The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Study Finds No Benefit to Organic Food

It’s a familiar dilemma for supermarket shoppers: If I buy the organic meat or veggies at nearly twice the price of the regular fare, what am I getting for my money?

A group of researchers at Stanford has an answer: nothing. In a study comparing organic foods to their conventional counterparts over four decades, researchers found that organic food is neither more nutritious nor safer than other foods. Organic produce does have a lower pesticide content, but both varieties fell well within safety guidelines. The New York Times reports:

[The researchers] concluded that fruits and vegetables labeled organic were, on average, no more nutritious than their conventional counterparts, which tend to be far less expensive. Nor were they any less likely to be contaminated by dangerous bacteria like E. coli.

The researchers also found no obvious health advantages to organic meats.

Of course, one study, however thorough, does not suffice to answer a complicated scientific question. But one thing is certain: the benefits of organic food, if any, cannot be called “settled science.”

Between useless organic produce and killer reusable shopping bags, the greens are striking out at the supermarket this year.

Published on September 4, 2012 12:24 pm