I never paid much attention to organic milk until I had children. The first time I went to the grocery store with intentions of buying organic milk was when my son had just finished breastfeeding and was ready to start drinking dairy milk. I reached in to pull out a carton and HOLY COW was the stuff expensive–twice as much as the non-organic variety! When he reached his second birthday, budget crunches hit the family and I went back to buying non-organic. I mean, a gallon of traditional milk was $3.00 and a HALF gallon of organic was $5.99! That’s the way things were until my daughter was born, who was diagnosed with cancer at 9 months old. When tragedy hits, one starts to rethink their lifestyle and the choices they make, so once again, I was buying organic milk, and still do today. When shopping, I look longingly at the non-organic milk and wonder, “Why is it so much cheaper?!?” I’ve asked that question a lot, but no one seems to know the answer. So, Breezy Mama went straight to the source and asked Stonyfield, an organic dairy company who is passionate to see American families live a healthier lifestyle, for answers.
What is the difference between organic milk and regular milk?
The organic label actually refers to a way of growing and processing food that’s regulated and requires a special certification process. When you see the ‘certified organic’ label you can be sure that the food you’ve chosen was produced without the use of toxic, persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers, which have been known to contaminate soil, air, drinking water and food. Organic farmers even feed their livestock only organic feed, hay and pasture – and they don’t use antibiotics or synthetic hormones. They keep their livestock healthy and productive through good nutrition and low-stress living conditions.
Why is organic milk so much more expensive than regular milk?
It costs more to produce things organically because we’re not relying on the kinds of chemical shortcuts that conventional farmers use and often receive government subsidies for. That can mean more labor and more time with less governmental support, which ends up being more expensive. The cost of organic foods is just one of the reasons that Stonyfield is working on transitioning more farmers to organic and trying to get more of our organic products in stores. We hope efforts like these will eventually bring the price down.
Should we spend the extra money to buy organic milk? I’m always shocked that regular milk is about a third of the price.
We’re committed to producing organic products, and think families should be committed to purchasing them, because organic farming provides better nutrition and safety for you, better conditions for the animals, and is better for family farmers and for the planet. Because our milk is organic, you can feel good knowing it’s from pasture-raised cows, so its naturally richer in essential vitamins and nutrients, and it’s made without the use of persistent pesticides, synthetic hormones, synthetic fertilizers, or other unhealthy stuff. To learn more about these benefits, visit the Why Organic section of our website: http://www.stonyfield.com/why-organic
Why does organic milk have such a long shelf life than regular milk?
The expiration date of our organic milk seems later than traditional milk because it’s ultra-pasteurized. That process helps it stay fresh longer when it’s unopened. Once it’s opened, though, it should always be consumed within seven days.
Milk becomes ultra-pasteurized when it’s heated at a high temperature for a very short time (to destroy any bacteria) and then cooled immediately to extend its refrigerated life while still unopened. Nutrients like protein, calcium and riboflavin are not affected at all, although some B vitamins, like thiamine and B12, which are present in extremely low levels to begin with, may be cut by about 10 percent during the heating process. So, there’s really no nutritional difference, just greater convenience and a better taste for a longer period of time.
Why is organic milk ultra-pasteurized and traditional milk not?
Not all organic milk is ultra-pasteurized and not all non-organic milk is not ultra-pasteurized. What pasteurization technique to use is based on the brand and may even vary by product within the brand. The decision to use one technique over another may be based on advantages like longer shelf life or because consumers prefer one over the other.
Is organic milk the same as raw milk?
Organic milk refers to the process of food production (not using hormones and toxic persistent pesticides, for example) while raw milk refers to milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized. There could be raw milk that is also organic, but in our case our organic milk is not raw.
Are all organic milks produced the same? Is there something that we should look for in a brand?
At Stonyfield, we’re not just producing organic products, we’re also working hard to keep organic standards strong and to help protect and restore the earth. When you’re shopping for organic milk, do your research on the company to find out more about them, like where the milk really comes from. All of our milk, for example, comes from the Organic Valley/CROPP Co-Operative made up of over 1,300 family farms across the US.
If we’re looking to buy one organic dairy product, would milk be the best choice?
When you purchase an organic dairy product, you’re supporting a whole system of organic farming that has far reaching benefits – from the humane treatment of animals, to the support of small family farms and the to the benefit of the planet. And, because dairy is such a big part of early development in children, choosing organic milk and yogurt means ensuring that a major portion of your children’s diet has been produced without the use of growth hormones, toxic persistent pesticides and other unhealthy stuff!
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About Stonyfield: Stonyfield, celebrating its 28th year, is the world’s leading organic yogurt company. Its certified organic yogurt, smoothies, milk, cultured soy, frozen yogurt and ice cream are distributed nationally. The company advocates that healthy food can only come from a healthy planet. Its use of organic ingredients helps keep over 200,000 farm acres free of toxic, persistent pesticides and chemical fertilizers known to contaminate soil, drinking water and food. Stonyfield also donates 10% of its profits to efforts that help protect and restore the Earth. For more information about Stonyfield, its products and initiatives, visit www.stonyfield.com or follow on Twitter @Stonyfield, and on Facebook www.facebook.com/StonyfieldFarm.Pin It