Is Organic Milk Healthier?
A new study funded by the European Union compared the fat composition of retail milk produced through conventional methods and milk produced using an organic approach.
The study, conducted by a team of researchers at Newcastle University’s School of Agriculture, indicated that organic milk has much higher concentrations of nutritionally desirable fatty acids than milk from conventional production systems, as well as containing lower levels of saturated fat. Although the overall fat content was similar in both types of milk tested, the organic milk showed evidence of more “healthy” fats.
Researchers began by collecting as many brands as possible of whole, fresh milk available in supermarkets and other retail outlets in northeast England between August 2006 and January 2008. Out of 124 milk types purchased, 88 samples from 22 brands, 12 from conventional production and 10 organic, were analyzed during the course of the study. The samples represented milk produced in both summer and winter seasons.
The findings reveal a beneficial component of organic farming: grazing. Organic farming relies on natural foraging, which means more wild grasses and clover in the cow’s diet, altering the fatty acid composition of the milk.
By choosing organic milk you can cut saturated fats by 30-50 percent and still get the same intake of beneficial fatty acids, as the omega-3 levels are higher but omega-6 is not, which helps to improve the crucial ratio between the two.