Bibliography Tag: organic vs conventional

Rempelos et al., 2022

Rempelos L, Wang J, Barański M, Watson A, Volakakis N, Hoppe HW, Kühn-Velten WN, Hadall C, Hasanaliyeva G, Chatzidimitriou E, Magistrali A, Davis H, Vigar V, Średnicka-Tober D, Rushton S, Iversen PO, Seal CJ, Leifert C.; “Diet and food type affect urinary pesticide residue excretion profiles in healthy individuals: results of a randomized controlled dietary intervention trial;” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2022, 9;115(2),364-377; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqab308.



Observational studies have linked pesticide exposure to various diseases, whereas organic food consumption has been associated with positive health outcomes. Organic farming standards prohibit the use of most pesticides, and organic food consumption may therefore reduce pesticide exposure.


To determine the effects of diet (Western compared with Mediterranean) and food type (conventional compared with organic) and sex on urinary pesticide residue excretion (UPRE), as well as associations between specific diet components and UPRE.


In this 2-wk, randomized dietary intervention trial, healthy adults were randomly allocated to an intervention (n = 13) or conventional (n = 14) group. Whereas participants in the intervention group consumed a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) made entirely from organic foods, the conventional group consumed a MedDiet made entirely from conventional foods. Both groups consumed habitual Western diets made from conventional foods before and after the 2-wk intervention period. The primary outcome was UPRE. In addition, we assessed diet composition and pesticide residue profiles in foods eaten. Participants were aware of group assignment, but the study assessors were not.


During the intervention period, total UPRE was 91% lower with organic (mean 17 μg/d; 95% CI: 15, 19) than with conventional (mean 180 μg/d; 95% CI: 153, 208) food consumption (P < 0.0001). In the conventional group, switching from the habitual Western diet to the MedDiet increased insecticide excretion from 7 to 25 μg/d (P < 0.0001), organophosphate excretion from 5 to 19 μg/d (P < 0.0001), and pyrethroid residue excretion from 2.0 to 4.5 μg/d (P < 0.0001). Small but significant effects of sex were detected for chlormequat, herbicide, and total pesticide residue excretion.


Changing from a habitual Western diet to a MedDiet was associated with increased insecticide, organophosphate, and pyrethroid exposure, whereas organic food consumption reduced exposure to all groups of synthetic chemical pesticides. This may explain the positive health outcomes linked to organic food consumption in observational studies.


Benbrook et al., 2021

Benbrook, Charles, Kegley, Susan, & Baker, Brian; “Organic Farming Lessens Reliance on Pesticides and Promotes Public Health by Lowering Dietary Risks;” Agronomy, 2021, 11(7); DOI: 10.3390/agronomy11071266.


Organic agriculture is a production system that relies on prevention, ecological processes, biodiversity, mechanical processes, and natural cycles to control pests and maintain productivity. Pesticide use is generally limited or absent in organic agroecosystems, in contrast with non-organic (conventional) production systems that primarily rely on pesticides for crop protection. Significant differences in pesticide use between the two production systems markedly alter the relative dietary exposure and risk levels and the environmental impacts of pesticides. Data are presented on pesticide use on organic and non-organic farms for all crops and selected horticultural crops. The relative dietary risks that are posed by organic and non-organic food, with a focus on fresh produce, are also presented and compared. The results support the notion that organic farms apply pesticides far less intensively than conventional farms, in part because, over time on well-managed organic farms, pest pressure falls when compared to the levels on nearby conventional farms growing the same crops. Biopesticides are the predominant pesticides used in organic production, which work by a non-toxic mode of action, and pose minimal risks to human health and the environment. Consequently, eating organic food, especially fruits and vegetables, can largely eliminate the risks posed by pesticide dietary exposure. We recommend ways to lower the pesticide risks by increased adoption of organic farming practices and highlight options along organic food supply chains to further reduce pesticide use, exposures, and adverse worker and environmental impacts. FULL TEXT