“Here’s an important thing to remember: Our food choices don’t just affect us, but entire communities.” – AlterNet.com
“The interwebs were soon full of headlines talking down the benefits of organic foods. “Stanford Scientists Cast Doubt on Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce,” the NY Times announced, as reporter Kenneth Chang pointed out that pesticide residues on industrially grown fruits and vegetables are ‘almost always under the allowed safety limits.’ CBS news , running the AP story on the Stanford study, informed readers: ‘Organic food hardly healthier, study suggests.’
“Organic agriculture advocates were quick with their rebuttals. The Environmental Working Group put out a press release playing up the researchers’ findings that organic produce has less pesticide residue. Charles Benbrook, a professor of agriculture at Washington State University and former chief scientist at The Organic Center , wrote a detailed critique you can find here. Benbrook noted that the Stanford study didn’t include data from the USDA and US EPA about pesticide residue levels. He also pointed out that the researchers’ definition of “significantly more nutritious” was a little squishy.
“Is this the last word on the nutritional benefits of organic foods? Hardly. As Benbrook said, in the coming years improved measurement methods will hopefully allow for better comparisons of food nutritional quality. (You can find an Earth Island Journal cover story on this very issue here.)”