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Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Jun;63(4):393-401. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.629602. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

A retail market study of organic and conventional potatoes (Solanum tuberosum): mineral content and nutritional implications.

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Department of Chemistry, Georgetown University, Box 571227, Washington, DC 20057, USA.


Whether or not all foods marketed to consumers as organic meet specified standards for use of that descriptor, or are nutritionally different from conventional foods, is uncertain. In a retail market study in a Western US metropolitan area, differences in mineral composition between conventional potatoes and those marketed as organic were analysed. Potatoes marketed as organic had more copper and magnesium (p < 0.0001), less iron (p < 0.0001) and sodium (p < 0.02), and the same concentration of calcium, potassium and zinc as conventional potatoes. Comparison of individual mineral concentrations between foodstuffs sold as organic or conventional is unlikely to establish a chemical fingerprint to objectively distinguish between organic and conventional produce, but more sophisticated chemometric analysis of multi-element fingerprints holds promise of doing so. Although statistically significant, these differences would only minimally affect total dietary intake of these minerals and be unlikely to result in measurable health benefits.

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