Does Eating Organic Really Matter?

Guest post by Angelica Martins

Eating organic food has gained a lot of attention in recent years. What was once just a small subsection of our food supply has grown into a multi-million dollar business that offers a product most consumers just can’t seem to get enough of. Organic food is everywhere, and most people are willing to pay the extra bit of cash that comes with the price tag of most organic products.

The general idea is that eating organic food is a lot better for you than eating non-organic food. Is this true? Does eating organic really matter? Yes, for the most part this is true. Eating organic food is better for your health. As for if it matters or not, well that all depends on what you’re eating and what you want to put in your body.

What Makes Food Organic

Knowing what makes food organic will help you decide if it really matters or not to you. The Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) defines “organic” in the following way. It states that any fruit or vegetable that is labeled and sold as organic must be grown without using fertilizers or pesticides that are made with synthetic ingredients. They cannot undergo irradiation or oxidation treatments. Fertilizer must be completely natural (Miracle Grow is not natural), and seeds and clones must be free from chemicals.

Dairy and other animal products that are labeled and sold as organic cannot be given any antibiotics or growth hormones and can only be fed with organic feed. There are no medications given aside from vaccinations.

via Does Eating Organic Really Matter?.

Are Organic Vegetables More Nutritious After All? : The Salt : NPR

There may never be an end to arguments over whether organic food is more nutritious. But a new study is the most ambitious attempt so far to resolve the issue — and it concludes that organic fruit and vegetables offer a key benefit.

It’s a scientific reply to an analysis that some researchers at Stanford University published two years ago. That paper, which generated lots of media coverage and much controversy, reviewed more than 200 studies of organic and conventional food, and concluded that organic foods do not really offer any significant nutritional benefit.

This new analysis, from a group of scientists mostly based in Europe, crunched data from an even bigger pile of studies: 343 of them, carried out over the past several decades. It will be published Monday in the British Journal of Nutrition.

The new analysis repeats some of the Stanford group’s findings. It finds that organic and conventional vegetables offer similar levels of many nutrients, including minerals, vitamin C and vitamin E. Conventional crops are higher in protein. And there are fewer pesticide residues on organic foods, as you’d expect.

via Are Organic Vegetables More Nutritious After All? : The Salt : NPR.

Wal-Mart to push organic food into mainstream – chicagotribune.com

Wal-Mart aims to push organic foods into mainstream

Walmart announced the addition of Wild Oats brand organic food to be sold at the same price as it’s conventional counterparts.

By Jessica Wohl, Tribune reporter

Wal-Mart is trying to make organic food more accessible to its budget-conscious shoppers.

The nation’s largest retailer is making a bigger bet on the fast-growing category, teaming with Wild Oats to sell organic packaged food priced in line with conventional foods and at least 25 percent less than other organic brands it carries.

The effort by Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer and the largest seller of food in the United States, could have a ripple effect in the grocery industry. Cost has been one obstacle for many shoppers who say they would like to buy organic food but hold off because of typically higher prices.

Wal-Mart’s research showed that 91 percent of its shoppers would consider buying products from an affordable organic brand.

“We’re removing the premium associated with organic groceries,” said Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of the grocery division at Wal-Mart U.S.

The Wild Oats brand is probably familiar to many consumers who buy organic. It is the same brand as the chain of stores that Whole Foods acquired in 2007. Now, Wild Oats is relaunching as a line of foods focused on organic items such as tomato sauce, chicken broth and spices, with Wal-Mart as its only national retailer.

Sales of organic foods have soared in recent years, as more consumers pay attention to where their food comes from and try to eliminate exposure to chemicals and toxins. U.S. consumer sales of organic food products rose 10.8 percent, to $26.3 billion, in 2012, according to New Hope Natural Media’s Nutrition Business Journal.

Initial estimates suggest that sales grew about 11 percent in 2013. It forecasts that the organic food market will surpass $60 billion by 2020, with average annual growth of 10 to 12 percent from now through 2020, far outstripping that of conventional food.

The Wild Oats debut at Wal-Mart comes as mass-market retailers, including discount chains, groceries, convenience stores and warehouse clubs, accounted for 46 percent of U.S. organic food sales in 2012, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Natural and specialty retailers followed with 44 percent of sales.

