Organic vs. Regular Milk--Is It Worth Your Money?

What Is Organic Milk?

When you shop in your dairy section you might see regular milk on sale for dirt cheap, and then organic, hormone free milk advertised at twice the price. Why is this type of milk more expensive, and is it worth your extra money? Are there any health benefits (or detriments) to buying either type? What does "certified organic" mean?

This article aims to bring to you the information and facts I have found--on both sides of the argument--and let you decide for yourself. Before I delve into the pros and cons of organic vs. regular, lets define what "organic milk" really is.

According the the United Stated Department of Agriculture organic milk must meet 4 criteria in order to be labeled "USDA Organic."

Defining Organic

The first thing has to do from the ground up. No harmful pesticides or fertilizers (organic only) are allowed in the feed the cows eat.

The second is no bovine growth hormones (BGH) are allowed to increase milk production. There's no genetic mutation or irradiation permitted.

Third is no antibiotics are allowed, 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.

And fourth has to do with grazing time. Organic cows must have "access to pasture." Much like "free range chicken," this has a lot of interpretations from being out in the pasture all day to only limited grazing time.

So those are the definitions--let's delve into the discussions.

Why does it cost so much?

If you've ever browsed the dairy section you've probably noticed the substantial difference in price between regular milk and organic milk. Its often 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. Also, using less cost-and-time-effective ways to raise and milk the cows, purchasing organic feed and allowing more pasture area per cow means more land must be owned and maintained, and less milk produced per unit of land--thus increasing the cost.

Conventional dairy cows often live in smaller spaces without the regulated "room for grazing." I say often, because you can find small, independent farms who raise grass fed cows but don't want the added expense of the certified organic label.

Organic farm practices go beyond your glass of milk

Organic dairy farms begin with taking care of our earth. Using organic herbicides that are not toxic to the planet benefit more than just the cows, it benefits everyone. Workers aren't exposed to substances that cause all sorts of health problems, and our water tables stay cleaner.

As part of the organic agreement, no sewage fertilizer or synthetic fertilizer--which is allowed on normal farms--are allowed on organic farms.

Cows are also not given food made from animal byproducts, which can transmit mad cow disease.

Finally, no genetically altered food is fed to the cows. A number of studies on animals have shown genetically modified food to have harmful effects like sterility, increased allergies, increased likelihood of cancer, smaller and fewer offspring, and death.

Mark Kastel, co-director at The Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group and organic industry watchdog based in Cornucopia, Wis., says, "In terms of the environment, organic management practices that are required by law protect the soil and ground and surface waters from pollution."

Hormones used in cows

BGH (bovine growth hormone) or rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) are hormones that increase milk production in cows. These cause insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) in the milk, survive pasteurization and are thereby passed on to humans and absorbed directly into the bloodstream. There is much debate on whether these hormones promote the mutation of human breast cells to cancerous forms. There are also claims that IGF-1 also stimulates the growth of already present cancerous breast and colon cells. In addition, there's a theory that these increased hormones can lead to early puberty.

While the USDA and FDA have approved this hormone and claim there are no harmful effects, it has been banned in Australia, the European Union, Canada, and Japan. In fact, the FDA has a memo regarding the level of antibiotics that are acceptable in milk.

Hormones also affect the cows themselves. The cows get sicker once injected with the hormone, and are prone to mastitis--a painful infection in the udder. So the cows are then given high doses of antibiotics which also get passed along in your milk. Mastitis can cause pus to emit in milk which increases the harmful bacteria count. Perhaps this is eradicated with pasteurization, but drinking pus and/or antibiotics doesn't sound all that appealing to me.

To be fair, all dairy--regardless of whether it's organic or not--has hormones. These added hormones just increase the amount found in milk versus organic, grass-fed milk.

Antibiotics

When a non-organic cow gets sick or has an udder infection (which happens more often to cows injected with hormones), she is treated with a dose of antibiotics. While Stephanie Hill, a dairy specialist and assistant professor of animal science at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, says that it's illegal to give antibiotics to a lactating cow, adding that farmers are responsible for any antibiotics that show up in tanker-truck samples, which would force the dumping of the entire truck's contents, there is ample evidence of antibiotics found in milk --a quick Google search will show that.

