For those of you who read The Washington Post article “Is organic better for your health?” published on April 7 and were concerned about how the editorial missed several studies supporting the health benefits of organic, you’re not alone!
The Organic Center’s response points out that the conclusions this article makes about the lack of differences in health benefits between organic and conventional are misguided. The nutritional advantages of organic versus conventional dairy and produce based on large-scale literature reviews and meta-analyses are dismissed without looking at well-constructed research targeting specific crops and benefits. Also, the article glossed over the multitude of studies showing the health problems associated with pesticide exposure and the dangers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and how organic animal products can help prevent such exposure. Here are a few highlights worth noting:
When it comes to the benefits of organic dairy products, omega fatty acids play more of a role than this article suggests.
Unfortunately, the produce section of the article lumps too many fruit and vegetable categories together to give a true overview of the nutritional differences between organic and conventional. To truly examine nutritional quality variations between farming systems, specific products need to be compared.
This article also strikes out on the importance of avoiding pesticides. It does cite research showing that eating organic will decrease exposure to pesticides, but does not give proper weight to the health benefits of reduced pesticide exposure. Read our full response showing why eating organic produce is beneficial for your health.
Meat, eggs and dairy
One area glossed over is the avoidance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Organic production prohibits the use of antibiotics, thus decreasing the development of antibiotic resistance. For those of you following the hot science covered on our website, you know that the agricultural use of antibiotics is a public safety risk!
The Washington Post article touches on some interesting topics, but misses the simple answer to the question: “Is organic better for your health?” The answer is YES! Read our full response to learn more about why.