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Birds not wild about organic food

If you're convinced that organically grown food is better than conventionally grown, consider this: Given a choice, birds prefer the conventional stuff.

A study conducted at Newcastle University in Great Britain and published last week in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture showed that, when allowed enough time to establish a preference, birds offered both seed grown organically and seed grown conventionally chose the latter.

Researchers placed feeders containing organic wheat seed and conventional wheat seed in 30 gardens in northern England and measured the amount of each that the wild birds consumed. At two weigh-ins, six weeks apart, the birds had chosen conventional seed almost 60 percent of the time. In a parallel experiment, captive canaries made similar choices.

Researchers suggest that conventionally grown seed's higher protein content is what pleased the birds. Conventional farmers fertilize soil with inorganic nitrogen, which converts to protein in the seeds.

So what does this mean for human consumers? Not much, really. We generally get enough protein in our diets without having to work at it. And those who prefer organic food often do so for reasons other than the food's nutritional value, such as its lack of pesticides or its favorable environmental impact.

Do you flock toward organic food, despite its price? Please take a moment to vote in today's poll. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go Tweet about this...

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  May 24, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Nutrition and Fitness  
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Next: Getting real about food choices


I don't agree with the conventional produce because the harm to the earth and the environment.

Posted by: inteligente | May 24, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't agree with the conventional produce because the harm to the earth and the environment.

Posted by: inteligente | May 24, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I try to buy all of my produce from the farmers markets. It may not be organic but it is more likely to be grown in a sustainable way than even the big organic companies that supply supermarkets. They use as few chemicals as possible and don't deny their workers a living wage.

Posted by: fernva | May 25, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

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