Submitted to: National Meeting of Institute of Food Technologists/Food Expo
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2006
Publication Date: 6/28/2006
Citation: Plotto, A. 2006. Addressing the quality value of organic foods to satisfy a dynamic organic market. National Meeting of Institute of Food Technologists/Food Expo. Session No. 108. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: As the organic food market continues to grow in the United States, debates will likely intensify over whether organic foods are safer and more nutritious than their conventional counterparts, and hence worth premium prices. An extensive review published by The Organic Center shows that on average, the levels of antioxidants are 30% higher in organic produce than in conventional crops. Another review reveals that mycotoxins are less prevalent in well-managed organic crops, compared to conventional crops, grown with high levels of nitrogen and treated with fungicides. Two European studies have shown that rats fed with a diet of food grown organically, or with minimal fertilizer and pesticide inputs, had healthier immune systems than rats fed with the conventional counterpart of the same crops. In this symposium, we will discuss factors that should be measured in evaluating the impact of crop production systems on food quality and particularly nutritional value, as well as which experimental approaches and analytical concepts will produce the most robust and useful insights into the basis of food quality. Comparative data from horticultural crops grown using different production systems will be presented to illustrate the state of research today. Research on tomatoes, bell peppers and grapefruit will highlight qualitative differences observed in the color, texture, flavor, storability and nutritional value of crops produced organically and conventionally. The importance of a rigorous experimental design and statistical means for comparison of commercial scale and controlled university research plots will be discussed.