Navigation - link to other main sections from here

What peer reviewed journal was this study published in? I do not see one sited.

Sam, Chicago, USA

It always amuses me that the people championing organically-produced food are always, virtually without exception, the same mystic mumbo-jumbo peddlers and new-agers - the snake-oil sellers with their petulant rejection of the need for scientific evidence to prove their claims - as evidenced by all of the anecdotes based on personal experience in the above comments.

Next they will be trying to tell us that homeopathy, reflexology and reiki work!

Oh, yes, they already are.

Where is the evidence - no really, where IS it?

Dave Berry, Liverpool, UK

Whatever the opinion's are about the most beneficial and nutritious methods of growing food be it by experts or otherwise an important fact is that the residue from chemical spraying remains in the fibres of that food sprayed.
Doubters of proper organically grown food should take the time and read "The Secret Life of Plants" by P.Tompkins and C Bird.

G.Crabb, Coomba Bay, NSW Australia

The USDA plans to nuke all our raw produce to make it safer. What do you suppose THAT will do to the "superiority" of our organic produce? Seems our government would rather have us keep Big Pharma and Big Medicine in business.

Su, Belfast, USA/NY

They are trying to make supplements illegal. If they find out that organic food makes folks healthy and possibly live longer, it will be banned next! Everyone needs to know about codex alimentarius! And how to easily grow your own food with square foot gardening.

kw, Virginia

Kathleen, Amherst, Virginia

If anyone cares to judge for himself, the degree to which organic food advocates are lacking in basic science and open-mindedness, simply observe how they have dismissed out of hand all of the hundreds of studies finding absolutely no superiority of organic food over conventional food, whether safety, taste or nutritional benefit... claiming the results were biased, or invalid, or in need of confirmation, or the end result of vast conspiracy... and then leap on the occasional positive study with the instant and unqualified conclusion that, "It's official: organic really is better."

Talk about a blind bias. Talk about a double standard. This explains why Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace stated, "Organic is not based more on beliefs than facts -- it's a religion, not a science."

Michael Downey, Toronto, Canada

If anyone cares to judge for himself, the degree to which organic food advocates are lacking in basic science and open-mindedness, simply observe how they have dismissed out of hand all of the hundreds of studies finding absolutely no superiority of organic food over conventional food, whether safety, taste or nutritional benefit... claiming the results were biased, or invalid, or in need of confirmation, or the end result of vast conspiracy... and then leap on the occasional positive study with the instant and unqualified conclusion that, "It's official: organic really is better."

Talk about a blind bias. Talk about a double standard. This explains why Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace stated, "Organic is based more on beliefs than facts -- it's a religion, not a science."


Michael Downey, Toronto, Canada

Please, no more nonsense about all food being organic. By that def from chemistry, gasoline is organic, too. Drink up!
Lucky Sacramentans have an organic Co-op, but I daily see Americans wolfing down garbage, some imagining govt pols protect us from corporations that finance them, others (often smokers) shrugging miseries off as inevitable, so why bother? Some of you are doing better than that-- don't let that benefit erode! Keep the UK and the EU honest, and support ecological efforts by otherwise venal pols just as long as their acts match their words. (Sarkozy comes to mind.)
As for needy 3rd world nations, I recall a study showing all African nations but Mauritania could feed themselves, but have heard the World Bank piper and stressed you! And numerous studies of famine that coexisted with a thriving food export trade.
I haven't read all comments; maybe one had the tired line that local uses more energy than NZ imports. Yeah...and I'll let you buy that bridge cheap!

P E, Sacramento CA, US

I could use a copy of the study, too!

How much sense does it make to realize that plants can only manufacture nutrients when they have the raw materials (the correct minerals) with which to do so? No minerals in the soil = no vitamins in the plants. Wow, is that hard to grasp? Did they think to convince us that the plants magically sucked those minerals out of the air? We aren't all that gullible; we knew all along that organic was better, at least as long as the farming methods continue to put all of the trace elements back.

