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Organic milk and meat contain about 50 percent more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced equivalents, according to a pair of large-scale studies published Tuesday.

Previous research has linked omega-3 with reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development, and better immune function.

A team of two dozen researchers led by Carlo Leifert, a professor at Newcastle University in England, combed through nearly 200 peer-reviewed studies on milk , and 67 on meat.

They found clear differences between organic and non-organic products, especially when it came to omega-3.

"Western European diets are recognised as being too low in these fatty acids, and the European Food Safety Authority recommends we should double our intake," said co-author Chris Seal, also from Newcastle University.

"Our study suggests that switching to organic would go some way towards improving intakes of these important nutrients."

Half a litre (one US pint) of organic, full-fat milk or its equivalent in other dairy products, for example, was found to provide 16 percent of the recommended daily dose of so-called long chain omega-3, while conventional milk provides 11 percent.

There are no additional calories in equivalent organic dairy or meat products.

Most people choose organic products for one or more of three reasons: animal welfare, the environment, and health.

"But much less is known about impacts on nutritional quality," Leifert said in a statement.


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