Organic milk is more than a title. It’s a very beneficial product, not only in helping to curb environmental impact, but in taking a step to protect the health of ourselves and that of our families.
First, lets look at what is required, for organic milk, to be truly organic.For milk to meet the guidelines put in place by the USDA, there are four requirements that must be met by the producers of organic milk.
- Bovine Growth Hormone may not be administered to cows that are producers of the certified organic milk.
- There may be no administration of antibiotics to the producing cows. If for any reason antibiotic treatment becomes necessary, the treated cow is taken out of production for a period of one full year. This ensures that their system is clean and free of all traces of antibiotics prior to being put back into production of organic milk.
- Any foods provided to the herd , be it grains or grasses, may not be treated with pesticides when being grown. Any treatments or fertilizers used must be organic.
- Herds producing organ milk must have access to pasturing, or grazing. This is the way nature intended it to be.
Organic milk that is produced by grazing herds contains significantly higher vitamin, antioxidant and fatty acids levels. Which means it is healthier for us to consume.
Non organic milk is produced from herds that receive Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH). This is administered to increase production of milk. It often results in mastitis, which is an infection in the milk producing glands. This can result in non organic milk to be contaminated with puss, if the mastitis goes untreated. Or, if treated, then the milk becomes contaminated with antibiotics, which contributes to antibiotic resistance to those who consume this milk. Not very appealing is it?
Non organic milk also contains natural growth hormones (IGF-1), that actually increase during the pasteurization process. These natural growth hormones are considered to contribute to or cause breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer. Also, during the pasteurization process the milk is not heated to to temperatures that will kill of bacteria. This makes the shelf life much shorter, than that of organic milk.
Organic milk is heated to ultra high temperatures (UHT) of 275 degrees. This temperature assures that all bacteria and micro-organisms will indeed be killed off. This results in a much longer shelf life. It also means that technically, organic milk does not require refrigeration, believe it or not.
Purchasing organic milk not only protects the consumer from taking in pesticides, antibiotics, puss, and growth hormones, it also helps our environment by not using the chemical pesticides that contaminate our soil and ground water. It also helps to ensure a more humane treatment of the production herd, since organic producers are not injected with hormones and are pastured. You can also feel good about the fact that you are helping to support local small farmers.
Purchasing and consuming organic milk is a win – win situation. The cost of organic versus non organic milk, is not as significant as it once was. It does cost a bit more, but the difference in pricing is narrowing with time. To me, it is worth paying more for just knowing it is not contaminated and it is therefore healthier for my loved ones.
A couple of websites you may want to check out for more information on organic milk and foods:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/ and http://www.organic.org/.
Sources: calorielab.com, hubpages.com, organicconsumers.org