Uncovering the Truth About Organic Dairy: The Rise of Grass-Fed Alternatives

In the U.S., organic dairy brings in about $6 billion in sales annually. Consumers pay a premium for the milk expecting they are getting a superior product. Organic milk (and meat) from cows raised primarily on pasture have been repeatedly shown to be higher in many nutrients, including vitamin E, beta-carotene, and beneficial conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

Milk From Large Organic Dairies May Not Be as Organic as Promised

Unfortunately, not all organic dairy is created equal, and just seeing the USDA organic label on a gallon of milk is not enough to verify its quality. An investigation by The Washington Post revealed that some organic dairies are nothing more than CAFOs in disguise, selling higher-priced milk that is scarcely different from conventional CAFO dairy.

Half of the Organic Milk Sold in the US May Come From CAFOs

It’s very much a buyer beware market when it comes to organic dairy. Theoretically, choosing organic milk makes sense, but this holds true only if the farmers are giving the cows actual free access to pasture. Mark Kastel, co-director of the nonprofit Cornucopia Institute, told the Post that right now, “About half of the organic milk sold in the U.S. is coming from very large factory farms that have no intention of living up to organic principles.” It’s a widespread problem.

What’s Better Than Organic? Grass Fed

Considering how important a cow’s diet is when it comes to the quality of its milk, especially when we’re talking about raw milk, as well as the potential for grasslands to restore health and diversity to the environment, I would strongly advise you to ensure your dairy is AGA certified as grass fed.

Why Grass Fed Dairy Is Supreme

There are a number of reasons to seek out grass fed dairy products. For foodies, the seasonal variations in flavor are a huge draw. For the health-conscious, milk from cows raised primarily on pasture has been shown to be higher in many nutrients, including vitamin E, beta-carotene, and the healthy fats omega-3 and CLA.

Cornucopia’s Organic Dairy Scorecard

If you’re considering milk from another source, check out Cornucopia’s Organic Dairy Scorecard. The Cornucopia Institute is an organic industry watchdog whose core constituencies are family farmers across the U.S. and consumers concerned about the availability and quality of organic foods. Their goal is to empower you to make informed purchasing decisions.

‘So-Called Organic Milk’ Pushing Real Organic Farmers Out of Business

Simply by getting informed about what’s really going on at the organic farms you support, you can directly support the farmers who are raising cows the right way while voting against the rest.

How to Support the ‘Real’ Organic Dairy Farmers

As Kastel put it, “Shoppers can vote in the marketplace. There is a higher authority than the USDA, or even the federal courts, and that’s the consumer dollar.” How can you tell the difference among the organic brands of milk at your supermarket? In addition to using Cornucopia’s dairy scorecard, Liz Bawden, New York organic dairy farmer and NODPA president, suggests.

American Grassfed Association The goal of the American Grassfed Association is to promote the grass fed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing, and public education.

EatWild.com EatWild.com provides lists of farmers known to produce raw dairy products as well as grass-fed beef and other farm-fresh produce. Here you can also find information about local farmers markets, as well as local stores and restaurants that sell grass-fed products.

Weston A. Price Foundation Weston A. Price has local chapters in most states, and many of them are connected with buying clubs in which you can easily purchase organic foods, including grass-fed raw dairy products like milk and butter.

Grassfed Exchange The Grassfed Exchange has a listing of producers selling organic and grass-fed meats across the U.S.

Local Harvest This website will help you find farmers markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.

National Farmers Markets Directory A national listing of farmers markets.

Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food From Healthy Animals The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) — CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.

The Cornucopia Institute The Cornucopia Institute maintains web-based tools rating all certified organic brands of eggs, dairy products, and other commodities, based on their ethical sourcing and authentic farming practices separating CAFO “organic” production from authentic organic practices.

RealMilk.com If you’re still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws. In California, Raw Farm, formerly Organic Pastures, is licensed to sell raw dairy products.

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Original Article by: Dr. Mercola

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