Organic milk – is it worth it?
This is the question many consumer keep asking. Organic milk producers keeps telling that their milk is taken from cows untreated with antibiotics or growth hormones. In fact those cows are fed with organic materials. Like the regular milk it contains Vitamin D and are pasteurized. These are some answers to some claims.
However, there are lots of confusion in this. Some claim that organic milk is healthier. On the other hand some has believe that it humiliates the animal rights and environment. Even scientists cannot give a solid comparison on conventional milk and the organic one.
Regulations on organic milk
Every country has its own regulations on defining the milk is organic or not. The United States Department of Agriculture has four specific requirements. Out of the four, one of them is that organic milk should be from cows away from bovine grown hormone which is used to increase milk production. Some people think that treating the cow with bovine hormone could increase hormone-related cancers or may affect the hormone growth in humans.
Amusingly, bovine growth hormone (BGH) is a protein-related hormone in which human can ingest. While ingestion the protein gets destroyed in the acidic medium of the stomach. While non-organic milk contains insulin growth factor (IGF-1), a person 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.
Many studies shows that vegans have 13% less IGF-1 than non-vegans. But one must know that IGF-1 levels were not related to milk consumption in either group.
Difference between organic and regular milk
If a cow is treated with antibiotic, then the milk which is produced from them cannot be call as organic. Organic milk should come from the cows which should not be treated with antibiotics. Some conventional herds of cows cannot give milk until they are tested antibiotic-free. On a regular basis, tanks of milk are tested for the presence of antibiotics.
Another interesting requirement for organic milk is that the cows should be fed from the feed which does not use pesticides. Some reports indicates that non organic milk may be allowed to contain small amounts of specific pesticides which should be below established tolerance levels. However, researchers has not found any health related issues using pesticides in cow feed and health risks in humans.
Choice is yours
To sum up, organic milk must come from cows that have “access to pasture”. A year round grazing cows will produce organic milk. But organic milk can be produced by cows which has limited access to pasture. There are also some who believe that pasture-fed cows produce more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This fatty acid is found to be protective against cancer. Researchers, on the other hand, say that grass feeding alone does not definitely lead to increased CLA levels. Those cows which are fed mixed grains and soybeans, in fact, can produce milk with CLA level higher than that in organic milk.
Organic milk may taste better and is animal-friendly; but this does not mean that it is healthier for you than the much-cheaper conventional milk.