Document Detail

Birds select conventional over organic wheat when given free choice.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20602515     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Global demand for organic produce is increasing by euro4 billion annually. One key reason why consumers buy organic food is because they consider it to be better for human and animal health. Reviews comparing organic and conventional food have stated that organic food is preferred by birds and mammals in choice tests.
RESULTS: This study shows the opposite result-that captive birds in the laboratory and wild garden birds both consumed more conventional than organic wheat when given free choice. There was a lag in preference formation during which time birds learnt to distinguish between the two food types, which is likely to explain why the present results differ from those of previous studies. A further experiment confirmed that, of 16 potential causal factors, detection by birds of consistently higher levels of protein in conventional seeds (a common difference between many organic and conventional foodstuffs) is the likely mechanism behind this pattern.
CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest that the current dogma that organic food is preferred to conventional food may not always be true, which is of considerable importance for consumer perceptions of organically grown food.
Ailsa J McKenzie; Mark J Whittingham
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the science of food and agriculture     Volume:  90     ISSN:  1097-0010     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Sci. Food Agric.     Publication Date:  2010 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-07-12     Completed Date:  2011-01-19     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376334     Medline TA:  J Sci Food Agric     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1861-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright (c) 2010 Society of Chemical Industry.
School of Biology, Newcastle University, Ridley Building, Claremont Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Dietary Proteins / analysis*
Food Preferences*
Food, Organic* / analysis
Plant Proteins / analysis*
Triticum* / chemistry
Grant Support
//Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Dietary Proteins; 0/Plant Proteins

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