Posted on Mon, 10 Dec 12
The American Academy of Pediatrics has published its first guidance on organic foods. Taken together, the report suggests organic foods may have both environmental and health benefits.
The guidance is meant to help healthcare professionals advise their patients on organic foods, here are some of the key points:
- Nutritional differences between organic and conventional produce appear minimal, but studies examining this have been limited by inadequate controls for the many subtle potential confounders, such as moisture, maturity of the produce, and measurement techniques.
- Organic produce contains fewer pesticide residues than does conventional produce, and consuming a diet of organic produce reduces human exposure to pesticides.
- Organic animal husbandry that prohibits the nontherapeutic use of antibiotic agents has the potential to reduce human disease caused by drug-resistant organisms.
- Organic farming approaches in practice are usually more expensive than conventional approaches, but in carefully designed experimental farms, the cost difference can be mitigated.
- The price differential between organic and conventional food might be reduced or eliminated as organic farming techniques advance and as the prices of petroleum products, such as pesticides and herbicides, as well as the price of energy, increase.
- Organic farming reduces fossil fuel consumption and reduces environmental contamination with pesticides and herbicides.
- Large prospective cohort studies that record dietary intake accurately and measure environmental exposures directly will likely greatly enhance understanding of the relationship between pesticide exposure from conventional foods and human disease and between consumption of meat from hormone-treated animals and the risk of breast cancer in women.
Forman J, Silverstein J; COMMITTEE ON NUTRITION; COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH. Organic foods: health and environmental advantages and disadvantages. Pediatrics. 2012 Nov;130(5):e1406-15.