An emptier pocket may be the only difference between buying organic produce instead of the conventional kind which uses pesticide, a recent study has discovered.
Researchers from Stanford University Medical Centre, California, say they have not found any strong evidence to suggest that organic fruit and veg is healthier than others.
In fact, the researchers found that there was no guarantee that organic foods would be free of pesticide, even though it was found to have lower levels than non-organically grown foods.
While many opt for organically grown food with the understanding that this food is healthier, Dr Dena Bravata and his team believe there is very little difference to conventional foods.
While researchers conducted a meta-study - going through thousands of to find the benefits of organic food - they found very little evidence to confirm this. These included studies which looked at the differences between organic and conventional diets, nutrient levels in each, as well as studies which took into account bacterial and fungal counts and which measured pesticide and other chemical contamination of the foods.
The results showed there were no nutritional differences between the foods.
"Some believe that organic food is always healthier and more nutritious. We were a little surprised that we didn’t find that," Crystal Smith- Spangler, a researcher on the project.
What researchers did find was that organic produce tended to be 30 percent less contaminated by pesticides but that "organic" was not a guarantee that it was pesticide-free.
Traces of pesticide found on all food that they reviewed were within regulation limits.
A UK spokesperson for the UK Soil Association pointed out that the US-based study had limited relevance in the UK. If this is true, no doubt this would be the case in South Africa too.
Further criticism points to a belief that researchers would have found more differences had they been better equipped, since while scientific analysis is important, it is not suitable for comparing different crops.