The Wild Oats items will start out, as early as this month, in about 2,000 Wal-Mart stores, including some in the Chicago area, and should ultimately be in the more than 4,000 Wal-Mart stores across the country that sell groceries. They will also be sold on Wal-Mart’s website this summer.

via Wal-Mart to push organic food into mainstream – chicagotribune.com.

More Helpful Fatty Acids Found in Organic Milk – NYTimes.com

More Helpful Fatty Acids Found in Organic Milk

By KENNETH CHANG

The finding, published Monday in the journal PLOS One, is the most clear-cut instance of an organic food’s offering a nutritional advantage over its conventional counterpart. Studies looking at organic fruits and vegetables have been less conclusive.

Drinking whole organic milk “will certainly lessen the risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” said the study’s lead author, Charles M. Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“All milk is healthy and good for people,” he continued, “but organic milk is better, because it has a more favorable balance of these fatty acids” — omega-3, typically found in fish and flaxseed, versus omega-6, which is abundant in many fried foods like potato chips.

Under government requirements for organic labeling, dairy cows must spend a certain amount of the time in the pasture, eating grassy plants high in omega-3s; conventional milk comes from cows that are mostly fed corn, which is high in omega-6s. Nonorganic cows that graze in pastures also produce milk with greater amounts of omega-3s.

via More Helpful Fatty Acids Found in Organic Milk – NYTimes.com.

A Science Project With Legs – NYTimes.com

A Science Project With Legs

By STEPHANIE STROM

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

The average teenage boy is likely to have an interest in chicken only when it hits his dinner plate.

But after a trip to Israel for his sister’s bat mitzvah, Jack Millman came back to New York wondering whether the higher costs of kosher foods were justified.

“Most consumers perceive of kosher foods as being healthier or cleaner or somehow more valuable than conventional foods, and I was interested in whether they were in fact getting what they were paying for,” said Mr. Millman, 18 and a senior at the Horace Mann School in New York City.

That question started him on a yearlong research project to compare the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant E. coli bacteria on four types of chickens: those raised conventionally; organically; without antibiotics, and those slaughtered under kosher rules. “Every other week for 10 weeks, I would go and spend the entire Saturday buying chicken,” he said. “We had it specifically mapped out, and we would buy it and put it on ice in industrial-strength coolers given to us by the lab, and ship it out.”

All told, Mr. Millman and his mother, Ann Marks, gathered 213 samples of chicken drumsticks from supermarkets, butcher shops and specialty stores in the New York area.

Now they and several scientists have published a study based on the project in the journal F1000 Research. The results were surprising.

Almost twice as many of the kosher chicken samples tested positive for antibiotic-resistant E. coli as did the those from conventionally raised birds. And even the samples from organically raised chickens and those raised without antibiotics did not significantly differ from the conventional ones.

“I was pretty sure that blessings wouldn’t protect chicken from antibiotic resistance,” said Lance B. Price, a professor at George Washington University and an expert on antibiotic resistance who worked with Mr. Millman on the study. (They were introduced by Mr. Millman’s uncle, Bruce Hungate, a biology professor at Northern Arizona University, who suggested the project and is also listed as an author.)

“But it was a surprise to me,” Dr. Price continued, “that we found as much antibiotic-resistant E. coli in chicken that was organic and raised without antibiotics.”

The contamination does not mean the chicken is dangerous to eat. Generally, poultry is safe if handled carefully and cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, according to guidelines from the Agriculture Department.

About three-quarters of the antibiotics sold in this country are used in animal husbandry, primarily as feed additives, and concerns are growing about how the practice is contributing to rising antibiotic resistance.

Organic chicken is raised without antibiotics — at least from the time the chicks are two days old. But before that, they can be treated with antibiotics, and it is common for chicken breeders to inject eggs with antibiotics to prevent diseases and to administer antibiotics to chicks right after they hatch.

That might be one reason so much resistant E. coli was found on the organic chicken in the study, said Thomas B. Harding Jr., an organic farming consultant who reviewed the study at The New York Times’s request. Or the chicken might have been contaminated in processing, he said — a potential problem also identified in the study.

