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Are organic foods better for me?

Organic food is described as “food grown without most artificial fertilisers or pesticides, making the most of natural fertilisers.  Animals are kept in ways which minimise the need for medicines and other chemical treatments.” (DEFRA) 

People are sometimes concerned about the possible effects of food additives on health, including cancer, and feel that organic foods are less likely to be contaminated with pesticides. 

It is not known whether organic foods carry a lower risk of cancer.  There have been studies which have looked at the nutrient content of organic versus conventionally grown fruit and vegetables. Some studies suggest a higher nutrient content, others suggest no difference.  At present, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that organic fruit and vegetables are more effective in reducing cancer risk than foods produced by other farming methods.

Vegetables, fruits and whole grains should form the central part of your diet regardless of whether they are grown conventionally or organically.  Most experts agree that the nutritional benefits of eating fruits and vegetables outweigh the risk of consuming chemical residue on non-organically grown produce. 

Cancer Research UK says ‘Fruit and vegetables sometimes contain very small amounts of pesticides so it is a good idea to rinse fruit and vegetables before eating them. But there is no evidence that these small amounts increase the risk of cancer in people who eat them. In fact, eating lots of fruit and vegetables actually reduces your risk of several cancers, despite any pesticide residues on them.’