One study stated that prior to the approval of BGH, 38% of milk sampled nationally was already contaminated by illegal residues of antibiotics and animal drugs,and this study shows that 21% of milk samples were positive for traces of antibiotics beyond the recommended holding period.

Consuming antibiotics through your milk can make you more immune to antibiotics and more susceptible to antibiotic resistant bacteria and diseases. MRSA--methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus--is an extremely dangerous bacterial infection that's highly resistant to some antibiotics and is becoming more widespread in the United States. Studies are being done on MRSA transmission from cows with mastitis to people. Google a picture of what a MRSA infection looks like...it's not pretty.

Recently, the FDA has begun to take baby steps limiting the amount of antibiotics given to animals, but the fact of the matter is that 80% of antibiotics in this country go not to people, but to animals.

What does "access to pasture" really mean?

This is a gray area in the organic world. Does that mean the cows wander free across the countryside as they like or are the doors let open for 10 minutes to allow them to graze if they like?

The Cornucopia Institute is a nonprofit that promotes economic justice for family-scale farming, and provides a scoring card for dairies if you want to see how they measure up in regards to treatment of the cows.

Large scale dairies like Horizon are more like conventional dairies--lots of cows lined up munching away on organic pellets while being milked. A responsible farmer who rotates his cows on different crops not only is rewarded with milk with more nutrients, but with healthy pastures as well. Studies show that cows that graze on pasture have milk have higher levels of beneficial nutrients. Click here for more information.

There is still a lot of discussion on this and every dairy farm is different on the amount of land per cow they have and how much grazing time the cows get. The best solution if you want to go organic is to try to do your own research on the brand you buy.

Expiration Dates...

One major advantage of organic milk is that (often) it stays fresh significantly longer than regular pasteurized milk. That is because a different process is used to preserve the milk. While 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. According to Wikipedia, however, pasteurization is not intended to kill micro-organisms.

Organic milk is usually given an 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 (a weird concept to us Americans, I know), so UK dairy farmers want to make 90% of milk UHT treated to cut down on greenhouse gasses (this is still being discussed).

Whether or not you like your milk icy cold or room temperature, UHT treatment done on organic milk does make it last much longer than pasteurized milk. But to be fair to both sides, you can find non-organic UHT treated milk.

On the flip side, however, raw milk advocates argue that any kind of pasteurization kills some of the beneficial bacteria found in milk. If you really want to hear a heated discussion, start a debate about raw milk...I may save that for a later hub.

Are there any health differences?

The FDA and USDA claim there are no significant differences between organic and regular milk in quality, safety and nutrition. You can read more about their report in this article from the National Dairy Council.

However, in all my research what I noticed most were conflicting reports. Reports that antibiotics were illegal to use on lactating cows, yet there were still illegal amounts in a high percentage of milk. Studies suggesting hormones have no effect on humans or cows and studies suggesting it can cause emotional and health damage to cows and may be contributing factors in some major human illnesses. From my own personal experience, however, when I switched to organic dairy the intensity of my hormone-related migraines decreased SIGNIFICANTLY.

A new study has just been published by Newcastle University in the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture stating that organic milk is healthier for you. The study showed that cows that were allowed to graze naturally--you know, like they did in the good old days--produced milk which contained significantly higher beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins than regular dairy cows that feed in a line at a trough. It also showed that during summer months, one of the beneficial fats in particular - conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA9 - is found to be 60% higher in organic milk than regular milk. You can read more on this study at this article, or this article.


A Word on Taste

Some commenters have mentioned a different taste in organic and regular milk.

Most traditional dairies use Holstein cows that are fed a mixture of grain, including corn. Corn is not a natural part of a cow's diet, increases the acidity in the stomachs and in turn makes the cow sicker. The "fix" is to pump them with antibiotics. If you've grown up on conventional milk, you may just be more accustomed to this taste.

Organic dairies, especially smaller, local ones, may use different breeds of dairy cows. They may have different levels of fat in the milk, different smells, or even a slightly different color of the milk. If they are fed only by grazing on fresh pasture, the flavor will probably be very different than a cow that eats dried pellets in a stall.

Even location can play a role. A Jersey cow eating fresh grass in Virginia may produce different tasting milk than a Jersey cow eating grass in Washington.