Lorri, Washington state,

agnes, you're awesome!

c, ny,

I write about organic foods and other products - I'd love to get a copy of the study - do you know where I can get one? Thanks.

Barbara Gee, Portsmouth, RI, USA

Does anyone know where I can get a copy of this study?

Ashvin, Auckland, New Zealand

People must eat what supermarkets sale; it is too risky for the business to say that this food is very bad - even toxic and it cause serious disease. So instead of warning people about the danger of eating this food is better to say how much the organic food is not even mentioning that organic food is free from sprays and deadly azotes and hundred of others ingredients that non-organic food is full of and cause all the allergics and obesity, cancer, alzheimer and many more health problems…
Do not think that everyone believes in this propaganda in the everyday news and paper which is carefully prepared to manipulate us - not every one.

Agnes, London,

The best tasting food, I find, comes from my garden, allotment, and the local feral apple trees. No food miles either.
On the chemicals: no plant wants its roots, stem, leaves etc eaten. The exception is the ripe fruit. So they add defences - thistles have prickles and tough leaves, nettles have stings, other plants toxins. So us eating bread daily, 365 days a year; similarly potatoes, tea, coffee etc, is enough to drive anyone to the medics with problems. We don't get chance to clear out.
Anyway, next time you're eating an apple in the countryside, toss the core into a good home. It stands a chance of developing into something new and delicious.

Anthony, Northwicy, UK

Having been a weekly recipient of Abel & Cole's fabulous foods and products for the past year I can honestly say that the choice, service and quality of the produce, from vegetables, fruit, dairy, breads, fish and meat products are excellent. I've stopped going to the supermarket unless I need toothpaste or toilet paper (about the only two things not yet sold by A&C yet). I eat better, spend less and waste nothing as the veg and fruit doesn't perish- lasting much longer than standard and organic products from the supermarkets. Everything is full of flavour so if they are packed with antioxidents thats even better. This year I've chosen not to have a Flu jab, as I'm normally prone to gettng a very bad cold or worse as all year I've been cough/ sniffle free. The recipes have helped us get our five portions a day and I've even got my husband eating courgettes!! Hurrah for Abel & Cole. Millie Knights, Beckenham.

Millie knights, Beckenham,

Able and Cole all the way. Fresh, reliable, consistent, fabulous tasting food that my house feels good buying and eating. Also important is the ease of using the website. Awesome business, values and food. Just what we and out planet need more of.

RMB, London, London

I'm another Abel and Cole fan. They not only supply good organic produce but also strive to be environmentally friendly as possible in all aspects of their business. I enjoy eating their fruit and veg not only because it tastes good and benefits the environment, but also because it benefits that growing band of farmers who try to live and work in harmony with the land instead of poisoning it.

Lesley A Moghaddassi, London, UK

Being a reasonable new customer to Organic products, I must agree with everyone. I buy from Abel & Cole, I get my box every fornight and look forward to it's arrival. The products are so fresh they don't even know they've been picked.

Richard Young, Milton Keynes, Bucks

I'm an abel and cole shopper too. It's not that it tastes better but that the fruit actually has taste unlike supermarket fruit. Their newsletters teach me a little each week about the food in the box (how to store tomato, recipes for unusual items). The bananas haven't been in the hold of some plane so don't have that hard frozen feeling supermarket ones do and often they pass on thanks from struggling British farmers about how if we hadn't of bought their slightly small onions this year no one would as supermarket go much for for looks that nutrition and taste. So I already feel good about being part of something that has such food positive effects on the food industry in the UK and if it makes me healthier too, all the better.

Wendy , Basingstoke,

I agree with John Collins, the taste and texture of the organic veg with Abel and Cole are outstanding. We tried another supplier before them who gave you more food for your money, but to be frank we'd rather use a little less each time and have the quality. It's a wonderful concept, eating locally sourced fruit and veg.

