New study shows attacks on organic produce by agribusiness lobbyists are wrong
Mycotoxins are toxins produced by moulds that can cause disease and death in humans and animals. They can colonise crops and thus regulators worldwide set limits for the amount that is allowed to be present in food and feed.
For years, pro-Big Ag lobbyists have claimed that organic produce is more likely than chemically grown produce to contain mycotoxins, since organic farming uses less, or less “effective”, fungicides.
But a new study finds that not surprisingly, this is nonsense. The authors measured mycotoxins in organic vs conventionally produce. They found that “Despite no use of fungicides, an organic system appears generally able to maintain mycotoxin contamination at low levels.”
This study did not look at mycotoxin levels in GM crops.
Mycotoxins in organically versus conventionally produced cereal grains and some other crops in temperate regions
G. Brodal, I.S. Hofgaard, G.S. Eriksen, A. Bernhoft and L. Sundheim
World Mycotoxin Journal 9(5):1-16, June 2016
This paper presents peer-reviewed studies comparing the content of deoxynivalenol (DON), HT-2+T-2 toxins, zearalenone (ZEA), nivalenol (NIV), ochratoxin A (OTA) and fumonisins in cereal grains, and patulin (PAT) in apple and apple-based products, produced in organically and conventionally grown crops in temperate regions. Some of the studies are based on data from controlled field trials, however, most are farm surveys and some are food basket surveys. Almost half of the studies focused on DON in cereals. The majority of these studies found no significant difference in DON content in grain from the two farming systems, but several studies showed lower DON content in organically than in conventionally produced cereals. A number of the investigations reported low DON levels in grain, far below the EU limits for food. Many authors suggested that weather conditions, years, locations, tillage practice and crop rotation are more important for the development of DON than the type of farming. Organically produced oats contained mainly lower levels of HT-2+T-2 toxins than conventionally produced oats. Most studies on ZEA reported no differences between farming systems, or lower concentrations in organically produced grain. For the other mycotoxins in cereals, mainly low levels and no differences between the two farming systems were reported. Some studies showed higher PAT contamination in organically than in conventionally produced apple and apple products. The difference may be due to more efficient disease control in conventional orchards. It cannot be concluded that any of the two farming systems increases the risk of mycotoxin contamination. Despite no use of fungicides, an organic system appears generally able to maintain mycotoxin contamination at low levels. More systematic comparisons from scientifically controlled field trials and surveys are needed to clarify if there are differences in the risk of mycotoxin contamination between organically and conventionally produced crops.
Mycotoxins in organically versus conventionally produced cereal grains and some other crops in temperate regions. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304562681_Mycotoxins_in_organically_versus_conventionally_produced_cereal_grains_and_some_other_crops_in_temperate_regions?focusedCommentId=5935c57f82999cd4857057f1