Eating Organic May Lower Your Risk for Cancer

December 3, 2018 Updated: December 3, 2018

Can eating organic foods lower your risk for cancer? A recent French study indicates that it just might.

The study looked at the link between eating organic foods and cancer risk. Researchers studied 68,946 French adults from 2009 to 2016 and found that a “significant reduction in the risk of cancer was observed among high consumers of organic food.”

The participants reported their consumption of 16 labeled organic foods and an organic food score was computed by the researchers. They then estimated the cancer risk in association with the organic food score. High organic food scores were associated with a lower cancer risk. The study concluded that “although the study findings need to be confirmed, promoting organic food consumption in the general population could be a promising preventive strategy against cancer.”

“We did expect to find a reduction, but the extent of the reduction is quite important,” Julia Baudry, the study’s lead author and a researcher with the Center of Research in Epidemiology and Statistics Sorbonne Paris Cite of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, told the New York Times. Baudry added that “an organic-based diet could contribute to reducing cancer risk.”

Only a few studies have examined the link between eating organic food and reducing cancer risk. One of those is a 2014 British study that looked at whether eating organic foods reduces the risk of cancer. Researchers looked at 623,080 middle-aged British women who reported their consumption of organic food over a nine-year period. They discovered a link between eating organic food and the reduction of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The International Agency for Cancer Research, an arm of the World Health Organization, classified five organophosphate pesticides as either being probably or possibly carcinogenic to humans in 2015.

Conventionally Grown Produce and Pesticide Residue

How prevalent is pesticide residue on produce? Testing in 2015 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of conventionally grown produce found that 85 percent had pesticide residue “well below” the tolerances established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, the testing proves that pesticide residue exists on much of conventionally grown produce in the United States.

In 2018, testing by the EU’s European Food Safety Authority found that 44 percent of the conventionally grown produce tested had one or more detectable residues of pesticides. Only 6.5 percent of the organic produced tested had residues.

Eating foods labeled as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is the best way to lower exposure to pesticides.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman is a freelance writer armed with a passion for healthy living and a degree in journalism. This article was originally published on