Linda Bateman, St. Albans, UK

We've been Organic for a couple of years. Whatever the arguements, Organic is much tastier, and the weekly items in our fruit & veg boxes stay fresh for much longer than the supermarket veggis ever did. There's no going back.

John Collins, Sittingbourne,

I'm as yet undecided on this debate but one area that has been brought to my attention is this: With organically grown produce the nutrients added to the soils often exceed the quantity required by the produce and therefore leech into water systems, raising nitrogen contents and encouraging toxic algae etc. Using carefully controlled inorganic compounds (Though often they are nature identical and so are effectively organic anyway) means the soils are given exactly what is required so the drainage water is cleaner! I do not, however, disagree that organic foods taste better and are now shown to be better for us to eat but there is a bigger picture!

James Durrant, Newman, Australia WA

I order my organic fruit and veg from Abel & cole. Not only can you taste the difference, the fruit tastes sublime, and the veg has a clean taste about it, but health benefits are definitely clear. I feel better, especially when it's delivered to your doorstep, and you don't get attacked by manic people running around dehumanising supermarkets..... after all, we are what we eat.

Lesley de Freitas, Essex, UK

Organic food tastes better, fills me up quicker and makes me feel better! Thats the only evidence I need. WOOOHOOOO Organic


Please... this silly argument that GM foods have saved people from death. I fail to see any evidence of that (the only evidence I see is that GM is ruining our environment and our health).

As to helping starving people, just get every First World country to donate their food surpluses (e.g. European silly rules on throwing away excess produce to avoid driving prices down) to those who are starving....

cis, Leicester,

How interesting that the vested interests are first in with their misleading and self-serving comments.

Those who believe organic farming requires more land and resources should study permaculture. Properly designed, cyclic organic systems use far less land, far fewer resources than the energy inefficient, linear, resource in, product out systems of intensive farming.

Gillian Walker, Chorley, UK

Can we please change the moniker "Organic food" to Organically-grown food. The Euphamism is so misleading because ALL food is organic. To the people who continue to spread the lie about GM foods should keep in mind that GM foods have created sustinance for MILLIONS of people who would have otherwise starved to death.

José, Edmonton, Canada

Organic food definitely does taste nicer than inorganic food. The really big plus is most organic food does not eat away your flesh unlike many inorganic compounds.

Don 'Pedantic' Youdale, Toronto, CA

Eat healthy, exercise, die anyway.... In any case is it possible that this so loving community of green-thinking sycophants can change the moniker 'Organic Food' to 'Organically-grown food'. This is not to correct the ignorance of those who don't know that ALL food is organic but to ease the rage of people who do. The term 'Organic' has been hijacked by advertisers to promote a product that sells for 50% more using a method of food distribution that is by nature not efficient with how big corporations do business. What it comes down to is, unless everything reverts back to the age of old, 'Organic' will never go beyond a niche product that apparently gives people the moral right to extinguish any criticism that apposes their philosophy. Next thing you know people are going to tell me recycling really makes a difference...

John, Calgary, Canada

There have been many attempts over the years for advocates of organic food to highlight particular studies that show organic food to be more nutritious in one way or another but the overall picture is one of no consistent differences. In many studies organic food has been found to be inferior. I would refer readers to the review in 1997 by Woese et al. in J.Sci.Fod Agric. 74, 281-293 in which the results of more than 150 separate studies, comparing organic food with traditionally produced food, were assessed.

I would also like to recall the experiment started by Lady Eve Balfour (the Haughley Experiment) in 1947 which was designed to prove that organic farming was better for crop and animal health and productivity and by implication for humans; this experiment lasted 22 years before being stopped by the Soil Association. Although it may be argued that it was not stopped because it was not providing any evidence of the superiority of organic farming it is unlikely that it would have been terminated if there had been any indications of benefits of organic farming; in fact it was acknowledged that soil fertility was falling on the organic areas.

