Organic MilkFor many people, organic milk is the best — raw, organic, chilled, and perhaps straight off the farm. But what happens if, for whatever reason, it’s not available, either from the farm or from your local market? Do you stop drinking milk altogether? If not, what are your choices — is there a next best thing to organic milk?

There is. What I’m speaking of is slowly pasteurized milk that has NOT been homogenized.

If you’ve read any of our previous articles about milk, you know that we support raw organic milk — for instance, from organic milk producers such as Organic Pastures in California or Milky Way Farm in South Carolina — over the pasteurized and homogenized milk available in regular grocery stores.

Pasteurization

But as we’re talking "next best thing", let’s look at pasteurization, a process invented by French chemist Louis Pasteur, which means: to cook the milk, wine or orange juice. The milk is heated to kill the bad e-coli bacteria, if it is present, which can make one very ill or worse. Pasteurization can be done in a fast manner or a slow manner, where the temperature in the slow method is not as hot as in the faster method. Of the two methods, the slow method is the better one, as the heat does not destroy a great majority of the milk’s nutrition.

Is pasteurization necessary? You can find more information here on pasteurized milk, and the history of milk pasteurization in the United States, or subscribe at Mercola.com for even more data on pasteurized milk: The Raw Milk Debate Reaches the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Homogenization

The second issue in our "next best thing" scenario is homogenization, which means to make milk uniform by forcing it though small holes while under great pressure. This causes the fat or cream in the milk to be broken down into a smaller size, making the milk more uniform or homogenized. The cream no longer rises to the top.

As Lynn Cameron states in an article written for us (Pasteurizing Milk Destroys Essential Nutrients):

Homogenization is a process that breaks up fat globules in cream into very small particles which then do not separate from the rest of the milk. One of the reasons homogenizing milk became standard processing plant practice is that it allowed cheap Grade C milk (with little cream rising to the top) to be mixed with Grade B and valuable Grade A milk (with lots of cream rising to the top) to all be labeled as Grade A and priced accordingly. There is no known health or nutritional advantage to homogenization and quite a bit of science proving its harm — see The Milk Book, Chapter VII, “Udder Menace” by William Campbell Douglass II, MD. Some research suggests that this fracturing of the lipid (fat) molecule creates a free radical cascade that can cause allergic reactions and, through complex metabolic processes, even heart disease. (Others suggest that it is really the heating of the milk protein in the water fraction of the milk that provides allergic reactions, not homogenization.)

So there you have it. We have now taken up residence in Austin, Texas, and have come across a milk brand called Texas Daily Harvest. The label states that this milk has NOT been homogenized and low temperatures were used in the pasteurization process.

The label also states that this milk is organic, but my understanding of the word “organic" means that this milk, having been processed by pasteurization, is no longer organic. It’s no longer straight from the cow to the consumer.

However, this way stop is acceptable to me in that the pasteurization process is much less destructive to the nutritional value of the milk. Though I prefer the unprocessed milk, which I’m unable to obtain, I’m happy to have low heat pasteurized milk.

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7 Comments for "The Next Best Thing to Organic Milk"

  1. McKenize

    What if you can’t find milk that has not been homogenized?

  2. George Vigil

    Hi McKenize,

    It is hoped that you could find milk that is not homogenized. I can’t tell from what part of the country you are commenting. And it might take some searching on your part, which is well worth it.

    Down here in Austin, Texas, there is a brand called: Texas Daily Harvest. It is slow pasteurized but not homogenized. I guess we lucked out in that regard, although, I do miss Organic Pastures raw milk from California.

    If you give me the general location of where you live, such as a city, perhaps we can be of some help, but it is not promised.

    George Vigil

  3. Lynn Kocal

    You can get a listing of raw milk farmers here, courtesy of the Weston A. Price Foundation, http://www.westonaprice.org/
    http://www.realmilk.com/where.html

  4. Diane Vigil

    Thanks, Lynn. The WAP links are listed in our directory. However, raw milk is not available in all locations.

  5. Lynn Kocal

    Looks like unavailability is the exception, not rule. I have not found any listings that exclude raw milk. I was thrilled to have found this listing as it lists many other organic products as well. I’m not slamming the brand touted here. It seems like a good alternative and gives people a choice which is what we all want.
    Thanks for this great website.

  6. Diane Vigil

    Okay. But I think you misunderstood me. I meant: all locations in the country, not on WAP’s list of raw milk providers.

    Then there’s the question of "any" raw milk? Or just cow?

  7. Lynn Cameron

    I believe that any pasteurized milk product can have the designation of ‘organic’ so long as the cows are not given any regular antibiotic treatment and are not treated to hormones to increase production. Additionally, the cows must be fed NO GMO FOOD.

    This is the ‘iffy’ part because even pastured dairy cows are fed mostly in the barn during Winter. To stay solvent, organic farmers cut their own hay and put it up where it turns into ‘haylage’ that ferments through a heating process to nourish ruminant animals through the Winter. You can sometimes see the steam rising from the rolled bales in the winter fields when driving through the American heartland.

    Another development to consider is that yellow field corn, a very available winter feed for CAFO dairies, is largely GMO in this year 2013 – besides not being good for cud-chewers as a steady diet. This makes non-GMO feed extremely hard to find and very, very expensive – which, of course, raises the price of the produce a lot.

    This is why true ‘organic eggs’ are extremely expensive for the backyard coop – feed costs are rising monthly for those that don’t have the land to grow their own feed. The rich delicious golden yolks come ONLY from hens fed organic, non-GMO corn feed! “Natural” is a misleading term that blurs this for the consumer. Additionally, eggs from ‘vegetarian’ chickens are even worse – birds are natural carnivores (bugs, larvae) to enable the good fatty acids to be in their yolks as food for their incubating chicks. So, vegetarian chickens are fed a pretty grim diet that includes lots of soy, which seed stock is completely GMO making the Vit. A&D in their eggs negligible.

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