Jul 30, 2009 6:45 AM GMT
Ben HirschelerLONDON (Reuters) - Organic food has no nutritional or health benefits over ordinary food, according to a major study published Wednesday.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said consumers were paying higher prices for organic food because of its perceived health benefits, creating a global organic market worth an estimated $48 billion in 2007.
A systematic review of 162 scientific papers published in the scientific literature over the last 50 years, however, found there was no significant difference.
"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," said Alan Dangour, one of the report's authors.
"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."
The results of research, which was commissioned by the British government's Food Standards Agency, were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Sales of organic food have fallen in some markets, including Britain, as recession has led consumers to cut back on purchases.
The Soil Association said in April that growth in sales of organic products in Britain slowed to just 1.7 percent in 2008, well below the average annual growth rate of 26 percent over the last decade, following a plunge in demand at the end of the year.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that I believe most people went for the organic craze (and still are) because of it natural growth process that is devoid of chemicals and gene alteration. I know that I for one eat organic because we support local Illinois farms and their product is good and wholesome. Buying limes, green peppers, onions, carrots, etc... from Wal-mart just never appealed to me, but I understand the budgetary concerns most consumers have. I guess I never looked at organic as healthier just less mass-produced. Maybe I am still naive but the study isn't shocking for me.