February 17, 2009 at 10:00AM
by Alexandra Zissu
I have a niece who just turned 1 and she will be weaned off formula and put on cow's milk soon. We have done a lot of research on the Internet and are very confused. I'm hoping maybe you can help.
1. Is organic milk truly healthier than conventional milk?
2. Due to the controversy surrounding some of the organic milk brands (Aurora, Horizon, and some retail brands), I'm not sure which brand to buy that is available nationwide. Any recommendations?
3. Should I stick to regular, organic milk rather than organic milk that contains plant based DHA/ARA?
Thank you in advance for your insight!
1. Yes it is healthier! Organic milk is better for you, your niece, the planet, and the animals that produce the milk. No question about it.
2. The USDA Organic Standards Board has come up with new suggested standards (AKA draft rules) in response to the issues surrounding feedlot/factory dairies. These have yet to be passed. If you'd like to avoid the big brand names for now, poke around supermarkets and health food shops for local organic milk, then do the research on these brands -- how are they keeping their cows, what are the cows eating, how much time passes between when a cow is milked and the milk gets to your store. Personally, I prefer milk from exclusively grass fed over grass and grain fed cows, and lightly pasteurized over ultra pasteurized. I think complete sterilization of the milk (which is what happens with ultra pasteurization) rids the moo juice of its nutrients, flavor, and ability to foam (a cappuccino issue, not a 1-year-old bottle issue). It's possible that you may find a local dairy producing very great sounding grass-fed milk that isn't certified organic. Ask detailed questions to decide if this is something you want to drink. It may very well be a great option.
3. I avoid additives whenever I can. I'm not convinced added DHA/ARA is something I need or want, so I don't buy it.
If anyone feels like elaborating on any of these questions or answers, please chime in in comments.