ANCHORAGE - Does organic mean more nutritious? A new study by Stanford University said not necessarily.
Researchers concluded, on average, produce labeled organic didn’t have more nutrients and wasn't any less likely to be contaminated by E. coli.
Local business owners whose stores specialize in organic foods said they’re not buying it – the study that is.
At the Natural Pantry 85 percent of the produce is organic. The owner said she works hard to make sure fruits and vegetables are as fresh as possible, but that’s not always easy in Anchorage.
“Sometimes you'll go out and source something, and they'll sell out before they get the shipment up here. We order in twice a week, sometimes we'll have stuff air freighted in for a certain buy,” said Vikki Solberg, Natural Pantry's owner.
She and her customers said even if the Stanford study is true, nutrition is only one factor.
“I don't eat 100 percent organic, but I do believe in organic because I feel with all the pesticides and herbicides, it's just not good for us,” said Brigitte Ressel, while she shopped for tomatoes.
“Even if the nutrition was totally equal, you're not getting the chemical herbicides and pesticides,” Solberg agreed.
It’s not just Anchorage grocery stores that are trying to stock healthier food. At the restaurant Organic Oasis, 60 percent of the menu is made with organic ingredients.
Owner Steve Plante said his customers can taste the difference. “They notice their peaches are sweeter, not watery with hardly any flavor. They notice their apples are juicier and more succulent. They notice the food is better and they feel better,” said Plante.
Stanford researchers did find conventional fruits and vegetables have more pesticide residue, but most had levels under the allowed safety limits.
Organic Oasis customers said even a little bit is too much.
“We can't be messing around with what nature has already given us. I disagree with that study on a personal level because organic is important, very much so. Not only for us but for the earth,” said Amey Krantz.
The Organic Trade Association reports last year people spent $12.4 billion on organic produce, which is up 12 percent from the year before.