Organic Milk and Dairy Products

organic milkDrinking organic milk offers more health benefits than drinking non-organic, according to the Danish Institute of Agricultural Research. As reported in the study, organic milk has 50% more vitamin E than conventionally produced milk and 75% more beta carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A in the body. It is also two to three times higher in antioxidants.

Organic milk offers many other benefits as well:

  • Local organic dairies that allow their cows to graze on grass produce healthier milk than “mega” dairies that feed their cows organic grain in confined feed lots. When buying organic milk, read the label to be sure you’re getting milk produced by grass-grazing cows.
  • Another advantage of organic milk and dairy products is that they do not contain the genetically engineered “bovine growth hormone” (known as rBGH or rBST), which is injected into non-organic cows to increase milk production. Injecting cows with rBGH can lead to infections that require treatment with antibiotics. The milk of cows that have been injected with rBGH and antibiotics often contains residues of these chemicals. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has said that using rBGH poses no health risks. Consumer and health groups argue that we should not burden our bodies with synthetic hormones and unnecessary antibiotics. Co-op News presents an excellent overview of the issue here.

    Eggs can be more than organic; they can be “cage free,” “free range,” “natural,” or even “free farmed.” Read this explanation of your options at Grist.

Your best bet is to find milk, cheese and eggs that are produced locally by farmers who do not use hormones and antibiotics. Plug your zip code into the Food Routes map to locate an organic dairy farmer nearby.

In your grocery story or food co-op, look for brands that say “organic” front and center and use the USDA organic seal indicating they are certified organic.