Balfour had been absolutely convinced that organic farming was the way to improve the health of the nation - the subtitle of her 1943 book "The Living Soil" was "evidence of the importance to human health of soil vitality, with special reference to post war planning". After the experiment had been stopped in 1969 Balfour published, in 1975, her second book entitled "The Living Soil and the Haughley Experiment". In this book Balfour repeated much of the background to her beliefs about the merits and importance of organic farming that was in her 1943 book and at the same time gave an honest assessment of the results which did not show the benefits she expected and hoped for.

It is curious, if not misleading, that in 2006 the Soil Association republished the 1943 book "The Living Soil" and NOT the 1975 edition which contained much of the same material AND the results.

In 1965 a member of the Soil Association was honest enough to write to me to say .. “we know what we think should be, or we should like to be the truth about the questions being asked there (i.e at Haughley) but we do try to accept the answers and go on probing, whether we like them or not”. This was before the experiment was stopped when the Soil Association realised that the results that they were getting did not fit in with their preconceived ideas.

One question can also be asked about soil fertility on organic farms in the UK. Is it possible that organic farmers are benefiting from the build up of soil fertility by many years application of fertilisers, particularly with respect to phosphorus? They may be in for a rude shock one day as happened at Haughley.

Victor M. Shorrocks, M.A., D.Phil., M.I.Biol., Wigginton, Tring, Hertfordshire

We are a small research company investigating the properties of fruits and vegetables.
A recent study (yet to be published) looked at organic and conventionally grown strawberries. A group of phytonutrients thought to have cancer prevention qualities were chosen and samples of fruit were screened. The organic varieties were significantly better than the non organic, but interestingly, there were marked differences between cultivars. One of the non organic varieties most often found in supermarkets - Elsanta was particularly poor in the 'healthy plant chemicals'.
One of our conclusions is that the cultivar matters. Some plants produce a lot more of the healthy nutrients than do the others. The problem for the consumers is that the data they need is not shown on the packaging. There is no legal requirement.
The debate will rage on. but if our findings are correct, those who adopt an organic diet will outlive those who do not, so by 'natural selection' the scoffers will die out!!

David Howard, Leicester, UK

I can state, unequivocally, that organic food is much better for you. And while this is only MY opinion, it seems to echo the opinions of many others here in the States. I am extremely allergic to pharmaceutical drugs as well as processed foods. Therefore I had to switch to organic foods because non-organic foods were full of chemicals that caused severe reactions. Now I'm finding that even many of the so-called 'organic' foods here in the area I live in are actually genetically modified. I can always tell the difference between GM foods and good organic foods, since GM foods cause my throat to burn, severe nausea and cramping as well as inflammation and total systemic discomfort, if not pain. What's really frustrating for me is that many of the local farmers in this area have been compromised to the point that even good old apples cause illness.

Hungry in Tallahassee

Kat Starwolf, Tallahassee, Florida USA

One would think common sense would have prevailed, but it seems in this day and age we need to prove common sense and instinct through lengthy scientific study. Can't wait till someone studies perfume only to discover that its chemical composition is highly dangerous for human skin.

Farrukh, Woking, UK

We have heard these claims so many times before and always, when you look closely, they add up to very little or nothing at all.

So, before going overboard with your correspondent, let us have the evidence; why did your article not tell us where to find it? How real are the differences, how consistent and, most importantly, how much would they cost in the shops? Two penn'orth of supposed benefit from additional vitamins (of which in any case people on a balanced diet are not short) for a pound more in price is no great deal.

Organic food is big business wanting to write its own protectionist rules including keeping cheap alternatives out of the UK by trying to use the “air-miles” argument. No wonder so many people regard the whole organic movement as a con.

