Study questions whether organic milk is healthier

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Paying a hefty price tag for organic milk may leave wallets lighter, but a new clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that it may have no significant health advantages over conventional milk. 

In general, milk has the same protein, vitamin, trace mineral content, and lipids from both organically and conventionally reared cows, the report says.

One reason why consumers buy organic milk is to avoid “hormones." Yet, even if a farm supplements its cows with growth hormone or recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST), the rbST is biologically inactive in humans and has no physiologic effect, authors of the report say in this article in the journal Pediatrics.

There is no evidence that the composition of milk (fat, protein, and lactose) is altered by treatment with rbST, nor is there any evidence that the vitamin and mineral content of milk is changed, the authors say.

In addition, rbST may have environmental benefits, the authors point out, because it allows farmers to get more milk out of their cows, which means fewer cows are needed.

According to the USDA, 187 million pounds of organic milk products were sold in August, up by nearly 10 percent from 2011. This accounted for about 4 percent of total fluid milk sales for the month. Click here to read more.

The study did find some benefits from eating organic produce.

Read, “Report Supports Organic Produce, but Not Milk” from The Wall Street Journal.

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Batavia, NY  |  October, 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Organic milk is a sham!!! And rbst free is a marketing ploy. Does anyone actually believe that any of this organic milk is really "organic"? So many feed suppliers have been caught selling non-organic grain as organic. And what about organic soybeans from China? Hopefully it does not have any rat poison in it, to say nothing about being truly organic feed. And the taste of this organic milk is enough to make people stop drinking milk. Blaugh!!!!

Joe Dairyman    
USA  |  October, 23, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Ken I agree! Organic milk is a joke! They have to sterilize it! UHT in order for it to have a shelf life. And people think it better because of the longer shelf life. UTH conventional milk never caught on because of tast. Organic milk tasts the same. Go figure.

farmer Jill    
Minnesota  |  October, 24, 2012 at 08:55 AM

This report is completely ignoring studies at the University of Wisconsin and elsewhere that have found that grassfed milk has significantly more Conjugated Linoleic Acid than conventionally fed cows. CLA has been found to help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Most Organic dairies are also grass based.

Alice Allen    
Vermont  |  October, 24, 2012 at 09:52 AM

Good ole dairy farmers! Lets all pick on each other, eh? IF for once ALL dairy farmers could show a UNITED position we would ALL be better off---including all who purchase our milk in the stores whether it's organic milk or conventional! And, just so some of you conventional guys will know, I have always taken great pride in providing an exceptionally clean, good, tasty and SAFE milk for the organic market. It used to be that ALL of us took pride in the product we sell, organic OR conventional and would never think of casting aspersions on our fellow dairy farmers. What has happened to the integrity? Shame on those who speak ill of another!

Batavia, NY  |  October, 24, 2012 at 10:30 AM

I remember when milk was just milk. Before the days of organic, grass fed, rbst free, antibiotic free(which all milk in the store is), rumensin free, etc, we did not have this animosity between producers of differently labeled milk. And lets face it, the different label is being used to help sell more of a certain milk instead of another. You talk about integrity.......where is the integrity in labeling milk "organic" and implying that the other milk is somehow inferior? Telling the consumer that this "organic" milk is better, when it costs more, and usually tastes bad because of UHT pasteurization, has been reducing overall milk consumption. Many people can not afford the higher priced "organic" milk and then choose not to buy any milk in fear of serving an inferior product. Where is the shame in this?

Somerset UK  |  October, 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Grass fed cows have higher CLA levels but this is not because they are organic but because they are grass fed. If you would like to know if it is the fact that milk is organic you have to compare grass fed non-organic with grass fed organic and housed organic vs housed non organic. You should not have two variables in one study.

pa  |  October, 24, 2012 at 10:48 AM

You don't know just how correct you are sir. The consumer just plain gives up trying to sort through all the claims and ends up walking out of the store with a jug of Sunny Delight or Coke!

ross university, st kitts, west indies  |  October, 24, 2012 at 11:53 AM

As a former dairy farmer, I was never a big fan of the concept that organic milk was somehow superior to conventionally produced milk. Of course we all no it is not true. The industry needs to realize that we need to offer whatever the consumer is willing to buy--just look at coke and pepsi--diet, cherry, vanilla, caffiene free. We need to see it as another variety to offeer the consumer, but we should not spend so much time fighting amongst ourselves as to whose variety is better--but I have always felt that has been the processors and marketers more than the farmers.

Ohio  |  October, 24, 2012 at 03:11 PM

Grass fed is not the same as organic

Wisconsin  |  October, 24, 2012 at 05:50 PM

Of course the organic milk marketers are going to say grass fed. Who's going to buy milk made by cows that eat weeds?

WI  |  October, 24, 2012 at 07:42 PM

As a conventional producer, I personally am tired of organic producers (and some consumers) inferring or out right stating that organic milk is superior to conventional milk. I feel that it hurts the sales of my product. If we could all just agree that milk is better an soda...

Oakdale  |  October, 24, 2012 at 08:54 PM

Organic milk not different? Take a caged chicken, put it out on grass and check the color change in the yoke. Different? Yes! Why? Who cares, it is better for it has trace elements not detectable. Dairy processors are the culprets having figured a way to "sell" non fat milk which is tasteless. We used to feed it to the hogs. "Force" a child to drink fat free "chalk water" and he will never drink milk again after he leaves the home. Force him to drink full fat milk, which tastes good, he will drink milk for life! The body needs fat!

Tn  |  October, 24, 2012 at 09:56 PM

organic milk??? JOKE JOKE JOKE...

Upstate NEW YORK  |  October, 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM

I'm for Whole milk and Organic milk, and beleive 1% and 2% milk is just a tasteless, watered down product and the consumer thinks "oh thats Milk " Ugh! It's been watered down for so long, know one knows what real milk is, everyones scared of fat. I here it time and time again. As a retired dairy farmer I perfer grassfeed organic milk ! I get raw milk from a convetional dairy and I'm sorry, but, it is ok but has no flavor ! But it's only my preference. I still say farmers should support each other, even though we maybe alittle different were still farming and there is not many of us left.

October, 26, 2012 at 01:20 AM

As. a consumer. There is a big difference.taste!!!! Same as home grown veggies. !!! Cows r meant to eat grass "weeds". I personally would ONLY Produce any producT I would be proud t I would be proud to serve my family!!! We can do our best to educate ourselves. And buy products from companies with

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