Organic food is not healthier or more nutritious than conventionally produced food, according to a review commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Looking at 50 years of published studies, researchers said there was not enough evidence to prove any additional health or nutritional benefits to consumers from eating organic.
'This study does not mean that people should not eat organic food,' said FSA director of consumer choice Gill Fine.
'What it shows is that there is little, if any, nutritional difference between organic and conventionally produced food and that there is no evidence of additional health benefits from eating organic food.'
Lack of research
Researchers could only identify 11 studies relating to the health content of organic food and admitted the current evidence base was, 'extremely limited both in terms of the number of studies and the quality of studies found'.
They found more studies on nutritional content but said, 'examination of this scattered evidence indicates a need for further high-quality research in this field.'
The Soil Association, the leading voice of the organic sector in the UK, said the FSA failed to include the results from a major EU-funded study which found higher levels of 'nutritionally desirable compounds' in organic crops.
They also criticised the FSA for ignoring the issue of pesticide residues and their possible long-term effect on human health.
An FSA spokeswoman said the study was done in response to consumer confusion over the possible nutritional benefits of eating organic and that pesticide contamination was not in the review's remit.
FSA Organic Review