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, has tested thousands of samples of chicken for contamination and antibiotic resistance. “Over all, having an organic meat be resistant to one antibiotic is pretty common,” said Urvashi Rangan, the director of the consumer safety and sustainability group at Consumer Reports. “When we start to see resistance to multiple antibiotics, that’s when we would be concerned.”

Ms. Rangan agreed that the organic chicken in the sample might have been processed in facilities that also process conventional chicken. “Slaughter plants with split operations where someone didn’t properly clean a piece of equipment, things like that,” she said.

via A Science Project With Legs – NYTimes.com.

Wine Often Contains Surprising Chemicals And Additives – Prevention.com

By Lisa Elaine Held from Well+GoodNYC

While wine is never going to take the place of your daily green juice as a health tonic, it turns out there are better, cleaner bottles to sip and share with your holiday party hosts. And it’s only getting easier to find them.

“There’s definitely been an explosion of interest in natural, organic, and biodynamic wines, both from consumers and from wine bars, restaurants, and producers,” says Adam Morganstern, editor of Organic Wine Journal.

This interest naturally creates more choices for wine-lovers, since not only are more winemakers choosing to try healthier methods, but more producers are “coming out of the organic closet,” Morganstern explains. “A lot of the world’s top winemakers have already been organic, but they haven’t put it on their label because they were afraid it would scare consumers off. Now, they see it as a benefit.”

The problem? Tangled regulations and haphazard labeling systems make it difficult to determine what’s actually going on at a vineyard when you’re standing in a wine shop. So, we sat down with David Lillie, co-owner of New York’s Chambers Street Wines, a shop that prides itself on choosing wines made with lots of love and care and fewer toxic chemicals, who gave us these tips.

1. Understand what’s in the wine (and what isn’t). Just like with food, “natural,” as a category doesn’t mean much, says Lillie. But some small winemakers use it to distinguish themselves from commercial operations who use machine harvesting and lots of additives. “When grapes are broken with this [machine] method, they’re oxidizing and bacteria is growing on the way to the winery. So, later, there’s a large addition of sulfur dioxide to sterilize the wine,” explains Lillie.

Sulfur dioxide is considered unsafe for humans at a certain level, but how much you’re taking in depends on lots of factors. Commercial growers also tend to use more additives to create uniform flavor, like sugar, glycerin, and much more.

Another concern is residues from pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers, especially since a 2008 study showed significant residue levels in an array of bottles from Bordeaux. An organiccertification means the grapes must be grown without these chemicals, but it only regulates what happens in the vineyard, not in the cellar. (Although USDA organic also prohibits using added sulfur dioxide, EU regulations do not.) Finally, many wines are grown biodynamically, which takes organic a step further by eschewing chemicals and preserving the health of the soil.


2. Learn to read the label. 
A USDA organic certification label is easy to spot, so look for it. But many imported wines with healthy practices won’t have it. Ditto domestic, small vineyards with limited funds to apply for it. Other certification labels to look for: Demeter, Agriculture Biologique, EcoCert, and Nature et Progres. They all mean something slightly different, but universally signal cleaner wine.

3. Let someone else (you trust) pick for you. Sommeliers exist because sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t taste that hint of pear. So how do you expect to also detect sulfur dioxide levels and pesticide residue? Look for shops like Chambers Street Wines that have it in their charter to choose cleaner wines for you. Organic Wine Journal is making it even easier for you by launching City Guides that detail the shops, bars, and restaurants that do this.

In the end, your holiday hosts won’t just be healthier, they’ll be sipping happy. “The health issues are certainly there, but for us, anyway, it’s more of a taste issue than a health issue,” Lillie explains. “We’re looking at all of the different ways the wine is made, both in the vineyard and the cellar. It’s not that we just want it to be organic and biodymanmic because of the methods, it’s because in the end, it’s better wine.” —Lisa Elaine Held

Scientists cry fowl over the FDA’s regulatory failure: The Guardian

Chickens at a poultry farm in Brazil

Chickens at a poultry farm. Photograph: Orlando Kissner/AFP

In 2005, the antibiotic fluoroquinolone was banned by the FDA for use in poultry production. The reason for the ban was an alarming increase in antibiotic-resistant campylobacter bacteria in the meat of chickens and turkeys – “superbugs”, which can lead to a lethal form of meningitis that our current antibiotics are no longer effective against.

