All milk is not created equal

March 3, 2008

by Jennifer Gallus

I must write a rebuttal to an article in last week’s Herald Journal and Enterprise Dispatch that a coworker wrote called “Milk is milk, expert says.”

This is nothing against the author of the story, she was reporting what an “expert” said, but I whole-heartedly disagree with what this man said.

Let me first say, I am by no means a “know-it-all reporter.” With weekly deadlines that leave no wiggle room, it’s hard to sometimes do certain topics justice. I have written plenty of articles that I would have loved to delve deeper into if time allowed.

With that said, the topic of organic milk, hormone-free milk, and conventionally produced milk is much more complex than what this professor from Pennsylvania claims.

Regarding rbST hormone use in dairy cattle, he states that it makes cows more productive, but he doesn’t say how hard that hormone is on the cow and how it makes them lactate unnaturally longer than a cow should, thus burning them out sooner and sending that cow to the slaughter house at a younger age.

He says there’s no way to prove that there’s a difference in rbST milk and rbST-free milk. Hmmm, how much do you want to bet that several years down the road that research will start revealing itself? We all know that research is a slow process and sometimes detrimental effects aren’t recognized until people have been ingesting a “hybridized” food product or drug for some time.

And who’s funding his research? It’s no secret that research is not always unbiased. I worked at a research lab in college – that work was genuinely unbiased, but it was also uncontroversial. When you hang around research centers enough, you pick up on things. Experimental outcomes will favor the agenda of who’s funding the project. Period.

The expert also says the Food and Drug Administration has deemed milk harvested from rbST treated cows as safe for consumption. Geez, that makes me feel a lot better, because the FDA has never deemed food products safe that actually aren’t – wait a minute, yes they have!

A food marketing strategy that scares consumers was also cited by the expert. The last time I checked, consumers are finally being informed about what’s really in our food, and even where it’s coming from. This trend is not going to die. We deserve to know where our food is coming from and how it was produced.

I’ve said before, that I believe in drinking organic milk, but I am not against conventional dairy farmers either. All farmers are hard working individuals who are feeding each of us.

My husband crop farms, but does not organically crop farm. Would I like him to – of course, but it’s cost prohibitive right now to make that conversion.

Organic farmers do get paid more for their product and they should. It’s a huge financial undertaking to convert a conventional farm to organic and often times is more labor intensive. We should reward those who are reducing dangerous chemicals in our environment and in our bodies. Both conventional and organic farmers have never been paid what they’re worth, but that’s another topic.

It’s all about choice. There are some very interesting things I’m beginning to learn about milk, and I will share those in a couple of weeks when I have more time to research the subject.


My 7-year-old got the gears in my head working one morning when he asked, “Is the day after yesterday – today?”

It took me a few seconds to wrap my brain around that question before saying, “Yes.”