Right now, there is a fervor sweeping the nation (particularly in the dairy aisle). Millions of people have been switching to organic milk for various reasons. People have heard the notion that it is healthier and tastier.
Some people buy it to support organic produce, and others have a fear of synthetic growth hormones. Yet organic milk is fifty percent more expensive than normal milk, and the science around it may actually indicate that it is not worth the price difference.
Organic milk production certainly has its benefits, but depending on what you are looking for, they might not justify the price increase. Discussed below are the differences between organic milk and regular milk, why it is more expensive, and if it is truly worth it.
Most of the difference between regular milk and organic milk is how it is produced. Regular milk is often from factory like farms that are highly efficient at producing milk and care little about the cows’ welfare, or their impact on the environment. Organic milk comes from cows that are fed only organic grain that is free of pesticides and synthetic fertilizer.
Organic milk receives at least a third of their feed from the pasture, and aren’t treated with RBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) or antibiotics. While there is no need to prove healthy environmental practices in order to receive organic certification, most of the farms nonetheless treat the water and soil with care and respect.
Organic milk is also highly regulated by various agencies. The farms are inspected constantly to ensure that they are meeting the standards set for them.
Most people do not buy organic milk because it is better for the environment and the animals, but rather because they believe that it is better for their health. In this regard, the science seems to be hesitant to confirm any such conclusion.
Most of the hysteria about regular milk is that it is treated with synthetic growth hormones, which some believe can lead to cancer. It is also dangerous to the cows, resulting in chronic bladder infections that must be treated with antibiotics.
The growth hormone that is passed through the milk does not seem to be dangerous to humans. For it to have any effect, it must be directly injected. Instead, it is effectively eliminated through the digestion process rendering it completely harmless.
As for the antibiotics that are supposedly passed through, all milk (regardless of whether or not it is organic) is tested for antibiotic residue. If it is found to contain any, it is immediately removed from the supply chain.
In the end, it seems that all milk is healthy and safe to drink. Yet that does not mean that organic milk does not have its own particular benefits. If you are concerned about the way the animals are treated, or the damage that the operation may be doing to the environment, then organic milk is an excellent choice. You may not be paying more for nutrition or safety, but you are almost certainly supporting a farm with a conscience.