Inspired living

The organic difference


Every so often people opposed to the notion of changing the way we farm to a more long-term, sustainable approach say things amounting to, “there’s no evidence that organic food is any better anyway”. When we say “organic” we can read “conscious, caring, sustainable” farming and the answer to statements like that one is “bollocks”, but that probably won’t carry the day in any argument. So it is very useful when a big study comes along that says, guess what, organic milk and meat is nutritionally superior to the equivalent that is conventionally farmed.

The study was led by Newcastle University (UK) and examined 196 previous studies on milk and 67 studies on meat. The studies drew on data from around the world and the aggregated findings were significant.

We know that omega-3 fats are important for nervous system development, immune function, and to reduce heart disease risk. The results showed that organic milk contained significantly more omega-3 fat than conventionally produced milk. Half a litre of organic full fat milk contains about 39 mg of omega-3 (that’s 16 per cent of the daily requirement) whereas conventionally raised milk contains about 25mg of omega-3 (about 11 per cent of the RDI).

On top of that organic meat had lower levels of the saturated fatty acids myristic and palmitic acid. Organic milk also contains higher levels of fat soluble vitamins (vitamin E and carotenoids) as well as 40 per cent more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been associated with lowering body fat levels.

The more desirable fat profiled in organic milk and meat were closely associated with outdoor grazing and low concentrate feeding of the cattle as is prescribed by organic farming standards.

As far as organic, sustainable farming goes when it comes to future farming we need to stop arguing about the “why” and the \”if\” start looking at the “how”.


Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.