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Organic food and health - status and perspectives

By Charlotte Lauridsen, Henry Jørgensen, Ulrich Halekoh and Lars Porskjær Christensen


In a recent study it was investigated, through a well-controlled animal feeding experiment, whether conventional and organic food products showed differences in animal physiology of a type and magnitude that could indicate that organic products would affect humans differently. The primary, but still tentative conclusion from this study was that the most significant effects on rats was observed on health aspects that have rarely been assessed in prior studies: Immune status, sleep/activity pattern, accumulation of adipose tissue, liver function, and vitamin E status, while a large numbers of markers of “traditional” nutritional value showed no differences. Although the results of the present study could not directly be applied to organic and conventional production systems the observed differences were all in favour of the organic treatment, and thus pointed in the direction of potential health benefits when eating organically grown rather than conventionally grown food. However, this study like other studies related to the issue suffers from the fact that only one replication per food produce was used in the animal studies. Therefore the size of the effects could not be evaluated with respect to replication variation, which could have been determined by establishment of field trials. In addition, it was not possible to correlate the responses of the animals to the analysed diet composition due to the limited number of replicates, whereby the explanations of the effects were limited. Thus, it is of outmost concern that future investigations on the effect of organic food in relation to human health and well-being should be based on well-defined and controlled food produce system with replications

Topics: Food security, food quality and human health
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Organic Eprints

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