Organic Milk: Is it Worth It?
 
Organic Milk: Is it Worth It?

Organic milk producers are quick to tell you that their milk is delicious and that it is made from cows untreated with
antibiotics or growth hormones and cows not exposed to dangerous pesticides. Organic milk-producing cows are fed organic
feed and are free ranging; the milk is pasteurized and homogenized like regular milk and it even contains vitamin D. Such
claims have brought up the demand for organic milk, sometimes at double the cost of regular milk. Some consumers wonder,
is it worth the added cost?
Some turn to organic milk in the belief that this milk is healthier, while others have strong environmental or animal
rights’ beliefs. Research, however, is limited when it comes to comparing the health benefits of organic milk over
conventional milk. This can be confusing to some milk drinkers.
The United States Department of Agriculture has four specific requirements that help in the definition of which milk is
organic and which milk is not. One requirement is that organic milk must come from cows never treated with bovine growth
hormone, used to increase milk production. Some feel that milk treated this way could increase hormone-related cancers or
affect growth hormone levels in humans.
Interestingly, bovine growth hormone (BGH) is protein-related, meaning that if a human ingests it, the protein gets
destroyed in the acidic environment of the stomach. In addition, while non-organic milk contains insulin growth factor
(IGF-1), an individual would have to drink 95 quarts of milk a day to equal the amount of IGF-1 we produce in our bodies
every day. That’s not much of a disadvantage over organic milk.
Several organic web sites have quoted a study showing that vegans have 13% less IGF-1 than non-vegans but, if you study the
research more closely, you’ll find that IGF-1 levels were not related to milk consumption in either group nor was organic
milk studied.
Organic milk must come from cows free of antibiotic treatments. If a cow is treated with an antibiotic, it is removed from
the herd for a year. Still, conventional herds of cows cannot give milk until tests show that the milk is antibiotic-free.
Tanks of milk are tested for the presence of antibiotics on a regular basis.
Another requirement for organic milk is that the cows are fed feed that is grown without pesticides. Some USDA reports
indicate that non-organic milk may be allowed to contain small amounts of specific pesticides, below established tolerance
levels. Research has not found any health issues related to pesticides in cow feed and health risks in humans.
Finally, organic milk must come from cows that have “access to pasture”. Some consumers envision year-round grazing of
happy cows. However, as there is no minimum requirement, organic milk can come from cows that have had limited access to a
pasture.
There are those who believe that pasture-fed cows produce more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)—an essential fatty acid found
to be protective against cancer. Experts, on the other hand, say that grass feeding alone does not definitely lead to
increased CLA levels. Cows fed mixed grains and soybeans, in fact, can produce milk with levels of CLA higher than that in
organic milk.
Organic milk may taste better to some and is animal-friendly; however it doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthier for you
than the much-cheaper conventional milk.

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Articles
Are they Worth It? Arguments against Organic Foods

Decades of Change: The History of Organic Farming

A Healthy World: International Trends in Organic Farming

Wear Wholesome Clothing with Organic Cotton

USDA Organic? What the Heck is that?

How do I Know if My Silk is Organic?

Understanding the High Cost of Organic Clothing

Organic Clothing and Our Environment

Taste Hot and Delicious Organic Coffee

The Health Benefits of Organic Meat

Look Lovely with Organic Skin Care Products

The Beauty of the Perfect Cup of Organic Tea

Treat Your Garden Right with Organic Pesticides

Organic Milk: Is it Worth It?

What makes Organic Make Up Better?

Keep your Dog Happy With Organic Dog Food

Handy Organic Ant Control for your Home

Safer Methods: Using Organic Pest Control for Roaches and Mites

Those Nasty Mosquitoes: Organic Ways to Keep them at Bay

Fly Away Flies: Organic Repellents for Flies and Moths

Stamp out Fleas with Organic Pest Control

Eat Healthy with Organic Foods

Eat Better: The Health Benefits of Organic Foods

Do It Yourself

Go Natural with Organic Gardening!

 

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