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Organic milk: does it confer health benefits?

Butler, G. and Stergiadis, S. ORCID: (2020) Organic milk: does it confer health benefits? In: Givens, I. (ed.) Milk and Dairy Foods: Their Functionality in Human Health and Disease. Academic Press, London, UK, pp. 121-143. ISBN 9780128156049

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Organic dairying strives to be sustainable, combining modern science, technology and innovation with traditional farming practices as well as lessons from nature—to produce high quality, nutritious food. As such, certain aspects of managing dairy cows are controlled by organic standards, not least their feeding—a relatively high dependence on grazing and other forage feeds, including widespread use of clovers, does differentiate the nutritional composition of organic dairy products compared with milk from more intensive systems. Although most support of potential health benefits from organic products focuses on enhanced fat composition (more of the beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants, less of those likely to challenge health), there is also a small and growing evidence base showing these nutritional differences are reflected in health indicators and population health. As well as nutritional superiority of their dairy products, a preventative approach to disease control and restricted use of antibiotics under organic practices, will also contribute to our health, as it slows the progress of antimicrobial resistance, prolonging antibiotics’ efficacy. However, dairy production with low (or no) antibiotic use and forage feeding are not the sole preserve of organic registration—although inspection and certification offers confidence in tracing the provenance of the food on offer. There are many organic and nonorganic farms taking sustainable dairying to the next level—producing high-quality milk from grazing cows, without nitrogen fertiliser or any concentrate feeds and minimal antibiotic use—identifying this elixir is the consumers’ challenge.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Animal Sciences > Animal, Dairy and Food Chain Sciences (ADFCS)- DO NOT USE
ID Code:90078
Publisher:Academic Press

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