Does organic food have fewer pesticides and bacteria than conventional?

When researchers who recently authored a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at the pesticide residues on produce, they found that conventionally grown fruits and veggies did have more detectable pesticide residues than organic produce. However, the amount found was below the levels that would pose a health risk as established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Both organic and traditionally grown can contain bacteria.

However, simply washing and scrubbing produce with a veggie brush under running water helps remove pesticide residues, dirt and harmful bacteria on the produce's surface.


Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Researchers at Stanford University recently released a study that questions the nutritional benefits of buying organic foods. The study found very little nutritional difference between organic and conventional produce and meat.

The researchers performed a type of study called a meta-analysis. They identified 237 different studies that compare organic foods to conventional foods and used statistics to compare the research.

The researchers found that nonorganic produce “has a 30% higher risk for pesticide contamination than organic produce.” One of the identified studies found that children who “switched to an organic diet for five days had significantly lower levels of pesticide residue in their urine.”

With regard to organic meats, the researchers concluded that there was no difference in the potential for bad bacteria contamination. However, because many conventional meats come from animals that were fed antibiotics, some studies did find higher levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in conventional meats.

Organic foods tend to contain fewer pesticides than non-organic foods, but that doesn't mean they're always pesticide-free. In this video, pediatrician and Dr. Oz Show guest Alan Greene, MD, explains why.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.