Organic food and milk was promoted heavily in 1999 and 2000 due to the number of health scares such as BSE and the misuse of antibiotics and pesticides by dodgy farmers and producers.
The government, producers, suppliers and retailers then began the shift towards going organic and the result of this activity was a surge in the number of farmers converting to organic production. The supply of organic milk increased rapidly in response to market demand and financial support to convert to organic farming methods that do not use artificial pesticides (insecticides, fungicides or herbicides) on pastures where cows graze. Organic cows are not fed GM cattle feed. This means that there is no possibility of GM or solvent residues being found in organic milk. It has been estimated that in the UK and the USA, our bodies contain traces of at minimum 300 potentially harmful chemicals absorbed from our food. Eating organically grown food and drinking organic milk is an easy way for people to avoid these chemicals.
The popular press is going cow-wild over research that supposedly proves organic milk is healthier than conventional milk. Lets look into this a bit deeper.
Organic milk has all the nutritional goodness of non-organic milk but due to the cows more natural diet, it also has some additional health benefits such as higher levels of vitamin A, E and antioxidants.
The main issue that the organic milk industry is advertising is the high content of omega-3 fatty acids, found abundantly in oily fish (such as salmon, herring and cod) and walnut and fish oil. Omega-3s have been thought to protect against cancer and heart disease. This high content is great news as most people in the UK are deficient in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are also essential for maintaining supple and flexible joints, healthy growth and strong bones and teeth.
But are these benefits just empty nutritional superiority claims? Many commentators argue that the amount of Omega 3 is that small that people should eat fish at least once a month instead, and that buying organic milk for this purpose is nonsense.
The British Food Standards Agency says it will review the matter but has yet to be convinced that organic milk is any more nutritious than non organic milk. The lack of conclusive scientific research on the nutritional benefits of organic milk could lead to negativity in the overall organic market.
My thoughts are this.you pay an organic price premium but you could be getting extra Vitamins, Omega 3, non-GM contaminated milk plus supporting your green lifestyle and a traditional way of farming. On that, I for one am prepared to pay extra and will continue to drink organic milk.