Newcastle Study Talking Points
Talking Point 1:
Organic fruit and vegetables have higher levels of antioxidants than conventional fruit and vegetables
- This study found meaningful nutritional differences between organic and conventional crops
- Organic crops had levels of antioxidants that were between 19% to 69% higher than conventional crops
- These antioxidants have been linked to decreases in chronic disease risks, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Certain cancers
- These results suggest that a switch from conventional to organic crop consumption would result in a 20-40% (and for some compounds more than 60%) increase in crop-based antioxidant intake, without a simultaneous increase in caloric consumption
- This means that the amount of extra antioxidants you would consume every day by eating the recommended five servings of organic instead of conventional fruit and vegetable would be equal to one to two whole servings of conventional fruits and vegetables!
Talking Point 2:
Organic crops have lower levels of toxic metal than conventional crops
- Organic crops had on average 48% lower cadmium (Cd) levels than conventional crops
- Cadmium is a highly toxic metal that can cause kidney failure, bone softening, and liver damage.
- Cadmium can accumulate in the body, so even at low levels chronic exposure can be dangerous.
- Cadmium is dangerous enough that it is one of only three toxic metal contaminants (the other two being lead and mercury) for which the European Commission has set maximum residue levels (MRL) in foods.
Talking Point 3:
The occurrence of pesticide residues in organic food is than in conventional food
- The study also found fewer pesticide residues in organic versus conventional crops
- Conventional crops were four-times more likely to contain pesticide residues than organic crops
- This is consistent with previous studies (including the Stanford study), which all agree that eating organic can decrease people’s exposure to pesticide residues
- This means that the restrictions organic standards put on pesticide use really are protecting people from exposure to pesticide residues!
- Other studies also show that conventional food often contains multiple residues – and some fruits and vegetables can contain more than 10! Plus, the average levels of residues in organic food are far lower than in conventional food – further reducing relative pesticide dietary risks.