Is organic food healthier?

After publishing a study showing organic milk has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than ordinarily farmed products, Professor Chris Seal braced himself for the backlash. There is nothing like a study highlighting the benefits, or lack thereof, of organic food, to cause a spat. And Seal’s study in the British Journal of Nutrition last week (alongside another by him on meat that also shows higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids) certainly has its detractors.

The fact that the study was funded by the Sheepdrove Trust, a British charity that supports organic farming, hasn’t helped. Seal says the money paid for analysis only, and that the charity didn’t have any input into the research. The study, a meta-analysis of 196 papers on milk (the other looked at 36 studies on meat), found that organic-grass-fed cows produced milk with 50% more omega-3 fatty acids than that from ordinary dairy cows. These fatty acids are linked to reductions in heart disease. But, while 50% sounds like a lot, full-fat milk is only 4% fat (semi skimmed is 2%) so this translates to an tiny amount more fatty acid in organic milk. Seal argues that if you added in organic cheese and butter, this would increase. But others point out you could get more nutritional benefit buying fruit and vegetables than hoovering up organic dairy produce.

Source  - Guardian