Antibiotic-resistant infections kill tens of thousands of people every year, more than die of Aids, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America. This problem is on the rise because antibiotics are recklessly overused, especially in the commercial livestock industry, where 80% of all antibiotics manufactured in the US end up.

Fluoroquinolone used to be fed to chickens primarily to stimulate their growth. But why did the banned substance show up recently in eight of 12 samples of “feather meal”, the ground-down plumage leftover from commercial poultry production?

Continue reading

ANOTHER organic benefits article…

I’m mostly posting it again because.. Human sludge??? I feel like there’s some new interesting (and sometimes disgusting) facts here.

organic foodA recent organic foods study out of Stanford University elicited news headlines like this: Organic Food No More Nutritious Than Non-OrganicStudy Questions How Much Better Organic Food Is, and Stanford Scientists Cast Doubt on Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce. Those headlines alone may make you wonder, “Is organic really worth it?”

While the study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, could sway some people to bypass the organic aisle during their next supermarket trip, critics of the study say it fails to address the huge public health perks associated with organic food. “The study highlighted the lack of nutritional differences between organic and conventional foods. We think this is a misleading framework for evaluating the benefits of organic foods,”explains Sonya Lunder, senior research analyst at Environmental Working Group, a consumer watchdog group focused on protecting human and environmental health. “The nutritional component is not the reason most consumers choose organic.”

See all of the nasty stuff you avoid when you choose organic…

1. Pesticides in the Food Chain
The facts: While not a main point of the Stanford study, researchers did conclude that organic food contained significantly lower levels of pesticide residues, something previous research suggests could help protect kids from autism and ADHD, among other ills. United States Department of Agriculture testing routinely finds pesticide residues considered unsafe for children on conventionally grown—not organic—produce samples, including apples, peaches, plums, pears, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and raisins. “Parents don’t want their children to serve as human guinea pigs for chemical corporations,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, director of farm and food policy for The Cornucopia Institute, an organic watchdog group.

The organic advantage: Eating organic coincides with a massive drop in disease-causing pesticides in your body. “The enormous benefit of eating organic produce is that it reduces pesticide exposure by 90 percent. This has been proven in studies conducted at Harvard, the University of Washington, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” explains pediatrician Phil Landrigan, MD, professor and chair of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. “Reduction of exposure to pesticides reduces risk of neurological injury and certain cancers. I advise my patients to choose organic whenever possible.”

2. Killer Superbug Infections
The facts: Antibiotic-resistant superbugs kill more than 90,000 people a year, with MRSA alone killing more people in American than AIDS. The overuse of antibiotics in farming helps spur the growth of these hard-to-kill and sometimes-fatal infections. Tests of supermarket meats routinely find superbug germs, meaning that improperly cooking the meat or failing to wipe off your countertop correctly could put you in a life-threatening situation.

The organic advantage: Antibiotic-resistant superbug germs are far less likely to be found on organic meat because organic bans the use of antibiotics. You’re more than 30 percent less likely to come in contact with superbugs in the meat supply when you choose organic.

3. Poisonous Rain
The facts: More than 17,000 pesticide products are on the market, yet the Environmental Protection Agency has required testing for less than 1 percent of the chemicals currently used in commerce. Even tiny amounts of America’s most popular weed killer glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, can damage DNA and kill cells, and have been linked to infertility and certain cancers. Farmers spray so much glyphosate that it’s taken up into the air and returns to the soil in chemical-laced rain, according to U.S. Geological Service research.

The organic advantage: Organic bans the use of chemical pesticides, keeping them not just out of your food, but also your community’s water, air, and rain.

4. Human Sewage Sludge
The facts: It’s perfectly legal for nonorganic farmers to douse human sewage sludge taken from municipal water treatment plants to fertilize nonorganic fields. The sludge could contain whatever morgues, residences, and industrial parks decide to put down the drain. Scientists have detected shampoo chemicals in nonorganic tomatoes and hypothesize that sewage sludge is partly to blame.

The organic advantage: Organic certification bans the use of sewage sludge. Organic fertilizing methods rely more on regulated compost or cover crops—plants grown during the off season and tilled or crimped back onto the soil.

