Healthy foods come from a healthy agriculture. Producers of baby food use organic products almost exclusively because organic vegetables and fruits are usually free of pesticide residues. According to research, they also contain more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and bioactive matter. Ecologically produced dairy products contain more healthy fatty acids and less organic antibiotics-resistant bacteria. Ultimately, however, there are currently no clear scientific findings on the health effects of organic food.

British Journal of Nutrition, 2014

Organic foods contain less heavy metals and pesticides, but more antioxidants. This emerges from a comprehensive study, published in 2014 in the journal British Journal of Nutrition. Newcastle University researchers evaluated 343 studies on the ingredients of organic and conventional crops. According to the report, organic products have an average 18 to 69% higher concentration of six antioxidants, which are believed to play an important role in the prevention of chronic diseases and, according to the German Cancer Society, can reduce the risk of cancer. The diet of organic fruits, vegetables and grains make a difference in the number of antioxidants that equal one to two servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Bio also contained less toxic heavy metals, on average about 48% less cadmium. In addition, 10% less total nitrogen, 30% less nitrate and 87% less nitrite were found in organic products. Pesticide residues are four times lower than conventionally manufactured products. “The bio versus non-bio debate has been going on for decades. (…) We have shown beyond any doubt that organically and conventionally grown crops differ in their nutritional value composition, “said Carlo Leifert of the University of Newcastle. The findings refute a study commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency in 2009 that found no significant nutritional benefit from organic foods. This study relied on only 46 publications on crops, meat and dairy products, while the current meta-analysis covers 343 scientific publications. “The biggest difference between the two studies is the timing aspect. Research in this area needs time to get started and we now have much more data available than we did five years ago, “says Leifert.

The Stanford study

In 2012, Stanford University published a comprehensive study on health effects of organic foods compared to conventional foods. In summary, the researchers concluded that the evidence is insufficient to describe organic food as healthier. However, the study found that:
Organic foods contain 30% less pesticides.
Organic foods are less frequently burdened with multidrug-resistant bacteria.
Organic foods contain significantly more antioxidants.

Scientific doubt

You can not just say that organic foods are healthier. Although organic vegetables have a higher vitamin C content, this does not necessarily mean that it is healthier. Measuring health is a very complex thing, with research done under laboratory conditions giving different results than in the field. Therefore, different studies often yield contradictory results.

Mothers and children

During pregnancy or breastfeeding, many women switch to organic food. This makes sense, because children have very little body mass, which makes them more sensitive to pesticide residues in their diet. Babies are even more sensitive, as harmful substances in the first phase of life can even more easily penetrate to the brain. Researchers found traces of pesticides in urine in children who consumed conventional fruits and vegetables. As soon as they switched to organic food, these traces disappeared from their urine. Another study found more healthy fatty acids in mother’s milk in mothers who consumed organic dairy products. The Dutch food quality control agency identified the largest pesticide residues in apples, grapes, tangerines and strawberries. Residues were therefore found in 95% of all Dutch apples, in each apple even residues of an average of four different pesticides. Since chemical synthetic pesticides are not used in organic farming, they are a sensible choice for their child.

Further research

A recent Newcastle University study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found more antioxidants and fewer pesticides in organic foods. In this study, the most comprehensive literature review is mentioned.
In 2009, a Dutch study published by the Louis Bolk Institute and RIKILT compiled the hitherto most recent scientific data. The allegations were assigned to different levels of credibility. The more stars an assertion has, the safer it is. Some of the results are:

  1. Organic fruits and vegetables contain more bioactive substances such as antioxidants.
  2. Organic fruits and vegetables have a higher content of vitamin C.
  3. Organic fruits and vegetables contain less pesticide residues.
  4. Organic dairy products have a higher content of omega-3 and CLA fatty acids.
  5. Organic pigs and chickens contain less antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  6. Organic foods can play a role in the protection against allergies and strengthen the immune system.


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