Organic Fruits and Vegetables: Potential Health Benefits and Risks
Due to the rapid growth of the organic food industry and the increasing popularity of organic fruits and vegetables, the health benefits and risks of organic produce are issues of significant importance. This review will compare organic and conventional produce in terms of nutritional value, pesticide contamination, and microbiological safety. The current literature shows that organic produce tends to contain higher levels of vitamin C and lower levels of nitrates, though more well controlled studies are necessary in order to reach any definitive conclusions. It has been definitively shown that organic produce contains fewer and lower levels of pesticides than conventional produce, though the long-term health consequences of ingestion of pesticides, and the clinical relevance of fewer and lower levels of pesticides in organic food, has yet to be determined. Organic farming methods can potentially lead to microbiological contamination, but the literature has shown that organic produce does not carry any higher risk of significant microbiological contamination than conventional produce. These findings in the current literature seem to suggest that organic produce can potentially be more beneficial, but certainly not more harmful, than conventional produce for the health of the consumer.