Background and Methodology
Organic production systems are based on specific standards of production. Organic food can therefore be defined as the products of a farming system which avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth promoters and additives. In Europe consumers buy organic food because they think it is safer. The real question is: is organic food better for us? This paper does not seek to make a value judgment on ‘organic livestock production’. Rather it presents a critical and transparent overview of issues that relate to the quality and safety of organic food of animal origin.
There is a trend of higher nutrient content in organically grown crops. The higher nutrient content in organic crops is possibly due to higher water content in conventional crops, which causes nutrient dilution. Some studies have shown that in organic pig production, the exclusion of synthetic amino acid supplementation resulted in an increase of intramuscular fat content. Other studies showed that steers in an organic finishing system had higher marbling than steers in a conventional finishing system. Yet others found that organic cattle had a lower fat content than conventionally reared animals. It is therefore difficult to conclude on the effect of organic production on animal fatness. Does organic food taste better? There is no evidence to state that this affirmation is always and invariably true.
Kouba, M. (2003). Quality of organic animal products. Livestock Production Science 67:207-215.