M2M Research Areas
Performance of Organic Farming and Food Systems
The leading reason why consumers seek out organic food is to lessen dietary exposure to pesticides. Other often-mentioned reasons include consuming more nutritious food, protecting the environment, improving animal care and welfare, and supporting small farmers.
M2M will apply its analytical systems, and develop new methods, to document the degree to which consumers are getting what they think they are paying for when they select an organic food brand over a conventional one.
In most years, fruits and vegetables account for over 80% of total pesticide dietary risk. Extensive and high-quality data are available on these foods to quantify the level of chronic pesticide risks associated with a serving of organic produce versus the corresponding conventional food. M2M will update its analysis of organic versus conventional food pesticide risks each year when the USDA releases new data on residues in food via the Pesticide Data Program.
M2M will also compile data on the differences in nutrient density in conventional and organic food in published studies, and work with other WSU scientists, in order to more accurately quantify these differences. We will also highlight the many factors that are independent of the choice of farming systems that can drive nutrient density up or down in a given year.
Over time, we will draw on this work to develop a methodology and dataset sufficient to support adjustment factors for incorporation in nutrient profiling systems, so that the impact of organic production on typical, expected nutrient levels will be reflected in relative
nutritional quality scores.