Farm Table says:
A comparison of the nutritional value and food safety of organically and conventionally produced wheat flours.
Worldwide, the emphasis is increasingly being put on the relationship between food, nutrition, and health Such combined awareness raises public concern over the quality and safety of foods, which, in turn, continuously increases demand for organically produced food. Organic farming is the practice of growing crops without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, relying mainly on crop rotation, organic fertilizers and plant-based pesticides to maintain soil productivity.
Therefore, this research aimed to compare nutritional quality and food safety of organic wheat flours (OWFs) and conventional wheat flours (CWFs) at the retail level, as representative of consumer purchases.
This study revealed that organic agriculture has the potential to produce products with some relevant improvements in terms of contents of high-quality proteins and microelements as well as with the reduction of contamination with toxic elements and mycotoxins. However, it should be underlined that this study compared commercially available organic and conventional wheat flours, while did not take into account confounding factors.
• Organic production had a negative influence on the protein content of wheat flours, but better protein digestibility was observed in OWFs compared to CWFs.
• Organically produced wheat flours were shown to contain significantly higher amounts of K, Zn and Mo and significantly lower levels of Ca, Mn and Fe in comparison to conventional wheat flours.
• Concentration of toxic elements (i.e. Al, As, Cd and Pb) was found to be consistently lower in wheat flours produced under organic as compared to a conventional management system.
• Average mycotoxin contamination of organic wheat flour appeared to be lower but not significant as compared to conventional flours.
To enable assessment of the nutritional quality of the foodstuffs in relation to their growing environment and mode of production, well-controlled long-term field trials, which provide explicit and detailed information on production methods, would be particularly valuable. The presented results were part of the basket study, which compares samples of organically and conventionally produced food as available to the consumer from retail outlets. Thus, the possible environmental consequences of organic and conventional agricultural practices were beyond the scope of this study.