5. GMOs
The facts: Scientists have never studied the long-term health effects of eating genetically engineered material, but that hasn’t stopped nonorganic farmers from planting GMO crops since the 1990s. Most GMOs are manipulated to withstand high doses of chemical pesticides—some of which wind up inside of the food we eat. Currently, up to 90 percent of nonorganic processed foods contain GMO material.

The organic advantage: Preliminary research suggests GMOs could be causing digestive disease, accelerated aging, obesity, and a rise in food allergies. Organic explicitly bans the use of GMOs.

6. The Drugged Meat Market
The facts: About 80 percent of all antibiotics used in this country go to feed conventional livestock because it not only prevents disease, but helps fatten the animals up faster. North Carolina livestock alone ingest more antibiotics annually than the entire U.S. human population. USDA researchers routinely detect antibiotics in meat, and new science suggests that could be making humans gain weight, too.

The organic advantage: Organic bans the use of antibiotics. It also bans the use of feeding animal byproducts to livestock, and requires that farm animals eat food grown without pesticides and GMO seeds.

7. Freaky Food Additives
The facts: Conventional processed foods are little packaged science experiments, and your family members are guinea pigs. We could be paying a big price for flashy foods—certain food dyes are linked to brain cell damage and ADHD.

The organic advantage: Instead of using chemicals derived from petrochemicals, organic manufacturers often turn to natural colorants like beet juice.

8. Unstable Food Prices
The facts: The worst drought to hit America in a half decade is decimating U.S. crops, particularly corn, causing unstable food prices. Although chemically dependent GMO crops are advertised as being drought tolerant, researchers have found that adding chemicals to the soil actually makes it harder for plants to get through extended dry periods unscathed.

The organic advantage: Long-term experiments at the Rodale Institute, an organic research farm in Pennsylvania, found that, during normal weather, organic and conventional farming produce about the same amount of food [Editor’s note: Rodale is the publisher of Women’s Health]. But when weather starts to act up, organic wins out, producing 30 percent more in years of drought. That’s because organic soil is alive with beneficial bacteria, and the soil acts like a sponge to hold water in reserve during drought. (The healthy soil also helps prevent flooding.)

Truth About A New Study Questioning Organics’ Value – Prevention.com

(Another) article about organics vs that recent study.

Are Organics A Waste Of Money?

The skinny on a controversial new study

By Leah Zerbe

Is organic better? Many consumers swear by it but a team of Stanford researchers made headlines recently with their finding that, after looking at data from 250 studies, there wasn’t a big difference in nutrient levels of organic and conventional food. The media jumped on it, flooding the news with headlines like, Organic Food Is Just A Crock and Organic Foods No Better For You.

But the research, published in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine, is facing strong criticism from experts who say studies that fail to look at the big picture  end up confusing people—rather than helping them make healthy choices.

“Nutrition studies miss the point,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, director of farm and food policy for The Cornucopia Institute, an organic watchdog group. “Consumers should not lose sight of the important impacts of organic agriculture, which produces foods without the use of toxic pesticides that have been linked to an array of health problems, including ADHD in children and cancer.”

Here’s what the study did find to support the argument for eating organic:

It can reduce infections. Choosing organic meat, particularly organic pork and chicken, reduces your risk of coming in contact with potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant super-germs by more than 30%.

Organics reduce your exposure to pesticides. Organic produce was shown to have a 30% lower risk of contamination with pesticides than conventional produce. “A growing body of evidence suggests that dietary exposures to pesticides, particularly neurotoxic insecticides, causes lasting damage to developing fetuses and young children,” says Sonya Lunder, a senior research analyst at Environmental Working Group, an environmental and human health watchdog group.

Organic milk is a smart choice. Organic milk contained more heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Produce that’s organically grown is healthier. Organic produce boosted higher levels of cancer-preventing micronutrients known as plant phenols.

And here’s what the study missed:

GMO threats: The study didn’t include potential health impacts of eating genetically engineered material commonly found in nonorganic food, particularly processed foods. The jury’s still out on the safety of GMOs in the food supply due to a lack of long-term studies, but preliminary research suggests it could be linked to a whole host of health concerns, such as digestive diseases and food allergies.

