Nutritional benefits of organic products

Friday, 02 November, 2007

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has hailed preliminary findings from a four-year European Union (EU) study that indicate some organic foods are more nutritional than their non-organic counterparts.

“This study may be the breakthrough that helps prove what many in the organic sector believe to be true about food grown using organic practices,” said Caren Wilcox, OTA’s executive director, on learning of the findings announced by Prof Carlo Leifert of the Tesco Centre for Organic Agriculture based at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.

Preliminary results from this study, which is part of the EU-funded Quality Low Input Food (QLIF) Project, show organic fruit and vegetables have up to 40% more antioxidants than non-organically grown produce, while organic milk contains up to 60-80% more antioxidants than conventionally produced milk in the summer, and 50-60% higher levels in the winter. Organic milk was also found to contain higher levels of vitamin E.

The research team led by Prof Leifert has been raising fruits, vegetables and cows both organically and non-organically on sites on a 725 acre farm near Newcastle University. The research is scheduled to run for an additional year.

In announcing the preliminary results, Prof Leifert said such benefits suggest that eating organic food would be equivalent to eating an extra portion of fruit and vegetables a day.

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