Skip to main content Accessibility help

Organic food: is it healthier?

In a nutshell

Studies testing for differences between organic and conventional foods face a number of methodological challenges.

Even so, it has been possible to demonstrate some consistent differences, such as significantly lower pesticide and higher antioxidant levels with organic foods. Other suggested benefits (e.g. in taste, health outcomes etc.) remain to be proven.



Hide All
1. Williams, CM. Nutritional quality of organic food: shades of grey or shades of green? Proc Nutr Soc. 2002 Feb;61(1):1924.
2. Leckie, J. Is organic food production feasible? Nutr Health. 1999;13(2):109–19.
3. Jukes, TH. Organic food. CRC Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1977;9(4):395418.
4. Fisher, BE. Organic: What's in a name? Environ Health Perspect. 1999 Mar;107(3):A150–3.
5. USDA. Tthe National Organic Program
6. Lockie, S. et al. Choosing organics: a path analysis of factors underlying the selection of organic food among Australian consumers. Appetite. 2004 Oct;43(2):135–46.
7. Magnusson, MK. et al. Choice of organic foods is related to perceived consequences for human health and to environmentally friendly behaviour. Appetite. 2003 Apr;40(2):109–17.
8. Bishop, B. Organic food in cancer therapy. Nutr Health. 1988;6(2):105–9.
9. Hammitt, JK. Risk perceptions and food choice: an exploratory analysis of organic-versus conventional-produce buyers. Risk Anal. 1990 Sep;10(3):367–74.
10. Williams, PR. et al. Perceived risks of conventional and organic produce: pesticides, pathogens, and natural toxins. Risk Anal. 2001 Apr;21(2):319–30.
11. Poulsen, ME. et al. Results from the monitoring of pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables on the Danish market, 2000–01. Food Addit Contam. 2003 Aug;20(8):742–57.
12. Baker, BP. et al. Pesticide residues in conventional, integrated pest management (IPM)-grown and organic foods: insights from three US data sets. Food Addit Contam. 2002 May;19(5):427–46.
13. Curl, CL. et al. Organophosphorus pesticide exposure of urban and suburban preschool children with organic and conventional diets. Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Mar;111(3):377–82.
14. Worthington, V. Nutritional quality of organic versus conventional fruits, vegetables, and grains. J Altern Complement Med. 2001 Apr;7(2):161–73.
15. Worthington, V. Effect of agricultural methods on nutritional quality: a comparison of organic with conventional crops. Altern Ther Health Med. 1998 Jan;4(1):5869.
16. Clarke, . et al. Nutrient composition of tomatoes homegrown and under different cultural procedures. Ecology Food Nutr. 1979;8:3746.
17. Köpke, U. Organic foods: do they have a role? Forum Nutr. 2005;(57):6272.
18. Gundersen, V. et al. Comparative investigation of concentrations of major and trace elements in organic and conventional Danish agricultural crops. 1. Onions (Allium cepa Hysam) and peas (Pisum sativum ping pong). J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Dec;48(12):6094–102.
19. Hajslova, J. et al. Quality of organically and conventionally grown potatoes: four-year study of micronutrients, metals, secondary metabolites, enzymic browning and organoleptic properties. Food Addit Contam. 2005 Jun;22(6):514–34.
20. Honikel, KO. [Quality of ecologically produced foods of animal origin] Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 1998 Aug;105(8):327–9.
21. Bourn, D. et al. A comparison of the nutritional value, sensory qualities, and food safety of organically and conventionally produced foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2002 Jan;42(1):134.
22. Tarozzi, A. et al. Antioxidant effectiveness of organically and non-organically grown red oranges in cell culture systems. Eur J Nutr. 2005 Aug 12; [Epub ahead of print]
23. Caris-Veyrat, C. et al. Influence of organic versus conventional agricultural practice on the antioxidant microconstituent content of tomatoes and derived purees; consequences on antioxidant plasma status in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Oct 20;52(21):6503–9.
24. Lombardi-Boccia, G. et al. Nutrients and antioxidant molecules in yellow plums (Prunus domestica L.) from conventional and organic productions: a comparative study. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jan 14;52(1):90–4.
25. Asami, DK. et al. Comparison of the total phenolic and ascorbic acid content of freeze-dried and air-dried marionberry, strawberry, and corn grown using conventional, organic, and sustainable agricultural practices. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Feb 26;51(5):1237–41.
26. Dimberg, LH. et al. Phenolic compounds in oat grains (Avena sativa L.) grown in conventional and organic systems. Ambio. 2005 Jun;34(4–5):331–7.
27. Grinder-Pedersen, L. et al. Effect of diets based on foods from conventional versus organic production on intake and excretion of flavonoids and markers of antioxidative defense in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Sep 10;51(19):5671–6.
28. Young, JE. et al. Phytochemical phenolics in organically grown vegetables. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005 Dec;49(12):1136–42.
29. Lu, C. et al. Markedly different gene expression in wheat grown with organic or inorganic fertilizer. Proc Biol Sci. 2005 Sep 22;272(1575):1901–8.
30. Loncarevic, S. et al. Bacteriological quality of organically grown leaf lettuce in Norway. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2005;41(2):186–9.
31. Magkos, F. et al. Organic food: buying more safety or just peace of mind? A critical review of the literature. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(1):2356.
32. Meier-Ploeger, A. Organic Farming Food Quality and Human Health. Nordic association of agricultural sciences soil water environment (NJF). Seminar paper June 15th 2005.
33. Greaaves, . et al. Growth and reproduction of mice fed on wheat grown under different systems of soil management. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 1959:18;iiiii
34. Velimirow, A.. et al. The influence of biologically and conventionally cultivated food on the fertility of rats. Biol. Agric. Hart. 1992:8:325337.
35. Finamore, A. et al. Novel approach for food safety evaluation. Results of a pilot experiment to evaluate organic and conventional foods. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Dec 1;52(24):7425–31.
36. Abell, A. et al. High sperm density among members of organic farmers' association. Lancet. 1994 Jun 11;343(8911):1498.
37. Juhler, RK. et al. Human semen quality in relation to dietary pesticide exposure and organic diet. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 1999 Oct;37(3):415–23.
38. Jensen, TK. et al. Semen quality among members of organic food associations in Zealand, Denmark. Lancet. 1996 Jun 29;347(9018):1844.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Organic food: is it healthier?


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.