The true cost of conventional agriculture: US farmers spray so many pesticides—particularly glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup—that it’s now evaporating and raining back down on us. Glyphosate is implicated in hormone disruption, infertility, and cell damage. Scientists don’t know yet how such widespread exposure is affecting humans, or what the ultimate environmental and human health toll will be.

Processed food threats: Organic processed foods are free of questionable artificial sweeteners, food dyes, and chemical preservatives that have been linked to everything from ADHD, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome to brain cell damage, autism, and obesity.

Bottom line: Don’t let catchy headlines fool you into forgoing organics. See the Top 10 Reasons To Go Organic and What To Buy Organic—And What To Skip.

via Truth About A New Study Questioning Organics’ Value – Prevention.com.

Don’t give up on organic food, our experts urge

Don’t give up on organic food, our experts urge

Sep 5, 2012 10:30 AM

A new review of previous research on organic food is getting a lot of media attention for concluding that the published literature “lacks strong evidence” that organic food is significantly more nutritious than conventionally grown food. But news reports covering the findings may be oversimplifying or distorting what the study really found, according to our in-house experts, and consumers shouldn’t be misled into believing that there isn’t a benefit to paying more for organics, particularly for certain populations.

The review, conducted by researchers at Stanford University, was a meta-analysis of data from 240 studies comparing organically grown versus conventionally grown food. Seventeen of the studies were done in humans; the rest looked just at the foods themselves. The researchers looked at three main variables: health outcomes, nutrient levels, and levels of contaminants, including pesticide residues. They concluded that “the published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods,” though consuming them “may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

But the study has serious limitations, several of which the authors acknowledge. Among them:

The analysis included plenty of studies that did find a nutritional benefit to eating organic food, such as higher levels of phosphorous and phenols (a type of antioxidant compound) in organic produce and more omega-3 fatty acids in organic milk and chicken. Some other studies weren’t able to identify a benefit, meaning the findings overall were heterogeneous, or mixed—which is very different from “no benefit” across the board.

Only three of the 17 human studies in the analysis looked at health outcomes, and two of those focused on allergies in children—an odd metric for comparing organic to conventional diets, since there’s no reason that organic diets should correlate with fewer allergies. “That isn’t part of what organic food production even is and it isn’t surprising to learn there may not be any difference” in the rates of allergies between children who eat organically and those who don’t, says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of consumer safety and sustainability for Consumer Reports, adding that it was interesting that the authors also found one study that did suggest a benefit, for childhood eczema.

It could take many years for the cumulative effects of pesticide buildup in the body from eating conventionally grown food to show up. Cancer risks, for example, are calculated over long periods of exposure to carcinogens. The human studies in the Stanford analysis lasted at most two years.

The study downplays the importance of the prohibition of antibiotics in organic agriculture, which can help counter the serious public-health problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Such bacteria have increased greatly in prevalence in recent years, possibly due to the routine use of antibiotics in conventionally raised farm animals. Indeed, the meta-analysis determined that conventionally produced chicken and pork had a 33 percent higher risk for bacteria that’s known to be resistant to at least three antibiotics.

The perception of better nutrition is only one reason that people might choose to eat organically. Even if the research in that area remains murky, it’s clear that organic diets provide less exposure to pesticides and antibiotics, two potential safety benefits, and that organic agriculture is better for the environment. A nationally representative poll of Americans conducted by Consumer Reports earlier this year found that 86 percent want their local supermarkets to carry meat raised without antibiotics, and the majority said they’d be willing to pay extra for that feature.

“Organic was meant as a healthier way of farming that is good for the environment—and that has been proven true,” Rangan says. “Fewer pesticides and antibiotics, 100% organic animal feed (which cannot have poultry litter and other animal byproducts), hygiene management on the farm: These are all healthier practices for the environment and in some cases, humans too. In fact, we are learning more and more about the benefits that organic farming and sustainable agricultural practices can have on the health of people.”

Bottom line: We stand by our long-held advice. It’s worth it to buy organic versions of the foods that are likely to have the highest levels of pesticides when grown conventionally, as well as organic poultry and milk, to reduce exposure to antibiotics. Those choices are especially important for pregnant women and children.

via Don’t give up on organic food, our experts urge.