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Research says organic food IS healthier

Date Published: 01/11/2007

A four-year research study has claimed that organic food is more nutritious than non-organic.

The £12million project was run by Newcastle University and is said to demonstrate that organic fruit and vegetables contained up to 40% more antioxidants, as well as high levels of minerals including iron and zinc.

Antioxidants are thought by scientists to cut the risks of cancer and heart disease.

The EU-funded research was carried out by Professor Carlo Leifert and involved farm trials in which organic and non-organic varieties were grown on the same land.

The Newcastle study found that levels of antioxidants in milk from organic herds were up to 80% higher than in milk from non-organic herds.

Prof. Leifert’s team also pulled together the results of other studies carried out around the world.

The research did find that the benefits were not apparent across all varieties of fruit and vegetables.

Richard Jacobs, Chief Executive of Organic Farmers & Growers, said: “This research is very welcome news. What the organic movement has been short of is properly conducted, verifiable academic research to show what many people believe about organic food.

“And we shouldn’t forget that organics is not just about the health value of food to humans, but is also concerned with the welfare of animals and the protection and enhancement of our natural environment. Now we are more able to definitively tick all of the boxes.

“We should always be cautious about over-hyping the benefits of organic, but it is very satisfying to have empirical data that should lay some very old arguments to rest.”

Now 33 academic institutions across Europe are examining the data from the study, the full findings from which are due to be published next year.