|Organic Food Is Healthier|
By Ian Sample
October 29, 2007
Some organic foods, including fruit, vegetables and milk, may be more nutritious
than non-organic produce, according to an investigation by British scientists.
Early results from a £12m study showed that organic fruit and vegetables
contained up to 40% more antioxidants than non-organic varieties, according to
Professor Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University, who leads the EU-funded Quality
Low Input Food project.
Larger differences were found in milk, with organic varieties containing more
than 60% more antioxidants and healthy fatty acids, he said.
Antioxidant-rich food is often promoted as healthier because in lab tests the
compounds neutralise free radicals that are thought to contribute to ageing.
The findings contradict advice from the Food Standards Agency, which maintains
there is no scientific evidence to suggest organic food is healthier.
During the four-year project, Prof Leifert's team, which is based at the
university's Tesco centre for organic agriculture, reared cattle and grew fruit
and vegetables on adjacent organic and non-organic sites across Europe,
including a 725-acre farm attached to the university. The full results of the
study will be released in full over the next 12 months.
"What we're really interested in is finding out why there is so much variability
... What in the agricultural system gives a higher nutritional content and less
of the baddies in the food?" Prof Leifert said.