There is much more evidence to support the benefits of a healthy balanced diet, which includes plenty of plant-based foods, regardless of whether these foods are organic or not. “The science is complicated,” says Robert Percival, its head of food and health policy. “A strong body of science now shows organic food is nutritionally different. How that translates to health benefits is less certain. More research is needed.” Organic September – a month-long campaign that seeks to promote organic food in the UK – is upon us.

There was no difference detected for iron, copper, cadmium, lycopene or Vitamins A and E. In essence, it’s an holistic approach which is all about working with nature, rather than against it. Healthy wildlife populations help control pests; organic farmers encourage birds, beetles and other beneficial insects on to their farms to eat pests like aphids, slugs and caterpillars. Crop rotations and careful choice of crop breeds lower the risk of plant disease. The findings by research company Nielsen showed that organic food and drink sales grew by 6.1 per cent – almost double the 3.2 per cent growth of non-organic food and drink products – in the year ending May 2020. So now we’ve explained what organic foods are and how they’re classed as being organic.

  • These sorts of reviews use set criteria which potential studies must meet to be included, covering appropriate study design, population, intervention or exposure, and outcomes assessed.
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  • In conventional animal rearing, antibiotics are used prophylactically, to prevent disease and infection.

Always evidence based and factual, Maeve creates material that is relevant and very readable. Maeve is a beacon of high quality knowledge and work within the nutrition writing community; and someone NHD magazine is proud to work with. The research found organic farms were linked to higher weed diversity, and provides habitats for bees, birds and other wildlife. Generally, according to the IFST, organic food must meet criteria that places “greater emphasis on environmental protection and more attention to biodiversity”.

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Think of switching to organic coconut oil – it’s the most fantastically versatile product. And a full store cupboard means you’ll always have something to hand to throw together a delicious meal without hunting around the food aisles for sometimes scarce organic essentials. According to the Environmental Working Group, the average potato contains more pesticides by weight than any other produce. 54 pesticide residues are reportedly found on spinach; many of which are neurotoxic and toxic to honeybees. Most of them are believed to be hormone disruptors, neurotoxins and toxic to reproductive health. Meanwhile, 40%+ other pesticide residues are reportedly found on strawberries, with some reportedly being carcinogenic, hormone disruptive, neurotoxic and toxic to honey bees.

When’s the last time you looked at your laundry detergent or cleaning product’s ingredient list? Eating local produce during the right UK season is a great way to keep costs down. Foods, such as organic pasta, canned tomatoes, beans, grains and pulses, are easily found for the same price as non-organic items. According to the Environmental Working Group, one cherry tomato alone contains 13 different pesticides. According to the Dirty Dozen list, cherry toms contain 69 different pesticide residues.

Buy the fruits and vegetables that fit your budget, your dietary needs and your cooking habits. The UK organic market may be growing steadily, but this seems to be tied to an increasing desire for awareness of what goes on in the supply chain at large. Bray recommends online resources such as Eat Farm Now, the Soil Association, and LEAF to learn more about how farming methods impact the foods we eat. She also encourages curious consumers to take advantage of opportunities to visit farms, whether by enquiry or during events like Open Farm Sunday. Obviously there are other reasons, besides nutrition, that may make people choose organic food, such as concern for the environment.

Overall Impact On Health

So although there are lots of good environmental reasons to eat organic food, there isn’t much evidence of an increased benefit to your health. If it’s maximum nutrition you’re after your best bet might be to reach into the freezer compartment. The reason for the discrepancy in findings is because non-organic dairy cows are routinely given synthetic iodine supplements, something prohibited by organic legislation. Instead, it’s been suggested that organic farmers should give their cows organic seaweed as part of their daily diet. This is because seaweed is packed with natural iodine and would help to ensure that organic milk is not nutritionally inferior. Furthermore, there is growing evidence from profiling organic consumers, e.g., in Germany or France , of significantly different dietary choices made by such groups, specifically more healthful choices.

For something to be organically certified, only organic pesticides are allowed. The EU organic logo, for instance, can only be used when 95 per cent of ingredients in a product meet these standards. Organic products can still use GMOs and synthetic materials when there are no other suitable options available For example, synthetically-made medicine can be used for a sick or injured animal which needs urgent treatment . However, this can’t be used to prevent disease, and alternative medicine approaches are preferred in organic farming – including herbal medicine and homeopathy . In some countries organic products differ because they aren’t produced using hormones and antibiotics, and cattle are more likely to be grass-fed.