UK study finds organic milk is more nutritious

A new study by Newcastle University proves that organic farmers who let their cows graze as nature intended are producing better quality milk.

The Nafferton Ecological Farming Group study found that grazing cows on organic farms in the UK produce milk which contains significantly higher beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins than their conventional “high input” counterparts.

During the summer months, one of the beneficial fats in particular—conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA9—was found to be 60% higher.
The results of this study are published online in the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture.

“We have known for some time that what cows are fed has a big influence on milk quality,” explained Gillian Butler, livestock project manager for the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group at Newcastle University, who led the study. “What is different about this research is it clearly shows that on organic farms, letting cows graze naturally, using forage-based diet, is the most important reason for the differences in the composition between organic and conventional milk.”

This current research confirms previous studies in the UK, which reported higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids in milk from organic production systems than conventional ones.

CLA, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and carotenoids have all been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

© Copyright July/August 2008, The Organic & Non-GMO Report