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Composition differences between organic and conventional meat: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

Srednicka-Tober, Dominika; Baranski, Marcin; Seal, Chris; Sanderson, Roy; Benbrook, Charles; Steinshamn, Håvard; Gromadzka-Ostrowska, Joanna; Rembialkowska, Ewa; Skwarło-Sonta, Krystyna; Eyre, Mick; Cozzi, Giulio; Krogh Larsen, Mette; Jordon, Teresa; Niggli, Urs; Sakowski, Tomasz; Calder, Philip C.; Burdge, Graham C.; Sotiraki, Smaragda; Stefanakis, Alexandros; Yolcu, Halil; Stergiadis, Sokratis; Chatzidimitriou, Eleni; Butler, Gillian; Stewart, Gavin and Leifert, Carlo (2016) Composition differences between organic and conventional meat: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Nutrition, 115 (6), pp. 994-1011.

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Document available online at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/composition-differences-between-organic-and-conventional-meat-a-systematic-literature-review-and-metaanalysis/B333BC0DD4B23193DDFA2273649AE0EE


Demand for organic meat is partially driven by consumer perceptions that organic foods are more nutritious than non-organic foods. However, there have been no systematic reviews comparing specifically the nutrient content of organic and conventionally produced meat. In this study, we report results of a meta-analysis based on sixty-seven published studies comparing the composition of organic and non-organic meat products. For many nutritionally relevant compounds (e.g. minerals, antioxidants and most individual fatty acids (FA)), the evidence base was too weak for meaningful meta-analyses. However, significant differences in FA profiles were detected when data from all livestock species were pooled. Concentrations of SFA and MUFA were similar or slightly lower, respectively, in organic compared with conventional meat. Larger differences were detected for total PUFA and n-3 PUFA, which were an estimated 23 (95 % CI 11, 35) % and 47 (95 % CI 10, 84) % higher in organic meat, respectively. However, for these and many other composition parameters, for which meta-analyses found significant differences, heterogeneity was high, and this could be explained by differences between animal species/meat types. Evidence from controlled experimental studies indicates that the high grazing/forage-based diets prescribed under organic farming standards may be the main reason for differences in FA profiles. Further studies are required to enable meta-analyses for a wider range of parameters (e.g. antioxidant, vitamin and mineral concentrations) and to improve both precision and consistency of results for FA profiles for all species. Potential impacts of composition differences on human health are discussed.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:consumer research, meat production
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems
Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Systems research and participatory research
Food systems > Processing, packaging and transportation
Values, standards and certification > Consumer issues
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Food quality
DOI:DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114515005073
Deposited By: Niggli, Prof. Dr. Urs
ID Code:36390
Deposited On:26 Aug 2019 11:33
Last Modified:19 Jun 2023 09:54
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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