Ningjing Liu of Wageningen University & Research has conducted research into differences between organic and non-organic milk and the cause of this.
He will receive his doctorate on 17 June 2020. In his dissertation "Organic milk: Understanding intrinsic characteristics and their origin, and development of novel means of detection", he describes the specific composition properties of organic and regular milk and the search for the underlying causes.
Organic milk vulnerable to fraud
The demand for organic products has continued to grow steadily in recent years. This also applies to organic milk. Partly due to the increased demand in combination with the strict requirements for organic production, such as the use of organic feed and outdoor grazing, the sector is unable to meet demand. Because production costs are higher, organic milk is also more expensive than regular milk. This makes the product vulnerable to fraud. Regular milk could be sold as organic milk, thereby achieving illegal profits that undermine fair trade.
Quality of milk is influenced by many factors
The dissertation states that the quality of milk is influenced by many factors, such as seasons, environment, lactation stage, feed, cow breed, etc. This makes it difficult to see differences between organic and regular milk. But there is a great need to demonstrate these differences, because this is how you prevent fraud, fair competition and consumer confidence.
Differences between summer and winter
The research has shown that the composition of fatty acids and volatiles of organic and regular milk differs. Both in summer and in winter, but in different ways. Pasture milk, milk from cows with pasture grazing but not organic, is more like regular milk in winter and more like organic milk in composition in summer. The type of feed in summer and winter appears to determine the differences in the composition of milk from organic and regular production.