The Choice is Udderly Yours

When I set out to write this article I was drinking regular milk. During the course of my research, and in the years since, I've definitely become convinced as to the benefits of organic milk. Even our butter, yogurt, cheese and ice cream are all organic now.

And a word on certified organic: talk to your local dairy farmers at a farmers' market, or do some research on the internet. Just because a dairy isn't certified organic doesn't mean it doesn't apply environmentally healthy practices. Some dairies are too small to afford all the qualifications that come along with being certified. We used to get our milk from a farm an hour north of us, where we could drive up anytime and see the cows out in the pasture, happily chomping away on fresh grass. That family's dedication to being organic was thorough, though they couldn't afford all the extras that come with certification.

So, if you don't really care about trace antibiotics, trust the FDA and want to save some cash, buy regular. But if you care about the impact dairies make on the environment, your local farmers and ultimately your body, you may want to consider buying organic.

Short video about hormones used in cows

What do you buy?

Do you buy organic dairy products?

  • Yes, always
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Comments 53 comments

Anomoly 7 years ago

great article!!! I just wonder if the "organic" milk in the big stores (Vons/safeway/ralphs/albertsons) are really organic....

nice work!


MDee 7 years ago

Yeah, I don't think that was very unbias....although that was the claim. Nothing thought provoking or new, I've heard all the many times before.


Solorya profile image

Solorya 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

I started out thinking it was mostly hype actually. When I started writing this I didn't buy anything organic and meant this to be just research. But the more I researched the topic the more I was convinced--so by the end it probably seems biased. It may not be news to you, but I think there are a lot of people out there who think "Organic" is just a marketing took to slap on a box rather than a set of regulations.


BGo 7 years ago

Why does organic milk have a much longer shelf life then pasturized?


Solorya profile image

Solorya 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

"Organic milk is usually given an 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. " (from the article)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Convincing argument. Just wish organic wasn't so expensive/


Solorya profile image

Solorya 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

I agree, but think of it as holding off a flood of estrogen and who knows what else from entering your body and maybe affecting you worse in the long run. Plus I've found the Trader Joe's Organic Milk is about 50 cents cheaper per 1/2 gallon! It does take some legwork but now I know what things to buy where (TJ's vegetarian fed free range eggs are cheaper than Safeway/Vons, as well!)


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

Well, I don't think milk is a part of out natural diet, but if I have to buy it, I do buy organic. It would be better without UHT though... :)


jennifer  7 years ago

I buy only raw milk. It is not heated and does not kill all the beneficial bacteria naturally in milk that our systems need to fend off the bad bacteria. It makes our immune systems stronger! Read more at realmilk.com :)


Solorya profile image

Solorya 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

I haven't done too much research on raw milk but I have heard nothing but good things about it. I have had milk straight (literally) out of a cow and it's awesome!!!


Lydianne 7 years ago

What's the difference between milk from cows not treated with rBST and organic milk? I noticed that the latter is way more expensive, but there doesn't seem to be a significant difference that I can tell except maybe the latter is treated by UHT which seems nonbeneficial to me.


Annette 6 years ago

Organic milk tastes better, too! :)


exinco profile image

exinco 6 years ago from Malaysia

this article really help me to understand 'Organic product'.

previously i was write about vermicompost which could categorized as organic fertilizer. it really help to save human health and even environment. go green!


Lauren Todd 6 years ago

terrific article, well researched and laid out!


Mister Cooney 6 years ago

Next we need an article comparing Whole Organic milk compared to the regular - sterile (void of any beneficial organism), chemically infused milk.


Gina 6 years ago

My 8 year old daughter had armpit odor that smelled like onions. Even after a good shower we could smell it. She showers daily and I watched her scrub her pits. Nothing helped until I did some research and found that it could ber her milk. She drinks a lot of it so we switched to organic. Problem solved....odor gone. It didn't take long iether.


Piggy 6 years ago

I only recently tried organic milk for the first time... and really liked it! When I got store bought milk I thought it always smelled expired and sour. Organic milk doesn't have that smell at all!

I would be careful of raw milk... pasteurization kills Listeria monocytogenes, which is a potentially dangerous microorganism. In a lab test, 12% of the samples isolated had L. monocytogenes. http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/51/2/438.pdf if interested.


devika 6 years ago

this information is really helpful.


Ladybug0713 6 years ago

Thanks for the honest info. I just started researching organing milk because I havea one year old and I was trying to decide if it is worth the money. I try to buy organic food when I can, and you just convinced me to add organic milk to my list, so thanks a bunch :)


AJIT SHROFF 5 years ago

This information educates us in detail to what we are practicing for the good of our HEALTH.


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bogerk 5 years ago from Midwest

This is an excellent article. My family drinks organic milk and even some raw milk on occasion. The benefits are endless as the lack of hormones and chemicals is priceless.


Marlin 5 years ago

I've seen a few comments suggesting that organic milk may smell or taste better. The reason I landed on this site was to understand why the organic milk we're buying in fact has a noticeably different odor and taste. I guess the tastes of the consumer determine whether organic milk tastes/smells better, but in my opinion, there is a distinct difference in taste and smell that I have not been able to deny and honestly doesn't appeal to me. I've noticed that these characteristics are less offensive with the brand at our local Sam's Club. At first glance, I felt that this was a benefit to purchasing that brand, but the article indicates that Horizon uses practices more like traditional dairies. Perhaps the Sam's Club organic milk tastes/smells more like the traditional non-organic milk that I've become accustomed to because they also use more traditional practices. I believe in the benefits that the organic concepts propose, but I am struggling to trust they are put into practice by manufacturers. How can we know for sure?


shreya0 5 years ago

I have been consuming the milk which is not organic , i have noticed that i have been bloating, though i am not for organic milk too .

I think there might be effects on the human body too, why doesn't the government ban the hormone injecting for the cows to produce more milk. It was so pathetic to see the cows with more weight in the udder. I had never seen this kind in my country. The cows shown in the video were finding it difficult to walk with the weight in udder as shown in the video.

People who are farming cows have no mercy to inject like this to cows----this is the reason for humans going fat in western countries.

I have seen people giving lot of luxuries for the pets--dogs and cats but it is so devastating that cows are not taken good care of where the whole nation goes for the milk consumption.

Kids enjoy drinking milk, i hope the government takes the necessary measurements to stop this.

When there are numerous wonderful creatures on the earth, why is the man inventing to produce genetic cows?

This invention has been done by the people who are jobless.


Alaysia 5 years ago

Milk Iz Good :)


Brown Cow 5 years ago

Yes organic is more expensive but the price is based on demand. The more that is sold, the cheaper it will be.

Drink up :)


Raghu Pandurangi 5 years ago

It is amazing that FDA has approved the safety of regular milk for humans and for cows while, Europe and Japan banned it. Similar fate to genetically modified corn. Whom to believe.

Some one can give some references on quantification of

1.Concentration growth harmone after pasturization. Is that concnetration corresponding to per day consumption correlated to disease?

2. Same question, e.g 2-3 cups of milk/day consumtion, how much antibiotics one gets into our body. This antibiotic is resistant to what bacteria? How likely humans get infected with that kind of bacteria? Even if we develop resistance to that bacteria, can we not use any other antibiotic to cure the infection?

3. Why these issues are not addressed (if they are not addressed) by FDA.

4. How do they really monitor the "organicity of milk" produced by different farmers with different protocols. Remember, these days even grass is treated.

Thanks for the discussion


Casey Sunshine 5 years ago

I find it really funny to read this article and the comments of a bunch of folks feigning intelligence. Not all the comments, don't get me wrong, but several. If you are going to post an article on the internet, consider running spell check on it. It's "MASTITIS", not MASTITUS". Really hurts your credibility.

Raghu, it's "Who to believe", not "Whom". Simply replacing who with whom doesn't make you smarter - in fact sometimes you look like an idiot.

Did you know that milk is tested for somatic cell count or SCC? That is a screening test looking for inflammatory cells, or pus as you so colorfully describe it, in the milk. If they find high numbers, the entire batch of milk will be discarded. It cannot be sold.

Milk is also tested for antibiotic content. Cows that are being treated with antibiotics are not milked while on medication, and even for a period after they are off the medication. Milk containing ANY antibiotic residue CANNOT be sold for human consumption. The information in this article is a flat out lie!

Yes, organic milk smells and tastes different. That's a function of the UHT treatment. You really did your "RESEARCH" here, huh?

