12 January - 20 June 2016

Composition differences between organic and conventional meat and milk

Research published recently in the British Journal of Nutrition by food scientists based all over Europe documents the compositional differences between organically farmed and conventional meat and dairy products and discusses the nutritional benefit of eating organically, aside from decreased pesticide exposure.

Organically farmed produce has become increasingly popular over the last decade and there was a perception that dairy and meat products from organically reared livestock are better for us than products from livestock.

Research published recently in the British Journal of Nutrition by food scientists based all over Europe documents the compositional differences between organically farmed and conventional meat and dairy products and discusses the nutritional benefit of eating organically, aside from decreased pesticide exposure. Researchers looked at levels of a number of commonly monitored nutrients such as antioxidants and minerals and observed broadly that there were no significant differences. However, the fatty acid profiles obtained from organically produced meat and milk were shown to be quite different to those produced using non-organic methods, with higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids and beneficial long chain n-3 fatty acids (EPA, DPA and DHA) in the organic products; fatty acids of this nature have been shown to protect against cardio vascular disease Milk produced from organically farmed livestock was also shown to include higher levels of iron and alpha-tocopherols, but lower levels of selenium and iodine. It is thought that the variation in nutrients between organically and conventionally produced meat and milk is mainly due to grazing and feeding practices used in organic farming.

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