Quality of Milk from Organic vs Conventional Systems in South-eastern Mexico

Abstract: Organic agriculture and livestock farming is claimed to promote animal welfare and can offer animal products with better hygienic-sanitary quality, based on principles of health, ecology, fairness, and care. However, no clear advantages of organic milk (OM) versus conventional milk (CM) from tropical conditions are available. The aims of the study were to determine fatty acid profile, health-promoting (HPI) and thrombogenic (TI) indices, physicochemical composition, and somatic cell counts (SCC) of OM and CM in tropical south-eastern Mexico. Female cross-breed cows (400-600 kg) were employed. CM had larger values of saturated fatty acids (SFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) (63.6 %; 4.57 %) than OM (61.48 %; 4.22 %), while OM resulted in a larger value of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) (34.3 %) than CM (31.7 %). HPI and TI showed that OM was more favorable than CM. Milk production and physicochemical composition (PC) as well as density had no significant difference, while SCC was significantly lower in OM than in CM on a monthly basis. These results showed that OM promotes a healthful and balanced diet, and is already produced by sustainable ecologic technologies employing traditional agrosilvopastoral management, which is more environmentally friendly and promotes ecological resilience.

Reference: Delgadillo-Puga, C., et al. (2014). Fatty acid content, health and risk indices, physicochemical composition, and somatic cell counts of milk from organic and conventional farming systems in tropical south-eastern Mexico. Tropical Animal Health and Production 46(5): 883-888. Available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11250-014-0581-x