He interest in organic food has increased worldwide in response to concerns about traditional farming practices, food safety, health, animal welfare and the environment.
Consumers make positive inferences regarding organic food versus traditional foods, for example, in relation to human health, the environment, animal welfare, etc. Other positive aspects are the naturalness of food, taste, local production, purity (without additives) and cleanliness (without pesticides and free of contaminants).
Organic food vs Traditional foods which one to choose?
In terms of nutritional value, consumers perceive that organic food products contain more nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, than conventionally produced foods.
After comparing a large number of studies conducted between 1958 and 2017 some researchers concluded that the nutritional quality of organic and conventionally produced foods is similar.
In a systematic review of the published studies, it was found that in relation to the 10 most important nutrients and nutritional components (including vitamin C, magnesium and phenolic compounds), no significant differences were found between organic and conventionally produced foods. There were three exceptions: nitrogen (higher in conventional foods), phosphorus, and titratable acidity (higher in organic foods). Nitrogen is constituent amino acids and therefore proteins, phosphorus is required for bone development, growth, maintenance and repair of all tissues and cells. Valuable acidity is related to the maturity of the plant, a higher titratable acidity indicates lower maturity. Maturity influences the nutritional value, in particular, in the starch-sugar ratio that decreases as the ripening progresses. The effect of maturation on the micronutrient level of foods of plant origin is not so clear. Studies have found positive and negative correlations between the maturation stage and the level and type of some substances such as antioxidants.
The methods of production are also important factors and determinants of the nutritional composition of food. The composition of some crops may also vary depending on crop conditions (air, water, soil, climate), pesticide and fertilizer regime, pest control and disease incidence, time and method of harvesting and post- (Eg storage, transport and home preparation). Similarly, the nutrient composition of livestock products may be affected by factors such as age, breed of animal, etc. .;
Consumers perceive organic foods as safer than conventional foods. In addition, a study of the perception of the nutritional and toxicological value of organic vegetables (Belgian consumers) found that consumers put a higher value on the health benefits of the absence of chemicals than on nutritional value.
In the EU, both organic and conventional foods are subject to strict food safety requirements. Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 provides that the responsibility for ensuring compliance with food law rests with the food business and that food cannot be placed on the market if it is not safe.
In summary, it can be concluded that as of today there is no clear scientific evidence to suggest significant nutritional differences between organic and conventionally produced foods. In relation to hygienic quality, both of them meet the requirements established by the current food legislation and therefore are safe. The choice of one or the other will depend on personal preferences and budget.