Organic apples are not only better for the environment but they also taste better, so reveal US scientists this week, the BBC reports. Researchers from Washington State University found that organic apples were rated highest for sweetness by amateur tasting panels. They reported: "Escalating production costs, heavy reliance on non-renewable resources, reduced biodiversity, water contamination, chemical residues in food, soil degradation and health risks to farm workers handling pesticides all bring into question the sustainability of conventional farming systems." The team, led by Dr John Reganold, compared organic, integrated and conventional systems of growing apples in experimental plots over a five-year period. It measured the "sustainability indicators of soil quality, horticultural performance, orchard profitability, environmental quality and energy efficiency". They assessed horticultural performance by measuring fruit yields, size and grade; tree growth; leaf and fruit mineral contents; fruit maturity; and consumer taste preference. The authors conclude: "Our results show that organic and integrated apple production systems in Washington state are not only better for soil and the environment than their conventional counterpart. They also have comparable yields and, for the organic system, higher profits and greater energy efficiency." Full findings are published in April 19 issue of Nature magazine.