Quality of Organic & Conventional Foods

Background and methodology
This report is a review of literature on the comparative quality of organically versus conventionally grown food written by Tina Finesilver in collaboration with Prof. Timothy Johns and Prof. Stuart B. Hill. According to the authors, copies of the materials reviewed for this report are stored in the Ecological Agriculture Projects office, Mcdonald College. A summary of their findings is as follows.

Nitrogen from organic fertilizer often is released slowly. Conventional fertilizing practices could possibly result in higher crude protein content but poorer quality protein than organic practices. According to the authors, sufficient data does not exist to support or reject this prediction. The large amount of variables affecting vitamins and mineral composition of plants has made it very difficult to draw conclusions on the effect of agricultural practices on these parameters of food quality. Evidence for increased disease resistance, productivity or fertility of animals feeding on organically grown fodder is largely anecdotal. The results in the scientific literature show no consistent pattern for sensory quality between organically and conventionally grown produce, although there is evidence that organically grown potatoes taste better than conventionally grown after a period of storage.

Finesilver, T, Johns, T & Hill, S. B. (1989). Comparison of food quality of organically versus conventionally grown plant foods. Ecological Agriculture Projects 38, (http://eap.mcgill.ca/Publications/eEAP38.htm).