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DENVER (CBS4) – Organic food is a $26 billion industry, but is it worth paying extra at the supermarket? A new study suggests consumers may be paying more but not getting their money’s worth.
Consumers who like organic produce often spend hours in the garden convinced that their crops taste better and are better for them.
On Labor Day Margo and her son were laboring in their organic garden.
“I think it’s a lot healthier just because you don’t have those chemicals and the side effect of those things,” Margo said.
That’s why gardeners are willing to put in the time and consumers are often willing to pay up to twice as much for organic items in the store.
“I think it’s better to eat them because I think they’re better for you,” Margo’s son said.
That’s what many think, but the new study suggests otherwise.
“In our study we did not find substantial differences in nutritional content of organic compared to conventional foods,” researcher Crystal Smith-Spangler said.
“Why take the risk?” Stephen Wilson said.
Wilson has a plot in an urban garden in part to avoid consuming pesticides on fruit and vegetables.
New research hints that non-organic produce comes with less of a risk of toxins than most might think.
“We found that organic produce was about 30 percent less likely to be contaminated by pesticide residues,” Smith-Spangler said. “However we found differences in risks of exceeding maximum allowed limits between the groups were small.”
Taste may be something less tangible for researchers to measure. If organic tastes better, people are likely to eat more produce, which regardless of the study suggests people are reaping more health benefits.