Up until 1891 all milk consumed in the United States was raw. It was during this year that the first German-created pasteurizer was imported and used in Wassaic, New York. Initially, many dairy operators refused to pasteurize their milk in order to avoid unnecessary expense, however, by 1917 most major cities had enacted laws that made the pasteurization of milk mandatory.
Today, most milk sold in stores is not only pasteurized, but also homogenized and vitamin-fortified. Although the bulk of milk products are made by use of conventional methods there is also the option of buying organic milk in most grocery stores. Raw milk is also available but it is more difficult to purchase as it is not found in the majority of grocery stores and has actually been made illegal in many states from fear of it causing sickness.
The main difference between organic and non-organic milk is in the treatment of the cows.
Organic milk production:
- Organic milk is produced by cows that are allowed to graze naturally on grass and clover that is grown without the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers.
- Bovine Growth Hormones to increase milk production are not used with cows raised in an organic environment and they also do not use antibiotics on these cows.
- The cows on organic farms are also provided more space to move about.
- Organic cows are given a great deal of grazing time.
Non-organic milk production:
- Non-organic milk is produced by cows that are kept in smaller spaces. The cows are permitted to be shot full of BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) and antibiotics which can be passed on to the people drinking the milk.
- The food they are provided with may contain pesticides and fertilizers as well as genetically altered feed.
- Cows are not required to be given adequate grazing time and are often fed corn and other grains that they have problems digesting.
These differences can have a huge impact on the quality of milk being consumed and the nutritional value of the milk. There are additional detrimental qualities of non-organic pasteurized milk such as:
- One-third of pasteurized milk is contaminated with dangerous pathogens.
- This type of milk can contain large amounts of pus, blood and fecal matter.
- The lactose enzyme is destroyed during the pasteurization process, which can cause allergic reactions and digestion problems in the people that drink it.
- Some dairy operations involved in pasteurized milk are unsanitary because they rely on the pasteurization process to kill microbes that could potentially kill you.
There are also many differences between organic milk that is raw and non-organic pasteurized milk. Some of these variations in favor of the organic raw milk include:
- Higher CLA Values
- Works well for individuals who are lactose intolerant
- Biodiverse living bacteria which aids in the digestion process
- Active Enzymes
- No hormones or antibiotics permitted
- Raw milk is never homogenized
- Raw milk is never standardized
- Cows are bred naturally and tend to live four times longer
- Better taste
It would seem that organic and especially raw, organic milk has significant benefits over conventional pasteurized milk. Organic raw milk is produced with stringent care and has many nutritional and digestive health benefits. Organic raw milk is also more digestible. The treatment of organic cows is also more humane and natural which aids in the production of high quality milk.