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One of the questions that has been very hotly debated in both the scientific literature
as well as the public literature over the last ten years has been, has there been any
value, extra value in consuming, say, plant foods, fruits, vegetables, which are grown
under organic conditions versus conventional. This is difficult, but surprisingly, I think
surprisingly, the average consumer, there's very few actual papers out in this area.
There is the suggestion by some, usually in the popular press, that there are more nutrients
in organically grown fruits and vegetables. But it turns out that this has been the subject
of now several research papers, and we don't find evidence of this.
What we do find evidence in is conventionally versus organic foods may have a different
taste. That is because they are grown under different conditions of stress. So, that's
a personal difference. There has also been the suggestion that maybe
organically-grown crops are safer for you because they have less pesticide residues.
We have no scientific evidence that actually supports this.
You may find higher pesticide residues on conventionally-grown fruits or vegetables.
But the levels are such a point that they don't present a risk. And this is even a risk
for, what you would say, the severely susceptible populations, i.e. pregnant women or young
children. The other big difference that we do see, though,
is cost. And in many cases organic fruits, vegetables may be considerably more. So, we
do worry a bit, that if a person has a limited budget, ironically, in this attempt to have
something that they think is maybe healthier or better for them, they consume less fruits
and vegetables. And there we have pretty unequivocal data that that could present a health risk.