Why Should I Buy Organic Milk ?

Milk is one of the basic and most important ingredients of our daily food intake. It is widely accepted that milk ensures healthy development in children and adolescents and is the ideal form of nourishment in adults and the elderly as well. As awareness spreads about the many chemicals present in non-organic milk and about their health hazards, a growing segment of health-conscious consumers has switched to organic milk, which is seeing a 20% annual growth and is expected to rise exponentially. Why choose organic milk? Simply because it is obviously the safer, healthier, and more humane option. When imagining dairy farms, many think of a serene country setting of rolling pastures and peacefully grazing cows, with a cozy red-roofed barn in the far distance where they will be housed on comfortable hay beds. The reality is shockingly different. On non-organic dairy farms, anywhere between 700 and 20,000 dairy cattle are raised indoors in filthy surroundings. They are pumped with the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to artificially maximize milk production by 10 to 15% and often develop lameness, painfully infected udders, and reproductive complaints. At the same time, their natural diet of grass is replaced with a highly concentrated feed of high fat and protein-rich corn and soya (often genetically modified and with heavy residual pesticides), leading to severe digestive problems that could prove fatal. To counteract this, the dairy cattle are given regular doses of antibiotics. Now, how wholesome do you think their milk is?

And how fresh do you think a glass of “fresh milk” is? Most of the branded non-organic milk you buy is distributed by large multinational dairy corporations that buy from several different sources before it is processed and reaches the market. Given today’s transportation and refrigeration techniques, the “fresh” milk you buy could have traveled thousands of miles before it reaches your refrigerator. Organic milk comes from dairy cattle that are only raised on certified organic feed and given free access to pasture and fresh air. The use of antibiotics or rBGH is prohibited. What’s more, organic milk involves a different processing standard and lasts much longer than non-organic milk – up to a month, compared to just a week. When you buy organic milk, you not only support local organic dairy farmers and ethical farming practices, you also introduce a healthier, safer food group into your daily diet. And once you try organic milk and discover it’s many advantages, opt for organic butter and organic cheese as well.

The benefits of organic milk include:

Better nutrition

Studies undertaken by the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research and by the Institute of Agricultural Research conclude that, compared to non-organic milk, organic milk contains higher quantities of essential nutrients, including:

  • Up to 70% more Omega-3, a fatty acid necessary for healthy development and the prevention of heart disease, arthritis, malignancies, and skin inflammations. In addition, organic milk provides the ideal proportion of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Up to 50% more vitamin E, vitamin A, and 75% more beta-carotene. Vitamin E has powerful anti-aging properties and prevents chronic diseases such as cataract, diabetes, heart ailments. Vitamin A and beta-carotene promote better vision and higher resistance to infections.
  • Up to 500% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA not only alleviates allergies and reduces cholesterol, it also boosts metabolic rate and immunity to diseases.
  • Anywhere between two to three times stronger concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help in preventing eye diseases, protecting the eyes from damage from ultraviolet light, cataract, and glaucoma.

Free of harmful residues

Organic dairy cattle are not given any preventative veterinary treatments, including antibiotics. Additionally, the pasture they graze on and the feed they consume are certified organic and free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, and other chemical agents. Organic dairy cattle are also not given rBGH to artificially maximize milk production. Organic milk is free of any trace residues of hormones or chemical agents.

Prevention of child allergies

Studies have conclusively established that child allergies are linked to the milk that breast-feeding mothers drink and what their children drink later. Drinking organic milk while lactating and giving children organic milk clearly decreases the child’s susceptibility to allergies. Breastfeeding mothers who drink organic milk produce higher levels of IgA, a protective antibody that helps to protect the infant from bacterial infections, allergic reactions to milk proteins and other child allergies, and later to food allergies that may have lasting consequences.

Humane farming practices

Organic milk is produced by dairy cattle that are raised under organic standards and not subject to the stress and trauma of non-organic dairy cows. On non-organic dairy farms, high milk production per cow is the only priority Toward this end, the cows’ tails are “docked” (cut down to the stump) to prevent fecal bacterial infection of the udders. Under this intense trauma and overcrowding, cows are ruthlessly exploited till the time they die of exhaustion from intense milking and frequent infections. In order to continue milk production rates, they are required to calve at least once a year and are usually artificially inseminated within three months of giving birth. Their life expectancy is a mere 3-4 years, while organic dairy cattle, bred on a healthy diet supplemented by fresh grass and allowed to breed naturally often live for over 20 years.

Protection of biodiversity

In a bid to increase non-organic milk production, only the highest milk-producing cows are selectively bred through artificial insemination. This practice minimizes diversity of the dairy cow gene pool, with the very real danger of mutation in the dairy cattle’s DNA and non-resistance to viruses, which could lead to rapid spread of infections and prove fatal. In organic dairy farming, it is the quality of the milk that counts, not the quantity, and selective breeding is prohibited, leading to biodiversity.

Buying tips

  • Explore your options when shopping for organic milk. To meet the growing demand, organic milk suppliers produce regular milk, low-fat milk, half-and-half, and several other variations. You can also get organic dry milk, which can be reconstituted by adding water, and is very convenient for baking and cooking.
  • Go online to look for organic food offers so that you can make the most of discount coupons and special bargains from online producers/manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers.

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