Two new papers just published in the British Journal of Nutrition are analyses of existing studies that compare conventional vs organic milk, and conventional vs organic red meat. Both studies found clear differences between organic meat and milk compared to conventional milk and meat, with the organic milk and meat best health-wise, especially due to differences in fatty acids. The researchers stated: "organic bovine (cow) milk has a more desirable fatty acid composition than conventional milk".
Some of the differences may be due to organic milk and beef coming from cattle that graze on grass (organic farming standards require grazing/forage-based diets), while most conventional milk and beef come from cows subsisting on grain. Beneficial omega-3 is much more prevalent in grass than in grain, which is why organic livestock and milk also contain higher levels, while omega-6 levels were lower in organic meat and dairy.
The researchers did not look at antioxidant, vitamin and mineral concentrations between the meat groups because there weren't enough studies to look at. Two years ago, Dr. Leifert led a similar review for fruits and vegetables that found organic produce had higher levels of some antioxidants and less pesticide residue than conventionally grown crops. From Medical Xpress:
In the largest study of its kind, an international team of experts led by Newcastle University, UK, has shown that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products. Analyzing data from around the world, the team reviewed 196 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat and found clear differences between organic and conventional milk and meat, especially in terms of fatty acid composition, and the concentrations of certain essential minerals and antioxidants. ...continue reading "Clear Differences Between Organic and Non-Organic Milk and Meat"