WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORGANIC MILK AND REGULAR MILK?
About $3 per gallon in most stores — but smart consumers are realizing that for health reasons alone, it’s worth paying extra for organic milk. One big advantage organic milk has over regular milk is its shelf life: most brands of organic milk are sterilized at very high temperatures (around 280 degrees F), so it can keep for up to two months. Because regular pasteurized milk is heated to only 165 degrees F or lower, it doesn’t have the same shelf life. So if you’re concerned about milk going bad in your refrigerator, organic milk might actually save you money.
- Organic Milk: A Healthy Choice:
Organic milk also shines in comparison to regular milk when you consider what’s left out artificial hormones in milk, for instance Before the U.S. Department of Agriculture gives its coveted “USDA Organic” label to milk, the USDA certifies that cows are not given the synthetic hormone known as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH, also known as BGH, recombinant bovine somatotropin or rBST). Farmers often give rBGH to dairy cows to make them more productive.
But rBGH also makes these cows more sickly, causing mastitis (inflammation of the udders, often caused by infection). And it’s not just cows that are getting sick rBGH has also been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer in humans. The additive has been banned in Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and the entire European Union — many are calling for a U.S.ban on rBGH, too. But hormones aren’t the only problem with regular milk: the overuse of antibiotics in milk is rampant among dairy farmers, just like it is on most factory farms. These antibiotics are given routinely to cattle (and many other livestock) and the drugs show up in the milk the cows produce.
Pesticides, too, are also present in the feed of dairy cattle, and these too can show up in milk. Organic milk, however, has none of these ingredients, since their use is forbidden in USDA-certified dairy cows, which can only eat certified organic feed.
- Cow Grazing:
The organic cow grazes on organic pastures for the entire grazing season, which must be at least 120 days a year, and receives at least 30 per cent of its nutrition from pasture during the grazing season. Organic livestock are required to have year round access to the outdoors and a total feed ration of agricultural products that are 100% organic. So while it is given “access” to graze during that grazing season, the rules do not stipulate how often or how long those cows should be grazing outdoors. Only 40 per cent of Americans consume an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids and actually consume way too many Omega-6’s which can cause inflammation. Each day that an animal spends in the feedlot, its supply of omega-3s is diminished. Vitamin E, beta carotene and Vitamin A and K2: The meat from the pastured cattle is higher in these vitamins than the meat from the feedlot cattle.
- Organic Raw Milk: An Even Better Option:
If you only have a choice between organic pasteurized dairy or conventional pasteurized dairy, organic may be the better option – especially if it’s from grass-fed cows. However, an even better choice is organic raw milk. High-quality raw milk has a mountain of health benefits that pasteurized milk lacks. For example, raw milk is:
Loaded with healthy bacteria that are good for your gastrointestinal tract
Full of more than 60 digestive enzymes, growth factors, and immunoglobulins (antibodies)
Rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which fights
Rich in beneficial raw fats, amino acids, and proteins in a highly bioavailable form, all 100 per cent digestible
Loaded with vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, and K) in highly bioavailable forms, and a very balanced blend of minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron) whose absorption is enhanced by live lactobacilli.
It is not uncommon for people who switch from drinking pasteurized to raw milk to experience improvement or complete resolution of troubling health issues—everything from allergies to digestive problems to eczema. When milk is pasteurized, fats are oxidized, proteins denatured and most enzymes are completely destroyed, resulting in a “food” that may be more harmful than beneficial to our health.
Additionally, the bacteria killed by pasteurization are not removed, so their dead cell fragments remain in the milk to ignite immune reactions in those who ingest them, which is one major cause of milk allergies. Often the “milk allergy” is not to the milk itself, but to the post-pasteurization cell fragments it contains.
- Merits :
The benefit was attributed to the quantity of two kinds of fats, omega-6 and omega-3, and the ratio between them. The research paper made the case that there are health benefits to lowering the ratio — decreasing omega-6 intake and increasing omega-3 — and that drinking organic milk helps do that. Largely funded by the organic milk industry and published in December in the journal PLOS One, the study was heralded as evidence that organic whole milk has a heart-healthy fat profile, primarily because it contains higher omega 3 levels than conventional milk. Do the math, though, and you’ll find that you would have to drink 51 / 2 gallons of full-fat organic milk to equal the omega-3 content of one eight-ounce piece of salmon.
- Safety and Quality:
Organic production methods make organic milk the superior choice make no mistake. The laws governing organic food production are the strictest in our nation. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires organic farmers to follow rigorous production rules, which are verified through annual inspections and certification. Only the organic label provides milk lovers with these guarantees.
For example, by law, all dairy cows raised for organic milk production can not be given antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones. Plus, organic dairy cows must be raised on 100%-certified organic feed. That includes grazing on certified organic pasture grown without herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers. Organic feed may not come from genetically modified sources, either.
Several studies show clear nutritional benefits from eating organic diets in general, because of higher levels of protective anti-oxidants and lower levels of potentially harmful pesticide residues. The latter is of particular concern for children, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Compared to conventional milk, organic milk has been shown to have higher amounts of specific health-promoting nutrients, such as vitamin E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
An Organic Centre report says milk from dairy cows on organic farms, particularly pasture-based operations, may also contain significantly higher levels of the beneficial fat, conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. However, the difference in CLA levels between organic and conventional milk depends on time of year, and the quality and length of time on pasture.
These findings are not surprising. Organic food production works from the ground up, literally. Without the application of potentially harmful chemicals, organic soils are naturally healthier, richer sources of nutrient-dense, biological life. We would expect plants grown in organic soils, and the animals raised on organic feed would gain a nutritional advantage. More so, organic production methods contribute to a safer environment overall, protecting soil, water and human health for present and future generations.