A Collection of Responses to Stanford's Organic Food Study: Organic Food Is Worth It


Are organic foods healthier? Are they worth the extra money at the supermarket? In the wake of a media frenzy revolving a September 2012 “study” by Stanford University claiming to answer these questions, many people were left wondering. 

Fresh Food For Sale 

The Stanford paper made headlines across the media-sphere. Many read something along the lines of, “Are Organic Foods Worth the Extra Cost?” — which frustrated many proponents of organics.

It’s important to note that the paper wasn’t a new study with fresh data on organic foods. Rather, it was a “meta-study” in which no original research was conducted. Researchers compiled data from multiple past studies on organic food. The benefits of organic produce were investigated by the research team — with an emphasis on health — and compiled in the paper published in the September 4, 2012, issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

While the findings did point out that organic food can lower the risk of exposure to pesticides by 30 percent, many media outlets focused on the part of the study concluding that there’s no significant health benefit from eating organic foods. Several story lines suggested that organics are really no better than conventional foods, and Stanford’s own website said researchers “did not find strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or carry fewer health risks than conventional alternatives, though consumption of organic foods can reduce the risk of pesticide exposure.” (This important point about pesticide exposure was often covered as an afterthought in reports about the study.)

Shortly after the first round of media attention hit, a second round — this time made up of impassioned responses to the Stanford study and the undeserved attention the study received — showed up. For instance, Why the Stanford University Organic Food Study Missed the Mark by Kimberly Lord Stewart argues that the study “marginalized the health status of organic food and took an extremely narrow view” and that the Stanford research “fails to mention two significant studies that do indeed show that organic foods are higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, polyphenols by 60 to 80 percent of the time, and vitamin A and protein is higher in organic foods 50 percent of the time when compared to conventional foods.”

t brandt
11/7/2012 11:29:55 AM

Organic foods may have no beneft on physical health, but quite obviously have a strong effect on the mental health of their advocates.... The author states that pesticides in foods have known effects on causing cancer.. False... Hi dose exposures in lab rats may cause cancer there, but not in us at the doses routinely obtained from food. That's the important point....The author states that certain nutrients are higher in organics, but can't show any proof that that's actually healthier for us. She merely uses the faulty logic that " if one is good, then two MUST be better."...Organics are cheaper to produce when you're growing your own, but probably not worth the extra price if you are buying them. Of course we can't put a price on that warm & fuzzy feeling....Once again, I make these comments to correct the pseudoscience that can instill fear in those who must buy our industrially produced food. It is perfectly safe. Just look around you. We're all stronger and healtheir than we were even one generation ago. That's why Soc. Sec is going broke! ;-)

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