AAP Clinical Report on Organic Foods
The recent clinical report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) evaluates the health and environmental “advantages and disadvantages” of organic and highlights many diverse attributes of organic food and farming (see OTA’s press release). This report comes on the heels of a Stanford University meta-analysis that examined similar questions. OTA is monitoring mainstream media coverage, and unfortunately, once again, the inclination to be sensational has led to misleading headlines about the AAP conclusions. In response, OTA has prepared the following talking points for your reference and use, and urges you to share them with your customers and post them to your websites.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) confirms the health benefits driving consumers to organic – lower pesticide residues, lower chance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Consumer research shows that American families choose organic foods to reduce their exposure to pesticides and avoid antibiotics in the food supply, and that perceived health concerns also include the health of our soil, water, air and the wider environment.
- Emerging research has shown that there IS a difference between organic milk and milk produced using synthetic hormones or that from cows raised in confinement.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) confirms the health benefits driving consumers to organic – lower pesticide residues, lower chance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
AAP’s clinical report, released to provide guidance to pediatricians working with parents and their children, noted that:
Organic produce contains fewer pesticide residues than conventional produce does, and thus consuming a diet of organic produce reduces human exposure to pesticides.
- The U.S. President’s Cancer Panel Report released in May 2010 exhorted consumers to choose food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones to help decrease their exposure to environmental chemicals that can increase their risk of contracting cancer.
- In June 2012 in Canada, the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) released a warning to the public to avoid exposure to pesticides wherever possible in its “2012 Systematic Review of Pesticide Health Effects.” Based on 142 studies, the study report highlights the links between neurological deficits, respiratory diseases, and reproductive problems resulting from human exposure to common agricultural and cosmetic pesticides. Key findings included in the review show newborns experiencing abnormal reflexes, deficits in attentiveness to stimuli and irritability as a consequence to prenatal pesticide exposure. Other documented effects of exposure in children included reductions in mental development, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), asthma, and reduced overall IQ.
Organic animal husbandry prohibiting the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics has the potential to reduce human disease caused by drug-resistant organisms.
- The American Medical Association in June 2001 adopted a resolution opposing the use of antimicrobials at non-therapeutic levels in agriculture, or as pesticides or growth promoters, and urged that such uses be ended or phased out based on scientifically sound risk assessments.
- Public health authorities have increasingly linked low-level antibiotic use in conventionally raised livestock directly to greater numbers of people contracting infections that resist treatment with the same drugs. Studies have verified that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are widespread in commercial meats and poultry in the United States The studies show evidence that the routine use of antibiotics to enhance growth in farm animals can encourage the growth of drug-resistant bacteria, which may threaten and compromise people’s ability to fight off infections.
Organic produce offers more total phenols, vitamin C and phosphorus, and fewer nitrates than conventional food.
Consumer research shows that American families choose organic foods to reduce their exposure to pesticides and avoid antibiotics in the food supply, and that perceived health concerns also include the health of our soil, water, air and the wider environment.
- Consumers seeking to minimize their exposure to pesticide residues will find that foods bearing the USDA Organic label are the gold standard. This is because organic foods have the least chemicals applied in their production and the least residues in the final products.
- Organic livestock practices forbid the use of antibiotics, including the routine use of low level antibiotics for growth. As a result, organic meat contains less antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- OTA’s 2011 Attitudes and Beliefs Study cites reducing exposure to pesticides and avoiding antibiotics in the food supply as top reasons for choosing organic.
- Choosing organic also helps to reduce exposure to synthetic fertilizers, GMOs, antibiotics, irradiation and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Moreover, choosing organic supports a system of sustainable agriculture and protects farmers and farmers’ families from exposure to harmful chemicals. In this sense, buying organic is a commitment to the bigger, more complex picture of which our personal health is a part.
Emerging research has shown that there IS a difference between organic milk and milk produced using synthetic hormones or that from cows raised in confinement.
- Studies have linked the increased levels of insulin-like growth factor in milk produced from cows given synthetic bovine growth hormones to increased risk of cancer (see OTA Fact Sheet).
- Even the recent meta-analysis by Stanford University researchers cited organic milk’s high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to convey health benefits.
- Organically raised cows in the United States must be raised on pasture, as opposed to confinement. This means they are raised in a manner that supports good health and promotes natural behavior.
- Organic production ensures that the animals are fed 100% organic feed. This requires that there not be any use of genetic engineering, toxic or persistent pesticides, or sewage sludge to produce feed on the land.
Source: Organic Trade Association, Oct. 25, 2012