Stiftung Warentest: organic not necessarily better

According to Stiftung Warentest, organic foods are not necessarily healthier than non-organic products.

(01.06.2010) Organic food is more expensive and gives the consumer a good feeling. But the results of the eight-year quality study carried out by the Stiftung Warentest also show other results. Organic food is not always healthier than conventional products. In total, the Stiftung Warentest had carried out 85 food tests in the past eight years.

In the study, the following criteria were particularly important when evaluating the products: How much pollutants are in the food, what is the taste, are there germs and how is environmental protection in production and packaging observed? The price also played an important role in the evaluation.

To start with, organic products are no worse than conventionally produced products. But consumers actually assume that at least organic products are always significantly better. A big disadvantage of organic products is clearly the high price. Individual products were up to 50 percent more expensive than the same "normal" goods. But organic products are still unbeatable when it comes to pollution. Fresh goods such as fruit and vegetables were often rated "very good" in this category. No residues of pesticides could be detected in 75 percent of the products. The organic producers would also be more committed to environmental protection. Organic whole milk products and seasoning oils achieved top marks in all tests.

But the products of conventional manufacturers are getting better and better. This is primarily a result of the success of organic goods. Manufacturers are increasingly avoiding artificial flavors and unhealthy preservatives. It was observed that, on the one hand, conventional products were cheaper and, on the other hand, they could keep up well with organic products on the rating scale or were even rated the same.

Conclusion of the results: Organic products are not always healthier or tastier. In both categories, ratings such as "very good" but also "poor" were awarded. Whoever spends more money on organic products primarily cares for the environment and also calms their social conscience. Organic producers dispense with factory farming, take care of ecological cultivation and trade with partners on a "fair" basis. "Fair" in this context means that coffee farmers, for example, actually benefit from the higher price of the product. Because in six out of seven organic coffees tested, the higher price was actually passed on. With fresh products such as fruit and vegetables or milk, organic products are far ahead in terms of taste and ingredients. For other organic products, consumers should check beforehand whether a higher price is actually justified. All other results can be read in detail in the new editions of "Stiftung Warentest". (sb)

Also read:
Attractiveness through fruits and vegetables?
Food additives causing illness?

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