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The difference between organic milk and non-organic milk

Posted: 24 June 2020 | | No comments yet

Ningjing Lui of Wageningen University & Research describes the specific composition properties of organic and non-organic milk in a hope to prevent food fraud.

milking a cow

What’s the difference between organic milk and non-organic milk? In a new study, Ningjing Lui of Wageningen University & Research has undertaken research that may shed some light on the distinction and help prevent organic fraud.

Organic product demand has been steadily rising, and organic milk has seen increased popularity in the last decade. Due to increased demand and strict requirements for organic production, the sector is unable to meet demand, the research suggests. As production costs are higher, organic milk is also more expensive than ‘regular’ milk, and therefore, according to Lui, it is more vulnerable to fraud. For example, non-organic milk could be sold as organic milk, thereby achieving illegal profits that undermine fair trade.

Around 33 percent of the organic products sold in supermarkets and approximately 18 percent of the organic products sold in health food stores are suspected of fraud, the research states.

Lui’s research demonstrates that the quality of milk is influenced by a range of factors, including seasons, environment, lactation stage, feed and breed of cow. This makes it tricky to determine the differences between organic and ‘regular’ milk. But being able to establish the difference is an important tool in fraud prevention.

The research has shown that the composition of fatty acids and volatiles of organic milk and non-organic milk differs – and the season plays an interesting role. Pasture milk (milk from cows with pasture grazing but not organic) is more like regular milk in winter and more like organic milk in composition in summer. The type of feed in summer and winter appears to determine the differences in the composition of milk from organic and regular production.

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