Valentine Dyall, London,

No mention of organic consuming more land and destroying more wild lfe habitats than conventional - or the widespread use of copper and sulphur in production of organic fruit and veg. Copper is a liver toxin but the only pesticide in the organic book that controls fungal infections in plants. No mention either that there are thousands of antioxidants in plants the function of most of them unknown or that at some concentrations antioxidants become pro oxidants. Although widley touted that antioxidants are good for you there is a dearth of medically controlled trials to prove this. Health benefits are more likely to accrue from a wide ranging diet regardless of whether it is organic or not. Has the work been accepted in a peer reviewed journal? I think not. Its a cardinal rule of science that scientists publish their work before going to the press. This has clearly not been done here.

David John James, Maidstone, Kent

Brilliant! It is high time the truth got past the chemical fertilizer and pesticide lobbyists. Thank you very much!

Organic is great, but RAW ORGANIC is even better! I have been learning much about this from the contributors to the Perfect Health-NATURALLY Communications center at My wife, myself and two friends are "taking the plunge," going to a completely raw food diet.

(Anyone can read the posts at the Comm Center, but to contribute you must join Perfect health-NATURALLY at

One of our members posted a link to this article on the Comm Center Forum ... We want everyone to read it!

Bruce Chenoweth, New Plymouth, USA / Idaho

The findings of one new study - however large or well conducted - never constitute the final word. It's going to take lots more research to get the full picture. While it's clear that lots and fruits and vegetables make for a healthier diet, and the phytochemicals antioxidants in plants are probably good for us, we still don't know for sure that specific antioxidants in plants actually fight illness or help people live longer! Any vegetables are better than no vegetables, organic or not. Still, it's a big step in the right direction, and there are so many good reasons to buy organic - I think the stuff tastes so much better, for one thing!

Biologist in Washington State

D. J. Holmes, Pullman, U.S./Washington

i'm so glad you europeans did a study on this! in the US, this kind of study would never be funded/publicized - unless it was a study funded by the conventional agriculture-related industries (monsanto, conagra, etc). So again, thank you, thank you, thank you!
If only Americans pulled their heads out of their bums (accompanied by a loud popping sound) and got their information straight - like Europe.
PS- organic really is amazing. i was raised on it: i'm fit, healthy, and happy.

alexander moore, Portland, Oregon, US

If you buy locally produced organic fruit & veg from an organic box scheme it is usually cheaper than buying ordinary produce from the supermarkets never mind organic produce. Less food miles too. It is a fallacy that the supermarkets are cheaper - look at the profits they make - they rely on consumers wanting convenience and buying everything in one place. Search out your local organic box scheme and support local farmers directly - cutting out the middleman saves you money and gives a better deal to everyone.

Gill, Brough, England

Great to have the proof from 33 independent academic scientific institutuions has been said many times over many years .. healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy animals = healthy humans.. and organics is about building soil health.. harrah that organic farming also supports the environment, fauna and flora diversity, ecology and the smaller family farms as well! eat well, support your families & the planets' (earth) .. health!

catriona macmillan, Bondi Beach, australia

Organics = more nutrients

Does it make sense to other people that because we're getting more nutrition, we feel full quicker and don't eat as much?

Kerri Witt, Brisbane, Australia

Whether organic food tastes better, has more nutrients or not, organic farming practices are better for the future of the planet.

In a series of field trials conducted between 1981 and 2002, the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania found that organic soils have a greater capacity to retain water, carbon and nutrients like nitrogen because organic fertilisers – mulch, compost, manure and other organic waste matters - build up the soil, are more efficient at retaining water (from 15 to 20 per cent more) and carbon (up to 981 kilograms per hectare in the organic system as opposed to 293 kg per ha in the conventional) And the more carbon in the soil – the less in the atmosphere.
The Institute summed up by calculating that 10,000 medium sized organic farms would be equivalent to taking around 1,100,000 cars off the road – and would use only 63 per cent of the energy of conventional farms.

John Newton, Sydney, Australia

A benefit of eating pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic molecules is that subsequent pathologies boost revenues for pharmaceutical companies and their delivery systems. All in all, ingesting toxins is good for that sacred cow we worship as The Economy.

