I don’t need a study to convince me that I should be buying organic milk for my family. With as much milk as my boys go through, I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want the antibiotics and the hormones that conventional milk contains. I switched to organic milk years ago.


I was pleased to read at The Independent yesterday, however, a study that found that organic milk is actually healthier than its conventional counterpart.

The European Union-funded study analyzed 22 brands sold in supermarkets and found that organic milk had lower levels of harmful saturated fats and more beneficial fatty acids than conventional milk.

The difference seems to come from how the organically raised cows graze. The study suggested that “greater uniformity of feeding practice on farms supplying organic milk” provided consistent quality in organic milk. The “lower reliance on grazing and chemical fertilizers' suppression of clover” was one reason given for the poorer quality of conventional milk.

Really? Cows that are allowed to eat what they are supposed to eat naturally produce better quality milk than cows that eat food unnatural to them or grass that has been sprayed with chemicals. Who could have predicted that outcome?

All sarcastic comments aside, this is good news. A 2009 study in Britain found that organic produce wasn’t any more nutritious than conventional produce. (The study didn’t address that non-organic produce often contains toxins and chemicals that organics don’t.) The U.K. has seen a drop in organic sales in the past two years, partly because of that study and partly because of the economy.

A 2010 California study, however, found that organic strawberries have a higher nutritional value than conventional strawberries.

I imagine that we’ll see studies for years to come arguing that organics are healthier and that organics are no healthier. I’m going with commonsense. The lack of pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in organic dairy, produce and meat make them automatically healthier in my book. If it turns out these products contain more nutrition, too, it’s a bonus, but I don’t need that proof as incentive to keep purchasing a lot of the food that my family eats in organic form.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Good news for organic milk drinkers
A new study shows that organic milk is healthier than conventional milk.