Germany: New test for organic milk

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Scientists from the Department of Safety and Quality of Milk and Fish Products, Max Rubner Institute, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food in Kiel, Germany, reported the development of a new, more effective method to determine whether milk sold as "organic" was actually organic or if it was conventional milk which was mislabelled. Their report was published in the current edition of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

To record the variable effect of feeding, including the seasonal influence on milk composition, three conventionally and three organically produced brands of retail milk were collected biweekly during a period of 18 months. 286 milk samples were analyzed. Threshold values for the identification of German organic milk were established and allowed to delimit almost all conventional samples.

Joachim Molkentin and his colleagues' test is based on an analysis of milk fat for the ratio of stable isotopes of carbon. They used it to identify milk samples from cows raised on feed containing a higher ration of maize, reports PhysOrg. This feeding regimen is typical for conventional milk production. Organically raised cows are fed more pasture feed and less maize. Tthe team also identified a significant difference in the alpha-linolenic acid content of milk fat. Organic milk typically has a higher alpha-linolenic acid content than conventional milk.

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