Performance of Organic Farming and Food Systems

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One of M2M’s Dietary Risk Index Analytical System calculators, comparing pesticide residues found in conventional crops to those found in organic crops.

The leading reason why most consumers first 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 plans to 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, a non-GMO verified, or a “humanely raised” animal product, in contrast to conventional products.

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.