A new study by Stanford University research suggests that organic products aren’t necessarily more nutritional than conventional varieties, and they are still subject to disease-causing microbes like E. coli. It was thought than organic products were always safer and contained more nutrition than non-organic foods. Organic foods are grown without pesticides or reliance on antibiotics and growth hormones to boost yields. Organic farmers also use natural-based fertilizers, like manure, and raise livestock in less confined spaces. Some growers say tjese are key contributors to a healthier and sometimes more nutritious product. Consumers who buy organic have been willing to pay up to twice as much for foods with organic labels. But the latest results, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest that buyers could be wasting their money.  According to the researchers, there was no strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or healthier than conventional foods. All foods seem to have a similar risk of contamination with bacteria, so consumers shouldn’t assume that one type of food has a lower risk or is safer. Both are equally likely to be contaminated. The researchers conducted a review of 17 studies that compared health outcomes between consumers of organic versus conventional food products and 223 studies that analyzed the nutritional content of the foods, including vitamins, minerals and fats. While the researchers found little difference in nutritional content, they did find that organic fruits and vegetables were 30% less likely to have pesticide residue than conventional ones. This is understandable since organic farmers depend less on synthetic pest-control methods. Neither organic nor conventional foods showed levels of pesticides high enough to exceed acceptable limits. Next time you go tothe grocery, weigh the cost differential to determine if "organic" is worth it.   Yours in good health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist