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Organic Milk

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Organic Milk

Health and Environmental Benefits of Organic Milk

There are 4 criteria milk must meet to be considered organic milk. The first criteria is that organic milk is obtained from cows that have been fed pasture grass unlike regular milk which is obtained from cows that have been fed grain that may be genetically modified (GM). The pasture grass can not contain any harmful pesticides or fertilizers, however organic fertilizers may be used.

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Organic Milk

The second criteria that organic cows must meet to produce organic milk, is that no bovine growth hormones (BGH) are allowed to be used to increase milk production. There are no genetic mutation or irradiation permitted in organic cows. BGH or rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin), both hormones that increases milk production, cause an insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) in the milk which survive pasteurization and are there for passed on to us when we consume dairy products. These hormones are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and can promote the mutation of human breast cells to cancerous forms. Hormones also affect the cows themselves. Cows get more sick once injected with the hormone, and are prone to mastitus, which is a painful infection in the udder that can cause pus to emit in milk which increases the harmful bacteria count. To treat this, cows are then given high doses of antibiotics which also get passed along in your milk.

Organic Milk The third criteria for organic milk is there are to be no antibiotics used on organic cows, and if a cow does need to be treated it will not be returned to the herd for a year to make sure the antibiotics are out of its system before it is milked again. When a non-organic cow gets sick or has an udder infection they are treated with a dose of antibiotics. Consuming antibiotics through your milk can make you more immune to antibiotics and more susceptible to antibiotic resistant bacteria and diseases.

The final of the four criteria is that the cow must have ample grazing time. Organic cows must have access to pasture, much like free range chickens. Because of this organic cows are generally treated more humane, lead healthy and stress free lives and tend to be healthier than regular dairy cows. Organic cows are able to graze in open pastures with room to move around, unlike regular dairy cows that are fed in crammed barns with very little room to move a round and little exercise.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Organic Milk?

Organic milk does have health benefits over regular milk. Benefits of organic milk include less pesticide contamination, more vitamins and antioxidants, improves the quality of breast milk and helps prevent asthma and eczema in children. Organic milk can contain as much as 50% more Vitamin E, it can be up to 75% higher beta carotene and has three times the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthine than are contained in regular dairy milk. These antioxidants are extremely important for eye health and are effective in preventing numerous eye diseases.

Organic milk also contains a small quantity Omega 3 essential fatty acids because along with grass the cows also feed on naturally growing red clover that has a lot of Omega 3. Organic milk has 500% more CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) than milk from fodder fed cows. CLA increases the metabolic rate, increases immunity and reduces abdominal fat and cholesterol. CLA also reduces allergic reactions and recent studies have shown that CLA may be beneficial in cancer treatment. Since the human body cannot produce CLA, we get most of it through the milk and dairy products that we consume. Organic milk also contains substances known to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Because health standards require that all milk produced has to be pasteurized some of the benefits are diminished in organic milk but still provides much more vitamins and antioxidants than regular milk.

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Hormone Free Milk vs. Organic Milk

Neither organic milk or hormone free milk will have any added hormone, however the hormone free-only milk will still contain pesticide residue and antibiotics. Cows naturally produce hormones, so the milk is not entirely hormone free, however no synthetic hormones are added in either case. Because many food labeling claims are not regulated by the FDA, the "hormone free" claim, is not always an honest claim.

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Why Does Organic Milk Cost More?

Organic milk can often cost almost double the price of regular milk, the reason for this is it costs more to raise organic cows. Everything from bedding to feed to grazing areas has to be organic. Organic cows are not giving hormones to increase milk production like regular dairy cows so there is less milk produced per unit of land which increases costs. It is also more expensive to raise organic cows due to the cost of organic feed and more land must be owned maintained so that there is enough pasture area per cow.

One major advantage of organic milk that people often do not realize is that organic milk stays fresh significantly longer than regular pasteurized milk. That is because they use a different process than pasteurization to preserve the milk. Regular milk is pasteurized or flash pasteurized, meaning it is exposed to high heat (140-160 degrees) for a short amount of time then rapidly cooled to destroy bacteria, protozoa, molds, and yeast. Organic milk is usually given a ultra high temperature (UHT) treatment, meaning it is heated to 275 degrees for a couple of seconds. This kills all the bacteria in the milk, allowing it to have a longer shelf life than normal pasteurized milk which doesn't eradicate all bacteria. UHT also has a shorter processing time, which reduces the spoiling of nutrients found in the milk. UHT milk also doesn't need to be refrigerated.

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Environmental Benefits Of Organic Milk

Organic milk isn't only good for you, it is also good for the environment. Organic dairy farms begin with taking care of our earth. Organic dairy farms use only organic herbicides that are not toxic to the earth which benefit more than just the cows. Farm workers are no longer exposed to substances that cause all health problems and our water stays cleaner since there is no harsh pesticides used on the pastures.

Organic diary farms also do not use sewage fertilizer or synthetic fertilizer that are allowed on normal dairy farms. Cows are also not given food made from animal byproducts, which can transmit mad cow disease and no genetically altered food is fed to the cows.

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