A study last year (2009) claimed that organic fruit and vegetables are no better for you than when grown conventionally. The study looked at a range of nutrients to see if there was any great difference depending on how fruit and vegetables were grown, but surprisingly to many, they found no significant difference. There was a small difference but it was not considered enough to lead to health benefits. The study led to headlines stating that organic fruit and vegetables have no health benefits, but this is something of a flawed conclusion. A crucial point that the study pointed out, but many news stories did not, is that the effects of pesticides and herbicides on non-organic fruit and veg were not taken into consideration. Many believe that this is the most important factor in the potential health benefits of organic, so without this being considered it means that the study cannot give a complete picture of the health merits of organic fruit and veg. This brings into question how important the study really is. It does tell us that there is no nutritional value is eating organic but does not tell us whether there is any damage caused by the chemicals used to grow fruit and vegetables conventionally. A non-health related benefit that some may point to is taste, with many believing organic has an advantage taste wise. This comes down to personal preference; some believe it does taste better while others see no difference. Organic fruit and veg, as well as other foods, does in the main cost more than non-organic. But from last year’s study, can we say whether or not it is worth this extra cost? Well the nutritional value, that some previously believed significant, is almost redundant. So for those who choose organic for this reason alone the answer is no, it is not worth the extra cost. There are three more factors that some will take into consideration, three things that people will have to make up their own minds about. Are pesticides and herbicides in non-organic produced potentially harmful? Some say that common sense tells you that chemicals are unlikely to be healthy and could be a health risk. Others though, would point to the fact that there doesn’t appear to have been any damage from them in food in the past. Then there is taste, something that comes completely down to personal preference. And finally there is the environmental effect, and there is some evidence that chemical used to grown fruit and vegetables are harmful to the environment. How harmful and what effect it has is hard to judge, and another thing that people have to make up their own minds about. This is an area that is important to some but not to others. So overall this study has told us about one area (nutrition) that is not affected by whether or not fruit and veg are produced organically, but it doesn’t give us an overall picture. Make up your own minds.... Andrew Marshall (c) Longulf are an international procurement company who assist Food Producers and Steel Manufacturers amongst other businesses.