Organic Food & Cancer Risk

November 12, 2018 • 1 min read
Summary

Organic food is less likely than non-organic food to be contaminated with pesticide residues and is associated with lower cancer risk.

What is the potential relationship between cancer risk and consuming organic food? A new JAMA Internal Medicine journal article explored this topic, covering a population-based cohort study of nearly 70,000 French adults.

As part of the study, participants provided information on how often they consumed organic food: “never,” “occasionally,” or “most of the time.” Researchers used the data to calculate an organic food score that fell between 0 and 32 points. With a follow-up in spring 2009 and again in fall 2016, researchers from the study ultimately concluded that high organic food scores were inversely associated with the overall risk of cancer, suggesting increased organic food consumption is connected to a lower risk of cancer.

When a particular food is labeled as a “USDA certified organic food,” this means that the growing and processing of its ingredients was consistent with various federal regulations, including:

  • Soil quality
  • Pest and weed control
  • Use of additives

Controlling these processes ensures that the products grown under organic regulation assume a certain quality. Organic food is less likely than non-organic food to be contaminated with pesticide residues, which is likely part of the foundation connecting organic food consumption with lower cancer risk.

Read the full study from JAMA Internal Medicine.

Learn more about organic farming.

Watch our Organic & Sustainable Farming animation.

Read more about USDA certified organic foods.

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