Pesticides and other man-made chemicals have been found in human breast milk, so it should come as no surprise that they have been found in dairy products, too. While any residues detected have been rare, and of low concentration, milk is of special concern because it is a staple of a child’s diets.
Foodfacts.com notes that organic dairies cannot feed their cows with grains grown with pesticides, nor can they use antibiotics or growth hormones like rGBH or rbST. The overall impact of the herd is lessened when you choose organic milk.
Meanwhile, demand for organic milk, which can sell for up to double the cost of other milk, is booming. Deciding whether to spend the extra money is not as clear-cut a decision as some suggest.
People may turn to organic milk for health benefits, or environmental and animal rights’ issues. But when evaluating the health claims, so far, research does not support a health advantage of organic over conventional milk for any segment of the population.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has four requirements to define milk as organic, and confusion abounds about each.
Milk that is labeled “USDA Organic” must come from cows that have not been treated with bovine growth hormone (BGH) to increase milk production. People who focus on this goal express concern that hormones in milk could raise the risk of hormone-related cancers, or lead to higher levels of an insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) linked with cancer.