Jim Riddle: Organic foods study flawed


September 14, 2012 12:00 am

By Jim Riddle | Winona


A recent press release from the Stanford School of Medicine reads: “Little evidence of health benefits from organic foods.”

The headline could just have easily read: “Despite billions spent on research and subsidies, conventional foods found more dangerous than organic.”

The Stanford study was striking in several regards:

  • No new research was conducted‚ the Stanford team simply reviewed existing studies;
  • The review included research conducted under different sets of organic standards;
  • The review included research conducted prior to 2002, when USDA National Organic Program Regulations took effect; and
  • The review concluded that organic foods consistently contain fewer pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and significantly higher levels of beneficial nutrients in organic milk.

The Stanford team used a novel and simplistic “risk difference” measurement to compare pesticide residue levels in organic vs. nonorganic foods, and concluded that organic foods have a risk difference of 30 percent, compared to nonorganic foods. This metric is seriously flawed and easily misinterpreted. Let me explain….

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