I highly suggest considering the source of all this information. Are all you readers really going to take the word of some anonymous article writer over the actual studies done by the FDA?

I suggest you take a look at the FAQ sheet from the National Dairy Council - a reputable source.

http://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/SiteCollection...


Solorya profile image

Solorya 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Hi Casey--did you check out any of the links I used to backup my arguments? You know, like 38% of milk samples that are on the market testing positive for antibiotics? And I actually do link to the National Dairy Council as well.

Try reading a bit closer next time.

And no I'm not a scientist, so do your own research. I've read enough studies that I'm convinced, this hub is just a snapshot of what I've learned...go learn more for yourself if it interests you.


lamama 5 years ago

I switched to organic milk a few months ago, and am now finding big differences between organic milk brands. Just because it says organic, doesn't mean it's equally as good. Organic is free of hormones and antibiotics, but the cows diet and how the dairy processes the milk, makes the end result (nutrients and taste) very different. In the end, I have sought out a local organic dairy that offers grass-fed, pasteurized, non-homogonized dairy products (the closest form to raw milk without the risks). I will no longer buy ultra-pasteurized milk. I am not an expert, but the thought that you can leave ultra-pasteurized milk out of the refrigerator without spoiling, speaks for itself. I am also spending more to buy milk in glass bottles, which adds to the fresh taste and is more environmentally conscious. Also buying local not only supports your local farms but also provides less chance that the milk has been processed even further, to avoid spoilage in shipping. Non-homogonized takes a little time to get use to; the fats in the milk float to the top, and are not broken down in the processing to unnaturally stay mixed in. However, the taste is incredible fresh and I feel better eliminating another layer of processing.


amanda 4 years ago

My Dr. recommened organic dairy for my twin girls who started going through pre-puberty early. She said she sees a lot of this now. Makes you wonder...


Dan Sveaver 4 years ago

Casey, when did the FDA start hiring English teachers?


Dan Sveaver 4 years ago

In all seriousness, Casey's comment begs a larger question: How do the criteria [for approval of a food or drug] differ between the United States Food & Drug Administration and the analogous entities in Canada, Japan, and Europe?

Now, I'm assuming that the statement from the article "While the USDA and FDA have approved this hormone and claim there are no harmful effects, it has been banned in Europe, Canada, and Japan." is true, I haven't done my own research to confirm it. Does "Europe" signify ALL of Europe (that's a lot of countries!) or just SOME countries in Europe and, if the latter, in which countries is the ban in place?

However, if BGH (bovine growth hormone) or rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) HAVE been banned in ANY countries, I am very curious about the nature of that ban (i.e. what test results motivated the ban?) It could well be that the US FDA criteria are less stringent than that of other countries, which means that the FDA approval isn't necessarily beneficial to the average consumer but, rather, merely meets its own guidelines. I don't have a warm, fuzzy feeling about consuming these hormones, FDA approval notwithstanding. But, don't take my word for it, Casey. Here's a list of some drugs which were approved by the FDA:

http://health.msn.com/health-topics/articlepage.as...


Brooke 4 years ago

I think this is a very bias article. Nuff said.


Helen 4 years ago

In all things said and done,we all make our own conclusions.We all read what is available,but i also have an opinion that not everything is allowed to be for public,and all in time will be known more.It does not matter weather our ENGLISH is good or not,keep writing your opinions, for this is how we learn from each other


emu 4 years ago

Great info:

It just seems impossible that the FDA finds no difference in health properties in comparison with all the input.

note: re-a-search small typo in your article.


Cody 4 years ago

Hey Casey, wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to worry about artificial man-made chemicals and toxins in the first place? You are basically justifying and applauding our government and big business systems that need to be torn down. If more people realized the health crisis.. not obesity, not cancer, not pre-mature puberty in kids, but HEALTH crisis I think they would see that something really needs to be done. I'm 19 and am just thankful I was able to start living better at the beginning of last year. It's hard when you don't have the money and you are a full time student but people need to ask themselves... What is the point in living and "saving" your money for something better if you are selling yourself short in life for disease and illnesses? Everyone's complaint is that it's so expensive.. WHO CARES! you are literally killing yourself just by eating.. read the back of a label for once and see if you even know what the hell you're eating.. THAT'S what's wrong with America..


