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Study: Organic Meat Puts More Nutrition on Your Plate

Organically-raised cattle produce meat with more omega-3 fatty acids, a compound linked to lowered risks of cardiovascular disease. (wiselywoven/morguefile)
Organically-raised cattle produce meat with more omega-3 fatty acids, a compound linked to lowered risks of cardiovascular disease. (wiselywoven/morguefile)
February 23, 2016

SEATTLE - Researchers who analyzed multiple studies from around the world have concluded organic production of dairy products and meat provides more nutrients for diners.

The findings, in the British Journal of Nutrition, says organic meat and dairy has 50 percent more omega-three fatty acids, which contain nutrients linked to lowered cardiovascular disease risks and improved mental health.

Study coauthor and professor of ecological agriculture at Newcastle University Carlo Leifert explains how organic and conventional foods differ.

"The main difference, with respect to the composition differences we've seen, is the feeding regimes," says Leifert. "The organic standards, they enforce outside grazing and access to the outside; and they restrict, especially for ruminants, concentrate feeds."

Leifert says the research does not conclude that organic foods are healthier only that most studies show they contain an increased level of nutrients.

Washington's green valleys make the state ideal for cattle grazing. Janelle Moses of Holy Cow Grass Fed Beef raises cattle in Wapato.

She says the beef her farm sells is no longer certified organic because of the cost to adhere to the USDA's standards, but her cows are grass fed according to organic guidelines. Moses says consumers feel the effect.

"That's the way they should be raised, on natural foods," says Moses. "Because what they eat is what we eat."

She notes there are downsides to grass-fed cattle.

They need more acreage to graze, which costs more to tend and, as a result, grass-fed beef is often more expensive than conventional beef.



Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA