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Organic Milk: Good or Hype? What You Need to Know

It’s common to see advertisements for organic milk and dairy products, and there are also big V recommendations. Are organic milk and dairy products as good as they say? Organic milk is much more expensive than non-organic milk. In the United States, the price is twice as high. Is it worth it for consumers to spend a lot of money?

According to the standards of the United States Department of Agriculture, cows producing organic milk should have no antibiotics or hormones, at least 30% of their forage should come from grazing, and the rest should not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or genetically modified seeds.

Let’s talk about the overall situation first. Can these regulations be implemented well? Is it effectively supervised? Is there any way to effectively and efficiently supervise?

Not only organic milk, but also other organic products, there is considerable suspicion that they can be bought at high prices by using the name of organic.

Let’s talk about it one by one below.

One is antibiotics.

The main reason for using antibiotics in dairy cows is to treat and prevent mastitis. How do organic dairy farmers do this without using antibiotics? They believe that mastitis is a hereditary disease, and their approach is to kill cows with mastitis.

So there are antibiotics in non-organic milk?

No. Although non-organic milk cows use antibiotics, they do not produce milk during this period. Only cows that do not use antibiotics produce milk, and inspections are very strict. At least in the United States, the antibiotic content of non-organic milk is 0.000%.

For consumers, the threat of antibiotics is not considered. The consideration for using antibiotics is from the perspective of antibiotic resistance, so the use of veterinary antibiotics should be reduced. However, the cattle industry is not the hardest hit by veterinary antibiotics.

In terms of antibiotics, there is no difference between organic milk and non-organic milk purchased by consumers.

The second is hormones.

The word “hormone” is very scary, as if the presence of hormones in milk is a big deal.

Even if there are hormones, they will be changed by the digestive process. There is no evidence that the hormones eaten have any biological effects, nor do they pose any health risks.

Moving forward, the sterilization process of milk destroys most of the hormones.

Moving forward, growth hormone used to increase milk production is not commonly used. There are also some hormones that exist in cows themselves and are also found in organic milk, but non-organic milk may be slightly higher.

One argument the organic industry has against the use of growth hormone is that it is unnecessary because a lot of milk is dumped, which is the case in the United States.

Therefore, for consumers, there is no difference in hormones between organic milk and non-organic milk.

The third is fodder.

Needless to say about genetic modification, the same goes for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This is more from an environmental perspective. If the quality of the milk itself is well controlled, there is no need to worry.

One of the reasons for grazing is that it is nutritious, which is not supported by scientific evidence. The other argument that cows are happier is also unproven because it is not 100% grazing and it is impossible for cows to be happy.

The fourth is nutritional content.

One study found that organic milk has low Omega-6 fatty acid content and high Omega-3 fatty acid content. Accordingly, organic milk is considered healthy, but there is not enough evidence to support it. Moreover, 10 liters of organic milk has Omega-3 fatty acids equivalent to 100 grams of salmon. The content of Omega-3 fatty acids in milk is very unrealistic to rely on drinking milk to absorb Omega-3 fatty acids.

Otherwise, the nutritional content of organic and non-organic milk is the same.

The real or only benefit of organic milk is commercial, because most organic milk is sterilized at extremely high temperatures, so it can be stored for more than 2 months. In terms of taste, this high-temperature sterilization will make the milk sweeter and taste better than conventional milk. Sterilized milk tastes better. But in many countries, non-organic milk is also sterilized at extremely high temperatures, so there is no difference.

Looking at it this way, you can decide for yourself whether it is necessary to buy organic milk or organic dairy products.