Archive for September, 2009

French study says organic food is healthier

Friday, September 11th, 2009

A new review from France has concluded that there are nutritional benefits to organic produce, on the basis of data compiled for the French food agency AFSSA. The conclusion opposes that of a UK study published last month.

Whether or not organic food brings nutritional benefits over conventional food has been a matter of considerable inquiry and debate. The issue came to a head last month when a study commissioned by the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) concluded that there is no evidence of nutritional superiority.

Now, however, a review published in the journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development has said drawn wildly different conclusions.

Author Denis Lairon of the University of Aix-Marseille coordinated an “up-to-date exhaustive and critical evaluation of the nutritional and sanitary quality of organic food” for AFSSA, which was originally published in 2003. The new review is based on this, as well as the findings of new studies published in the intervening years.

Lairon concluded that organic plant products contain more dry matter and minerals – such as iron and magnesium – and more antioxidant polyphenols like phenols and salicylic acid. Data on carbohydrate, protein and vitamin levels are insufficiently documented, he said.

Organic animal products were seen to have more polyunsaturated fats.

Is nutrition important?

In the wake of the FSA report publication, organic groups and the media debated the reasons for consumers’ keenness to buy organic produce. Many concluded that nutritional benefit is not necessarily at the forefront of their minds, but they are more driven by food safety and environmental aspects such as pesticide use.

Unlike the authors of the FSA study, Lairon did look at food safety. He concluded that between 94 and 100 per cent of organic food does not contain any pesticide residues, and organic vegetables have about 50 per cent less nitrates.

Organic cereals, however, were seen to have similar levels of mycotoxins overall compared with conventional cereals.

Emphasis on quality

The FSA study looked at evidence from studies published in the English language, and notably drew attention to shortfalls in the methodology of many which means their findings could not be included.

The original AFSSA report, too, placed a high onus on quality or study. Selected papers had to refer to well-defined and certified organic agricultural practices, and have information on design and follow-up, valid measured parametres and appropriate sampling and statistical analysis.


Agronomy for Sustainable Development (2009)

DOI: 10.1051/agro/2009019

“Nutritional quality an safety of organic food. A review”

Author: Lairon, D.

Higher Levels of Vitamin C and Lower Concentrations of Nitrogen Found in Organic Oranges

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Many scientific teams in Europe are trying to develop reliable and affordable tests to differentiate between organic and conventional foods. For many crops, pesticide residue levels are considered the best way to make such a determination, but in the case of citrus, this approach is unreliable. In the Mediterranean region where most of Europe’s citrus is grown, pest pressure is low and very few if any pesticides are applied. Accordingly, the presence or absence of residues is an unreliable indicator of whether organic citrus as grown in compliance with European standards.

An Italian team explored whether nitrogen levels and forms in conventional and organic oranges could be used to distinguish between organic and conventionally grown fruit. Detailed fruit quality data was collected on two cultivars of oranges grown under conventional and organic methods. Two key food quality parameters were consistently different.

The organic oranges from both varieties contained 12 percent higher levels of Vitamin C. Fruit harvested from one variety grown conventionally contained 30 percent more nitrogen, while the second variety contained 12 percent more nitrogen. The higher presence of Vitamin C in the organic oranges is beneficial for a variety of reasons, while lower average nitrogen levels can help reduce the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the gut and lessens the risk of methemoglobinemia (Blue baby disease).

Sources: “Nitrogen Metabolism Components as a Tool to Discriminate between Organic and Conventional Citrus Fruits.”
Authors: Paolo Rapisarda, Maria Luisa Calabretta, Gabriella Romano, and Francesco Intrigliolo.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Volume 53, Number 7, April 6, 2005.

Uncle Matt’s unveils new community sponsorship initiative: Project Sunshine

Friday, September 4th, 2009

A small family making a big difference

A major goal of Uncle Matt’s Organic, Inc. is to help our community become a better place to live and work, and to promote healthy lifestyles as well as protect our environment. As a family business, we are committed to promoting local projects to make our community stronger, and to educate our local citizens about organics and green initiatives. To forward these goals we are excited to announce Project Sunshine . We are proud sponsors of the following community organizations and projects.

Second Harvest Food Bank
Relay for Life: American Cancer Society
Special Olympics and the Lakes and Hills School
Green Isle Boys Ranch
Sunrise ARC Impact 100, for disabled children and adults
Cooper Memorial Library: donation of books on organics and green initiatives
Greater Clermont Cancer Tennis Tournament
Magic Senior Basketball Team (National Champions in the 80+ yrs. Division)
Clermont Middle School FFA agricultural projects
Lake County Teacher Appreciation Breakfast
Organic Grove Tours for Home Schools and other groups
Educational presentations to schools and local organizations
Chamber of Commerce Breakfast
Annual Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament
South Lake Memorial Hospital Golf Tournament
Lake County 4H Citrus Tree Project

For more information, contact:

Uncle Matt’s Organic
P.O. Box 120389
Clermont, FL 34712
Tel.: 352.394.8737