New food news is no news for food

The Inst. of Food Technologists [story published by Blackwell] has issued this Scientific Status Summary to update readers on the organic foods industry.

Persistent chemicals:

…residues encountered in all of the sample pools represented environmentally persistent chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides that have been banned for use for several decades but are still present in small amounts in many agricultural fields and can result in food residues.

Persistent change:

The popularity of organic foods continues to grow dramatically: organic foods now constitute more than 2% of all food sales, and sales of organic foods in the United States surpassed $13.8 billion in 2005.

Persistent conclusion:

While many studies demonstrate these qualitative differences between organic and conventional foods, it is premature to conclude that either food system is superior to the other with respect to safety or nutritional composition. Pesticide residues, naturally occurring toxins, nitrates, and polyphenolic compounds exert their health risks or benefits on a dose-related basis, and data do not yet exist to ascertain whether the differences in the levels of such chemicals between organic foods and conventional foods are of biological significance.