USA Today Article on Organics No Better Than Conventional is Misleading


Here’s an article in USA Today that does a disservice to its readers. The title states that a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds no nutritional edge to organics over non-organic food.

The two authors reviewed and compiled the results of 17 earlier studies in humans and 233 studies in foods to see if there were more nutrients in organic or more allergies if you didn’t eat them. In these areas, there were no significant differences.

But what about pesticides? USA Today reported that only 7% of organic foods had detectable pesticide residue compared with 38% of conventional produce. They go on to say that only three studies found pesticide residue that exceeded maximum allowed limits in the European Union on organic or conventional produce.

This to me is an absolutely ridiculous way to look at the data. They are telling you that it’s OK to regularly eat more than 5 times the pesticides on a regular basis.

Then they go on to say that the organic food likely has pesticide levels even though none are used because the soil retains pesticides and the pesticides are already in the soil.

Think about it. If there is pesticide in the soil that doesn’t go away and it stays there so it seeps into organic food in low levels, what do you think is happening to your body from constantly eating over 5 times the pesticide level?

Exactly, it is going to stay in your body and accumulate in levels that can and likely will lead to disease.

To me, this headline sensationalized to suggest that organic cost more but not worth it is a disservice to its readers. It’s contributing to the huge challenge we face in getting people the information they need to stay well.

If you are going to eat non-organic, then learn about the dirty dozen – the 12 foods with the highest pesticide levels and buy non-organic only if they are in the clean 15 – those foods found to have the lowest pesticide levels.

“The Dirty Dozen” list includes:

domestic blueberries
sweet bell peppers
spinach, kale and collard greens
imported grapes

All the produce on “The Clean 15” bore little to no traces of pesticides, and is safe to consume in non-organic form. This list includes:

sweet corn
sweet peas
kiwi fruit
sweet potatoes
sweet onions


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