Friday, September 22, 2006

Organic milk is not healthier

Organic milk is not healthier, says food watchdog.

The Food Standards Agency says organic milk does not offer any extra health benefits to conventional milk.

Food watchdogs have rejected claims that expensive organic milk is any healthier than its conventional equivalent.

A succession of studies in Britain and around the world has found higher levels of vital nutrients, particularly omega-3. However, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) yesterday triggered a row with the organic lobby by ruling the milk does not offer any health benefits.

The decision is a body blow to organic dairy farmers, who have seen a boom in sales on the back of a belief that it is healthier, particularly for children.

A three-year study conducted at the Universities of Glasgow and Liverpool found organic milk contained 68per cent more omega-3 fatty acids on average than conventional milk.
Omega-3s are considered to cut consumers' risk of heart disease, and have been linked with better concentration in children.

The findings led 14 scientists from around the world to sign a letter asking the FSA to recognize the nutritional advantages of the milk. Such a pronouncement would have been a huge boost to the standing of organic agriculture and, particularly, organic milk.

However, the FSA yesterday rejected any health benefits following consultations with leading experts. The study dismissed the significance of so called ‘health benefits’ by saying these are of "limited health benefit" compared to the longer chain omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish. “Organic milk consumed in volumes consistent with a healthy diet, would not provide sufficient amounts of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids to provide significant health benefits, over and above those associated with conventional milk."

This study confirms the findings in the book The Milk Imperative which shows that organic milk is as harmful to good health as regular milk. In fact, organic milk can be more harmful to health by encouraging a greater consumption of milk than otherwise. For the full facts go to