Greener Pastures: Study Shows Organic Milk Healthier than Conventional
A recent study published in the Journal of Dairy Science by a group of British scientists showed that organic milk had higher percentages of heart-healthy fatty acids than the regular stuff. Gillian Butler of Newcastle University, who led the study, told Sustainable Food News that by choosing organic, consumers in the U.K. can reduce artery-clogging saturated fats in their milk by 30 to 50 percent and still get the same level of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
Confirming a study undertaken in the United States in 2006 by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Butler's team found that low levels of "good" fats were attributable to the cows' conventional diet, which typically is low in fresh grass. In Britain (and in the United States beginning one year ago) organic milk cows get a significant amount of their nutrition from fresh pasture. In the United States, the vast majority of conventional cows are kept in confinement and fed hay, silage, and grain rations. Most never feel grass under their hooves.
As Tom Philpott at Grist wrote, "One way to sum up the study is this: by switching away from grass as the chief feed for lactating cows, we've stripped vital nutrients out of our diets."