Study fuels debate over organic vs. conventional milk - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Study fuels debate over organic vs. conventional milk

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A new study on milk is fueling the debate over organic versus conventional foods.

The headline from the study said organic milk is healthier.

That's good news for organic dairy farmers, but should it worry those who can't afford organic milk?

When Hanna Graham shops for her family, she always grabs the organic milk.

"I figure I can pay the doctor later or pay the grocery store," said Graham. "Organic keeps us healthy."

The new study from researchers at Washington State University seems to confirm her thinking.

After sampling milk from 400 farms over 18 months, the research showed organic milk had higher levels of heart-healthy fatty acids than conventional milk. Organic dairy farmers aren't surprised.

"Cows are made to eat grass," said Luke Cruk, an organic dairy farmer. "The most natural thing for them to do is be on a pasture eating grass."

Even with the demand for organic milk, those who drink it are still in the minority - just 7 percent of consumers.

The big issue is the cost. At $6 a gallon, organic milk is nearly twice the price of conventional milk.

If you can't afford the organic option, should you worry?

Experts say no.

All milk provides high quality protein and Vitamins A and D.

"You're still getting that complete nutritional package from conventional milk," said Jami Baddershall with the Dairy Nutrition Council. "Whichever you choose is going to be safe and healthy."

The bigger issue may be getting enough dairy altogether.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends three dairy servings a day.

According to the Dairy Nutrition Council, few people are meeting that suggestion.

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