean that it’s harmful. In fact, this pesticide residue calculator suggests that a woman could consume 219 servings of blueberries in one day without any effect from pesticide residues. This is true even if the blueberries contain the highest amount of pesticide residue recorded for blueberries by the USDA.2
Don’t forget to wash all produce before consuming it! Whether organic or conventional, all fruits and vegetables should be washed. Washing them under running tap water removes any dirt, bacteria or pesticides that may remain on the skin or rind. Remember to wash even the fruits and vegetables with rinds or skins that aren’t eaten. For example, cutting an unwashed cantaloupe in half may transmit bacteria on the rind into the flesh of the fruit. Washing it beforehand will prevent this.
Organic produce may not be within your current budget. As a consumer, you should feel confident in the safety and nutritional benefits of conventionally grown produce.
1Fenner-Crisp, Penny, Carl L. Keen, Jason Richardson, Rudy Richardson, et al. A Review of the Science on the Potential Health Effects of Pesticide Residues on Food and Related Statements Made By Special Interest Groups. Rep. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2012. http://www.safefruitsandveggies.com:7080/sites/default/files/expert-panel-report.pdf.
2“Should I Be Worried about Pesticide Residues?” Safe Fruits and Veggies : Calculator. Alliance for Food and Farming, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. http://www.safefruitsandveggies.com/calculator/.
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