Organic fruits and vegetables show significantly higher levels of antioxidants than their conventionally
grown counterparts, according to findings published by researchers at the University of California at Davis.
Organic fruits and vegetables have only a third as many pesticide residues as their conventionally grown
counterparts, according to a study by Consumers Union (CU) and the Organic Materials Review Institute.
- In the study, researchers led by food scientist Alyson Mitchell compared the antioxidant levels in corn,
strawberries and marionberries grown organically, sustainably (using fertilizer but no herbicides or
pesticides) and conventionally.
- Antioxidant levels in sustainably grown corn were 58.5 percent higher than conventionally grown corn, while organically and
sustainably grown marionberries had approximately 50 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown berries.
- Sustainably and organically grown strawberries had about 19 percent more antioxidants than their conventional
counterparts. The findings were published in the Feb. 26, 2003, print edition of the American Chemical Society
peer-reviewed Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
- The study also showed sustainably grown and organic produce had more ascorbic acid, which the body converts to vitamin C.
Source: "Comparison of the Total Phenolic and Ascorbic Content of Freeze-Dried and Air-Dried Marionberry, Strawberry, and Corn Grown
Using Conventional, Organic, and Sustainable Agricultural Practices," D.K. Asami, Y.-J. Hong, D.M. Barrett, and A.E.
Mitchell, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51(5):1,237-1,241 (2003).
- Study findings are based on pesticide residue data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, from tests conducted on foods
sold in California by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and from tests by Consumers Union. Data covered more than
94,000 food samples from more than 20 crops, with 1,291 of the samples organically grown.
- USDA data showed 73 percent of conventionally grown foods sampled had residue from at least one pesticide, while only
23 percent of organically grown samples of the same crops had any residues.
- When residues of persistent, long-banned organochlorine insecticides such as DDT were excluded from the analysis, organic
samples with residues dropped from 23 to 13 percent. More than 90 percent of USDA's samples of conventionally grown apples,
peaches, pears, strawberries and celery had residues.
- The California data found residues in 31 percent of the conventional food, and 6.5 percent of the organic products. Tests by the
Consumers Union, meanwhile, found residues on 79 percent of conventionally grown samples and 27 percent on the organic products. Source:
Food Additives and Contaminants, May 8, 2002. Also, see http://www.omri.org/.