National Pesticide Information Center



Comparing Organic and Conventionally Grown Food


When making the personal decision about whether to buy organic or conventional foods, people may consider the differences in cost, pesticide residue, nutrition and/or environmental impacts.

  • Cost: Organic foods typically cost more than conventional foods. In part, the higher price is related to natural fertilizer and labor-intense pest control tactics. Regulations limit the number of pesticide products available to organic producers.
  • Pesticide Residue: Research has demonstrated that organic fruits and vegetables have smaller amounts of pesticide residue than produce that was grown conventionally. However, pesticide residue is reduced substantially by routine food handling practices such as washing, peeling and cooking.
  • Nutrition: Some research has found higher levels of phenolic compounds and certain vitamins in organic produce. Other research has found no significant difference in the nutritional quality of organic and conventionally grown foods.

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional Resources:

Scientific Literature:

Last updated October 30, 2013