Recently, Food Tank had the opportunity to host a webinar on organic farming’s impact on health. The webinar was led by Chuck Benbrook, Research Professor at the Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University. Benbrook spoke about the nutritional difference between organic crops and conventional crops.
Benbrook had recently co-authored a study that compared organic and conventional crops. The study found that organic food has higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides than conventional crops.
“Cadmium levels are on average 48 percent lower in organic foods,” said Benbrook.
Cadmium is a carcinogen that can result in “lung damage, emphysema, bronchitis, fragile bones, pulmonary edema, difficulty breathing, anemia, rhinitis, and discoloration of teeth.”
The study looked at 343 studies on organic and conventional crops. Benbrook went on to say that it was important to show all sides of the study. During their statistical analysis, they decided to publish both the weighted and unweighted results, thereby giving readers full transparency of the results.
But having the results of the study wasn’t enough. Benbrook and his colleagues led a release campaign that had a reach of over 600 million. They released the study to as many media outlets as they could and presented the material in various formats in order to make it reader-friendly.
“This is our attempt to make this information available to people in as many forms and ways as possible,” said Benbrook.
The study also addressed questions such as “How do you measure nutritional quality?”, “Why are antioxidants important?”, and “Are the nutritional differences between organic and conventional crops meaningful in terms of altered health outcomes?”