Solorya profile image

Solorya 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

thanks...amazing what gets through spell and grammar check!


To Casey At Bat 4 years ago

Horizon organic pasteurized milk is delicious when compared to Springdale brand or even Braum's milk. I stopped drinking milk after a healthier diet left regular (unnatural) milk with a bad taste and odor (same for most brands of chicken too) ... So I tried the expensive organic and I'm almost sorry because its more costly but definitely worth it, and now i know from my own experiences.


organicrecipes profile image

organicrecipes 4 years ago from USA

Thank you for the information. It's always better to opt for Organic milk :)


MojoDawg profile image

MojoDawg 4 years ago from Fort Worth Texas

I agree with your thoughts entirely....

I am a believer, supporter and have written on organics for years, but with milk I cross over to raw because of my bad experiences with the engineered qualities of conventional pasteurized milk and even organic milk I am intolerant, but raw milk I buy from a state regulated dairy in Texas, it is the best milk I have ever tasted and my stomach likes it as well. If you dont understand raw milk and how it is governed you should check it out. The facility I buy from grass feeds their cows and dont use any antibiotics or vaccines that can be passed on through the milk product. I understand that people are afraid or distrustful of what they dont understand or have not been properly informed of. You are correct to write, shout about and help raise peoples awareness on organic products and their healthy benefit for those who choose to go that way, have chosen to go organic and live...thanks for the useful hub


Tim 4 years ago

As a dairy farmer I always enjoy reading about what consumers say about organic milk. The problem the dairy industry has is, that it cannot bash any form of milk production, because bad press is bad press no matter what type of milk it is. What is frustrating is that the public is uninformed. Margins for profit in the dairy industry are very small on a per cow basis, in order for the industry to provide an affordable product the shift to produce more milk per cow and individual farms to increase herd size has happened. What should be good for the consumer to know, is that the only way and I mean only way a cow is profitable for it to be at optimal health. When a cow is sick, or not at it's very best health we loose money without question, sick cows or cows fed poor diets do not milk bar none. Our diets have been studied for decades by universities and are formulated by nutritionist with every nutrient value of every feed by computers. If we were to feed as you say a corn grain diet to a cow, the cow develops acidosis, and one of the four stomachs flips requiring surgery, and resulting in huge medical costs and drop in production to almost nothing. If we stress our cows the slightest, production goes down, examples, feeding them 30 minutes late, hot conditions they drop in production quick. Trust me cows, get heat stressed above 60 degree, so your pasture cows have to find a tree to get cooled down to 80 degree when it's 90 and while our "confined" cows sit under fans, have free choice feed, water, and lay on beds of sand where they can't lay in there own manure and stay clean. Antibiotics are used only when cows get sick, they are expensive and we can't sell the milk, our goal is to only use if we have to, just like when you get sick. The tools that a organic farm are not allowed to use scare me because I know what they do when a cow gets sick... it's sent for slaughter because they can't treat them with proper treatments. Just like humans if we treated everything with antibiotics one we would go broke from cost, two we were just plain horrible farmers that couldn't keep cows healthy, and three cows become immune to the antibiotic. When we treat a cow, we send a sample into the milk plant until that cow shows no residue, which usually takes 3 or four days. If we send in milk that shows antibiotics we pay for the entire load of milk which is worth about $40,000, a going out business type of mistake. As far as Rbst, it is a hormone that is produced naturally in the cow, that increases the ability for a cow to use it's feed and produce a little more milk. You cannot test for bst in milk because it is in all milk. Bst free milk, guess what, has bst in it, as in organic, that's why there is no way of testing it, every cow has bst. people who use bst are just increasing the amount which allows to cow to be more efficient and leave a smaller carbon foot-print. A big take home is that the dairy industry is making a product to help feed the world, and a trend that will help with dairy's carbon footprint is less cows being more efficient and long lasting. It's a fact that organic cows produce far less milk, about 1/3 less than non organic and half the amount of the leading herds. With that thought, knowing healthy cows are highest producing, it's an interesting decision...


Lori 4 years ago

Well said Tim!!