Teresa Binstock, Estes Park, Colorado, usa

I'd love to know more about the funding for the EU to carry out a £12 million survey -- who's really behind 'organic' marketing?

Jim Blunt, London, Her Majesty's Island

Of course organic is better - for goodness sake, this is not news.

As Bob Dylan said, you don't need a weatherman to tell you which way the wind is blowing. And you don't have to pay attention to anyone who says its blowing west, when you know its blowing east.

Joe, Manchester,

this study was sponsored by organic producers
no more comments

Michael, London,

Does the report compare the difference between speed-to-table, storage time before consumption, soil-quality used to organic? The very definition of 'organic' (consumer wise) is not a guarantee of more nutrients, because it is a badge - those non-organic farmers exceeding organic-labelling requirements, do they count as organic?

How about quickly frozen non-organic produce eaten after say 3 days (a reasonable average time to table?) compared to unfrozen organic produce left for 3 days? Does that alter the nutritional contest?

We eat, store, consume our food in such a myriad of ways that whilst one may start as better (though I am dubious of even this) there are so many other contributory factors that it's importance is surely no more than things like how quick you eat it, which soil-type it was grown in, storage methods etc.

As A A Gill says in this paper - what matters is the quality of the food. Organic isn't good food by virtue of its badge of organicity.

Paul, Yorkshire,

In 1936 a senate document 264, it declared that 99% of American were depleted of minerals. This was due to soil depletion.
If the soil has no minerals the organic food will not have the required minerals. The food is only s good as the soil it comes from.
Gabiel Cousen MD has wrote about live foods. Cooking dstroys the nutrients


In 1936 senate document reported that 99% of Americans were depleted of minerals.
Although organic far superior. Good food all depends on the soil quality and minerals.
Gabriel Cousens MD suggests EM and sea solution in the soil.
Cooked food destroy many nutrients.


Now that we know it seems so obvious. Perhaps we knew deep down inside but suppressed it because of concerns over the cost.

ro, cheltenham,

Contrast this with the article in the Independent today about the Government secretly funding GM trials and bending over backwards for BASF. Corporatism rules.

David Hawkes, Watchet, United Kingdom

even if organic food didn't contain more flavour, vitamins and antioxidants, I would still prefer it just for having fewer nasties. That alone is worth the premium.

Verena Schiessle, London,

I choose organic food because I do not want to consume pesticide, fertiliser and other chemical and hormonal residues. Although told these are 'safe' I believe that over a lifetime's consumption, these chemicals will cause cancer.

Confirmation that organic food is higher in nutrients that can help to prevent cancer means that my choice confers double cancer/avoidance benefits.

The FSA has made many negative statements about organic food. This has led me to form the view that they are partisan and probably under pressure from the conventional farming industry. This is just my view as an ordinary consumer and I choose to ignore anything they say as a result. I would really like them to conduct comparative research into pesticide residues in organic and conventionally produced fruit and vegetables and to make these findings known to the public.

I would like my diet to be 100% organic, but lack of availability makes this impossible.

Gillian Kirk, Berkhamsted, UK

We buy all our meat and veg locally, mostly organic, or certified, from famers' markets and farm shops. Supermarkets mess uporganic food - try Sainsbury's "lean" mince s0 loean it has no fat, and is thus dry and tasteless.

Buy locally, and buy organic if possible. Tastewise there is no competition, healthwise as well.

Jeremy Poynton, Fromeville, 51st State

If you trust your sense of taste, you'd expect organic food to contain more nutrients. In the long run, you're better off protecting your health than expecting the medical system to cure you once you're sick.

There are plenty of box schemes available that reduce the cost of organic fruit and veg. Now if we could convince more British farmers to switch to organic production.

Carol, Derbyshire,

not only that but it tastes 100% nicer, or indeed actually OF something. I don't like paying £2 for 6 tomatoes but at least they don't taste of water.

Jack, Leeds,

Have your say

* Required