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Wednesday 6 September 2006

“The claim that organic milk is richer in omega-3s than conventional milk - and therefore better for us - is a lot of bull.”
Alex Avery

The popular press is going cow-wild over research that supposedly proves ‘organic’ milk is healthier than ‘conventional’ milk. Not quite. Just as two cents might be twice as much as a penny, neither amounts to wealth.

The issue is omega-3 fatty acids, found abundantly in oily fish (such as salmon, herring and cod), fish oil, walnut and flaxseed oil. Omega-3s have been thought to protect against cancer and heart disease, though the scientific evidence for these benefits has been thin and somewhat elusive.

Now a group of researchers – funded by the organic industry – is claiming that milk from 19 ‘conventional’ farms only contains 60 per cent as much omega-3s as milk from 17 ‘organic’ farms. They claim the finding is ‘significant’, and the press believed it. One newspaper headline in the UK declared: ‘Organic milk: it looks good, it tastes good and by golly they’ve proved it does you good.’

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