Inge 4 years ago

Dear tim,

If the cows health and happiness is in the farmers best interest, then why does the industry allow the calves to be removed from their mothers after just a few days? I have two young boys and have breastfed both and the thought of not being able to feed and nurture your own offspring is enough to make one rethink drinking milk at all!

And for our own health it's best to NOT consume any cows milk at all!

Happily vegan.


Samuel Johnson 4 years ago

I agree with alot of topics in your article. Very good info but i disagree with one thing. You say cows that are given hormones are more likely to get an udder infection. That is not true. Cows can get udder infections from many different things whether its there udder being wet to the farmer not milking out one of the quarters in the udders. There is so many things that can cause it its not right to point the finger at just one thing.


ThreeCheeseFondue 4 years ago

Tim, I understand that there is always another point of view, and I appreciate you doing that, but really.

You comment regarding BST is really just shameless sophistry.

Just because something is "already in" or "made by" cows does not mean that there is no moral argument against increasing the the levels of said substance by artificial means.

The human analogue of BST is probably HGH. Would you advocate giving HGH to young girls, on the basis that "hey, there's nothing wrong with doing this, they have it in their bodies already, we're just giving them a top-up guys!"?

And as to your equally specious argument based on economics ("Hey, we're just doing our best to make a little money here: there is very little profit margin in milk"), quite simply, as you are no doubt aware, price is a function of supply and demand.

Too much supply should lead to lower prices, which should lead to a reduction in supply. That's the way that it happens in other industries that aren't backstopped by government handouts. The problem is that farmers around the world are not taking the hint: farm something else if you're not making enough money. Stop giving all kinds of rubbish to the cows to make them "economically viable".

I buy organic milk, not because I'm an ecowarrior nutcase, but because I simply don't trust farmers to do the right thing. A few pennies more on things like milk, eggs, butter etc. is a small price to pay for peace of mind as to what's going into me, and the welfare of the animals in the dairy.


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Pinkchic18 4 years ago from Minnesota

Yes! I nodded my head through your article here. You have wonderful points and information. Great hub!


Samuel Johnson 4 years ago

ThreeCheeseFondue, just because the lable says organic doesn't mean the cows on an organic farm are treated better then the cows on a conventional dairy farm. I am an Ohio dairy farmer. I milk 200+ Jersey cows and my cows are happy. If they weren't, i wouldn't be making money. I give only a quarter of my herd BST. There is no test out there that will test BST because it is a hormone. It passes through the cows body. The cows body is always making it So how do you know your "organic" milk does not have milk in it? Just because it says organic on the lable does not mean its not in there. Yes, you do have a better chance of it not being there but still, your drinking it no matter what you do.


Marcos 4 years ago

The only difference between organic and conventional milk composition may be the level of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Having said that, as mentioned in the article, “access to the pasture is a grey area in the organic world” and the level of PUFA in organic milk will depend on the time cows expend on the pasture. I know the industry quite well to express, without any doubt, that dairy farmers are very knowledgeable and take well care of their cows and offspring. The bottom line is “conventional milk” is very safe to drink.


mmm 4 years ago

People have been drinking raw milk for 1000s of years.It contains very good bacteria.I would not be afraid of it at all.It would be just as hard as winning the lottery then to get sick from raw milk.


lmr 3 years ago

This article is full of "facts" that aren't really facts! I am a dairy farmer, speaking for a branch of well educated milk consumers. The hormones that are given to cows are the same ones that are produced naturally. And in all reality, you can text hre hormone levels after pasturization and they are the same. Antibiotics are not at all used as descibed in the passage, they are only used when needed, just like in humans. In organic milk in fact, a cow can never be given antibotics. So she is left to suffer until it gets to tye point where she isn't worth keeping. Because once you give her antibiotics, you cant ever use her as an organic cow again. Other sterotypes are also presented. If you want real facts, look on the FDA and USSDA


Kelvin Krastel 19 months ago

That was an incredibly biased article. Obviously pro-organic and anti-everything else.


Mariajomith profile image

Mariajomith 17 months ago from pa

As someone who buys both types of milk. I found your article informative and straight to the point. I appreciate that. I was also kind of freaked out by the long shelf life, so I appreciate you addressing that in the comments section.


Payal N Naik profile image

Payal N Naik 14 months ago from Mumbai

Nice article. All I wonder is when the box claims of product being "organic" is it really organic?

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