Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition: A United States-Wide, 18-Month Study

By Charles M. Benbrook, Gillian Butler, Maged A. Latif, Carlo Leifert, and Donald R. Davis

Published in PLoS ONE (available free of charge) on December 9, 2013.


Key Media Coverage:

More Helpful Fatty Acids Found in Organic Milk

Whole milk from organic dairies contains far more of some of the fatty acids that contribute to a healthy heart than conventional milk, scientists are reporting.

The finding, published Monday in the journal PLOS One, is the most clear-cut instance of an organic food’s offering a nutritional advantage over its conventional counterpart. Studies looking at organic fruits and vegetables have been less conclusive…
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Fresh Research Finds Organic Milk Packs In Omega-3s

While milk consumption continues to fall in the U.S., sales of organic milk are on the rise. And now organic milk accounts for about 4 percent of total fluid milk consumption.

For years, organic producers have claimed their milk is nutritionally superior to regular milk. Specifically, they say that because their cows spend a lot more time out on pasture, munching on grasses and legumes rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the animals’ milk is higher in these healthy fats, which are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease…
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Also on All Things Considered.


Researchers document benefits of organic milk

Researchers know that grass and legume forage promotes cow health and improves the fatty acid profile in organic dairy products, but until now they hadn’t measured the difference.

In the first large-scale, nationwide comparison of organic and conventional milk, scientists found that organic has a much more healthful ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids.

Led by a Washington State University researcher, scientists published their findings Dec. 9 in the online journal of the Public Library of Science, a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization…
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New WSU study suggests organic milk may be more heart-healthy

There’s no doubt eating organic food can reduce your exposure to pesticides, but the jury remains out on whether organically grown food is inherently more nutritious than food produced using the full chemical armory of conventional agriculture.

Now, new research from Washington State University (WSU) concludes that when it comes to milk, the organic variety really does have at least one nutritional advantage…
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Organic whole milk provides best heart-health benefits, study says

Scientists who looked at hundreds of samples found that organic whole milk offered more of the fatty acids good for the heart than conventional milk.

“We were quite surprised to see the magnitude of difference in milk from organic farms,” said Charles Benbrook, lead author of the study and a program leader at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University.
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Organic Milk Contains Healthier Balance Of Fatty Acids, Study Finds

Organic milk contains a healthier balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids compared with milk from cows raised on conventionally managed dairy farms, according to a new study.

The healthier fatty acid profile of organic milk is likely a result of cows foraging on grass, the researchers said…
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