Organic versus Conventionally Grown Produce: Quality Differences, and Guidelines for Comparison Studies

in HortScience
Author: Gene E. Lester1
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  • 1 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center, 2413 East Highway 83, Building 200, Weslaco, TX 78596

Organic and conventional fruits and vegetables contain compounds with important human health promoting effects. Whether fruits and vegetables grown via organic versus conventional production systems are superior in taste and nutrition, at present, is difficult to say with complete certainty. To ascertain possible quality differences and develop a definitive data base, direct comparative studies of organic vs. conventional produce requires following rigorous guidelines which includes 1) appropriate study approaches (retail market vs. farm vs. research center studies), and 2) standardized preharvest production site, harvest procedural, postharvest handling, and analytical methodology constraints.

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