Does organic milk REALLY matter?

glass-of-milk2Well, there’s plenty of debate over this question.  There are oodles of research and sites with opinions and discussions and disagreements over what is real, what is embellished and what is pure fiction.  It’s mind boggling, to say the least.

I will first say ‘yes’, I do buy only organic milk.  It costs a lot more and that is a price I am, personally, willing to pay because I have children that drink it daily (although I have debated, in my own mind, whether cow’s milk is necessary at all).  Organic milk does give me a greater peace of mind for many reasons.  These are the things I have learned that have helped me reach this decision:

Naturally-fed cows, with a better quality of life, produce a higher quality of milk – it is shown to contain more antioxidants, vitamin E, omega-3 and beta carotene.
Organic milk cows cannot have bovine growth hormone (BGH) administered, which is used to increase milk production.  By forcing cows to produce an abnormally high volume of milk, they are prone to painful udder infections.  Bacteria from the infection flows right along with the milk and pasteurization does NOT remove it (this nauseates me)… and then isn’t the hormone still cowpresent too?…
Some research also shows that consumption of non-organic milk, that may contain hormones, can cause early puberty in children (this scares me to no end… again, I have children drinking it. I was most effected by studies of Hispanic homes, where the consumption of milk is not nearly as prevalent, and this evidence of early puberty does not exist).
Organic milk cows do not have high residues of pesticides and fertilizers transferred to the milk from genetically modified feed, as does milk from non-organic cows.
Organic diary farming requires a higher standard for the well-being of the cows and they must receive time “at pasture” instead of a lifetime of confinement (the animal-loving part of me has a hard time overlooking this as well… look at that face!).

Let’s presume that all of the facts are false… what have I lost?  Some extra money, that’s it.  But then… what if some or ALL of them are true?  The consequences for that seem a lot more costly than money to me.

If the price were the same, wouldn’t you choose organic?  You decide.

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23 thoughts on “Does organic milk REALLY matter?

  1. You know, Doreen: the other issue is antibiotics. When you eat organic, grass-fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat and drink milk produced from these cows, you keep antibiotics working.

    Believe me, I almost died from septic shock due to antibiotic resistance when I was seventeen. I am severely antibiotic resistant from overexposure as a young child, and so, I only buy organic dairy and meat products for this reason alone.


  2. Doreen: I am with you 100% on this one. I have found that in our area the organic milk is often CHEAPER than regular milk. I firmly believe that the hormones that have been pumped into cows have been ingested by our children and have led to earlier menstruation in young girls, etc. Thanks for another great post!

    have a great week! Cheers, Kimberly

  3. Kimberly – well, color me jealous! Organic cheaper than non-organic?!… oh, how I wish! 🙂 But from all of the things I have read and heard, that is a price I am going to pay! … especially with a daughter! Thanks for your comment and have a great week too!

  4. Doreen: I totally agree with you! We recently made the switch to organic milk for many of the reasons you highlighted but also because it just flat out tastes better than the non-organic variety.

  5. Cole – it’s true… happy / healthy cows = a better product… it seems pretty logical, doesn’t it! 🙂

  6. My daughter happens to be sensitive to dairy, so we she does not get milk at all- even if she were not I do not think cows milk is necessary- this idea is pushed by marketing campaigns. if calcium is an issue, look to foods (not dairy based) you will be surprised how many foods contain calcium- and it is even more easily assimilated
    Great tips on your site! I am talking about this on my website and giving away free books (and other gifts) the challenge is to help moms live more simply, green- and save money (all you have to do is leave a comment, the winner is picked at random)! Today I am giving away Feeding The Whole Family By Cynthia Lair
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  7. Well put! I couldn’t agree more! And these days, it’s about $1.00 more where I live, so really, it’s a no brainer!

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  9. Yes and another benefit: I’m a single person who doesn’t drink milk hardly at all but with the occasional cereal bowl or cooking ingredient. Organic milk lasts LIFETIMES longer than your typical milk. I think the longest my organic milk has gone is like 2 months. So if you don’t drink milk alot, this is actually a better more cost-effective option.

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  13. I buy milk that states it is hormone and antibotic free. when I called the company they say they do not give any synthetic hormones. But, the milk will have the hormones from the cow. My daughter how is 7 has been drinking this milk since was a toddler. I am not concerned because her dr thinks she may developing sooner than other girls because she is showing signs of puberty. Well, just one sign. So is this milk safe to drink?

  14. Melissa – my best recommendation would be to go to this more recent post:
    In this post there are links to a study by the Cornucopia Institute. They looked at all organic milk to determine which was the best. My brand, Organic Valley, scored well. This should help you find a trustworthy brand. Also, is the milk you are buying organic and from organic dairy cows? Somehow, it seems there is a loophole on the way your current brand is able to promote their product. I think, by checking out this study, you may find a brand that will give you more peace of mind! Let me know if this helps~!

  15. Thank you! No, it is not organic. So, basically, the milk is still getting the hormones from the cows, correct? And in organic milk, there are no horomones at all? Just trying to understand this better.
    Can you get Organic Valley in a supermarket or is it basically sold in health food stores?

  16. Melissa – yes, that’s correct! The hormones, steroids, antibiotics, etc that are administered to NON-organic cows gets transferred to the milk. It’s the same reason a breast-feeding mom has to watch what she eats, steers clear of some medications, etc. because all of that gets transferred to the breast milk. Organic cows, in order to be certified organic, can NOT be injected with any of those horrible things! Organic Valley is available in supermarkets. Check their site you can find out where to buy their products by entering your zip code at the top. Or just check out your local grocery store in the dairy or organics section and jot down the names of the organic milk choices and then check them out on that study I mentioned above. I’m sure you’ll find a product you’ll be happy with! Does that help? 🙂

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  18. Shouldn’t we just cut out dairy in are whole diet no matter if its non-organic or organic? I know I feel much better when dairy is not in my diet and before I consumed only dairy products. I’d have to admit it was hard to cut it out of my diet but I did.
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