Nick von Westenholz, CEO of the CPA said: "Whilst this study points to slightly higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticide residues in organic produce when compared to conventional these differences are relatively small, for example, a typical residue of 0.1mg/kg is equivalent to a fly on a ten ton truck.
"What is important is that people have a healthy, well-balanced diet which is high in fruit and vegetables, whether conventionally grown or otherwise. In regards to pesticide residues, year on year, results show that no consumers are exposed to residues at levels that threaten their health. Regulators have repeatedly confirmed that low levels of residues in food are safe for consumers.
"Over 97% of UK farms are conventional and these farms produce crops that are healthy, affordable and safe. It is important that consumers aren't given unnecessary cause for concern that my lead to them questioning the safety of their food and reducing their consumption of fruit and vegetables as a result, potentially causing a health deficit. The use of pesticides in conventional agriculture can support healthy choices by ensuring we have access to a safe and affordable source of fruit and vegetables.
"We are currently facing up to a global food security challenge which requires us to feed a rapidly growing population whilst making the most efficient use of natural resources. Organic farming is a lower-yield agriculture (studies indicate that organic yields are 34% lower when conventional and organic systems are at their most comparable) and this means that more un-cropped land would need to be brought back into production in order to maintain or increase yields, with clear consequences for wildlife and the environment.
"Pesticides and conventional agriculture are part of the solution and not part of the problem with regard to sustainable production, food security and healthy diets."