Friday, September 05, 2008

Organic vs. conventionally grown produce

I always recommend avoiding fruits and vegetables grown with pesticides--especially for children. Studies have linked the consumption of produce treated with pesticides to birth defects, neuroblastoma (an increasingly common brain cancer), leukemia in children, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, among other health problems. Children are especially susceptible because they eat 2 to 4 times more produce than adults relative to their body weight and exposure occurs as their organs and bones are still growing.

Organic produce is better nutritionally as well. Studies published by the Organic Center ( found higher antioxidant levels in organic produce and some research suggests that they maybe higher in vitamins A and E as well.

Many people feel they can't afford to buy all organic food. If you have to pick and choose, check out the lists put out by the Environmental Working Group ( They have a list of the "dirty dozen" (conventional crops with the highest pesticide levels). These are the ones to be sure to buy organic. They also provide a list of "consistenly clean" produce--foods with the lowest pesticide levels that don't necessarily have to buy organic.

Dirty Dozen

Sweet bell peppers
Grapes (imported)

Consistently Clean

Sweet corn (frozen)
Sweet peas (frozen)


Henry said...

On behalf of The Organic Center, we appreciate Cathe's Blog for its coverage of important topics around organic food and farming, health, sustainability and social responsibility.

Also, we appreciate Cathe's Blog's periodic coverage of The Organic Center’s work and resources in organic food and farming research and education.

A Mission of Organic Food and Farming Research and Education
Our mission is to advance peer-reviewed, verifiable scientific research and information behind the human health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming--and to communicate those benefits to society.

Among Our Key Findings
• Nutrition - “Average levels of 11 key nutrients are 25% higher in organic foods compared to conventional foods, based on 236 scientifically valid comparisons.” Source: New Evidence Confirms the Nutritional Superiority of Plant-based Organic Foods, State of Science Review, March 2008.
• Antioxidants - “Eating organic produce and organic processed fruits and vegetables will increase your antioxidant intake by about 30 percent over conventionally grown produce.” Source: Elevating Antioxidant Levels in Food through Organic Farming and Food Processing, State of Science Review, January 2005.
• Taste – “Organic produce is often judged tastier…than conventional produce. Organic apples store better and are tastier than conventional apples.” Source: “Do Organic Fruits and Vegetables Taste Better than Conventional Fruits and Vegetables, State of Science Review, December 2006.
• Pesticides - “The average child in America is exposed to five pesticides daily in their food and drinking water. In fact, switching to an organic diet for just five days virtually eliminates any sign of exposure to organophosphate insecticides among school-age children.” Source: Successes and Lost Opportunities to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Pesticides Since the Mid-1990s,” Critical Issues Report, August 2006.
• Energy - “Organic corn production requires 30 percent less energy per bushel harvested, compared to conventional agriculture.” Source: Impacts of Organic Farming on the Efficiency of Energy Use in Agriculture, State of Science Review, September 2006.

Information Resources Available
• Download all of our scientific studies at no cost at
• Subscribe to our free e-newsletter, The Scoop, a monthly digest of the latest global organic research. Sign up at
• Read Core Truths, an illustrated coffee-table book and compendium of research conducted by the Center.
• Download a free Pocket Guide, Organic Essentials, to learn how to reduce dietary exposure to toxic pesticides.
• View our new educational video, Serious Science, Serious Benefits, at
• Visit our new weblog at

Why Support The Organic Center?
As a nonprofit, tax-deductible 501c3 organization, we rely on the financial support of individuals, businesses and foundations. As such, we appeal to you for your financial contribution. To make a donation, please visit, or contact The Organic Center at tel 303.499.1840.

Become a friend of The Organic Center!
Donate $100 and receive a free Core Truths book!

Thank you again and yours in health,

Henry Driftmier
Research Associate
The Organic Center

Cathe Olson said...

Thanks for the additional information.

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