Organic fruits and vegetables may not be more nutritious than regular produce, according to a new study from Stanford University. But even if they don’t necessarily have more vitamins, that doesn’t mean they’re not more healthy — a regular apple or strawberry is much more likely to be coated with pesticide residue.

Media outlets have been quick to say there’s no benefit to organic food; from U.S. News to the Huffington Post, headlines read as variations of “Organic food is no healthier than conventional food.” That isn’t quite accurate. In the Stanford study, 38 percent of conventional produce tested positive for pesticide residue. In a few cases, the pesticide was above the safety limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Even if it’s below the “safe threshold,” some may wonder whether eating any amount of pesticide is really safe.

Three studies published last year (from Columbia University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Mount Sinai Hospital) all found that pregnant women exposed to higher amounts of pesticides were more likely to have children with lower IQs. Organic meat is also less likely to contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can also cause disease.

It also isn’t quite true that there’s no nutritional benefit to eating organic produce, which contains more phosphorus than conventional food, as well as more phenols, which are believed to help prevent cancer. Particular foods may have more benefits, as well. Another study found that organic strawberries contain more vitamin C.

Overall, the study was clear that other factors, like ripeness, have the most influence on the nutritional content of fruit. A very ripe plum is most likely to be packed with vitamins. Still, I’d rather eat an organic plum than one grown with pesticides. Why? It goes beyond what’s on the fruit itself. Pesticides pollute drinking water. They also pollute air, posing risks to farm workers and often drifting long distances away. They kill birds and other wildlife, and may be behind the collapse of bee populations. Along with synthetic fertilizer, pesticides are energy-intensive to manufacture, and also contribute to climate change.

I’ll be in the organic aisle.

Main photo credit: Adele Peters