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Nutritional differences between organic and non-organic milk

Category: News
16 February 2016

Ground-breaking new study finds clear nutritional differences between organic and non-organic milk and meat

In the largest systematic reviews of their kind, an international team of experts led by Newcastle University, UK, has shown that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products.

Publishing their findings today in the British Journal of Nutrition, the team say the data show a switch to organic meat and milk would go some way towards increasing our intake of nutritionally important fatty acids.

Newcastle University’s Professor Carlo Leifert, who led the studies, said: “People choose organic milk and meat for three main reasons: improved animal welfare, the positive impacts of organic farming on the environment, and the perceived health benefits. But much less is known about impacts on nutritional quality, hence the need for this study.”

Key findings:

  • both organic milk (dairy) and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products
  • organic meat had slightly lower concentrations of two saturated fats linked to heart disease
  • organic milk and dairy contains 40% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) - CLA has been linked to a range of health benefits including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and obesity, but evidence is mainly from animal studies
  • organic milk and dairy contains slightly higher concentrations of iron, Vitamin E and some carotenoids
  • organic milk contains less iodine than non-organic milk

Visit the Organic Food Quality project website to learn more…

Source Information:

“Higher PUFA and omega-3 PUFA, CLA, a-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic bovine milk: A systematic literature review and meta- and redundancy analysis”. Srednicka-Tober et al. 2016. British Journal of Nutrition. British Journal of Nutrition. Published on line 16 February 2016. Open Access.
“Composition differences between organic and conventional meat; a systematic literature review and meta-analysis”. Srednicka-Tober et al. 2016. British Journal of Nutrition. Published on line 16 February 2016. Open Access.

Keywords: food quality milk

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