Organic – What Does It Mean?
When we think of the word “organic”, we relate to something that is natural, wholesome, crude, unrefined, untreated. Most often we think of fruit and vegetables which have been cultivated in harmony with nature, and not treated with chemicals found in fertilizers and pesticides. However there is also organic milk and milk byproducts.
So, you say- how is organic milk different from any other milk? Isn’t all milk already pure and natural?
The answer is: Yes, all milk is a natural product, but organic milk is even more pure. There are special dairy farms, which are producing organic milk, which means that their cows are fed special natural feed, such as corn, soy and hay, which also was grown on organic farms without chemicals and pesticides.
Organic farms and the milk industry are also very strictly regulated by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) with processing, handling and labeling procedures. These regulations prohibit the use of antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones (rBGH – recombinant bovine growth hormone) in cows producing organic milk. These cows are also required to have access to fresh air and pasture. Organic production prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s).
Even organic product labeling undergoes strict regulations by the USDA, such as:
- 100% Organic – means that this product was made with 100% organic ingredients.
- Organic – means that the product was made with at least 95% organic ingredients, with strict restrictions on the remaining 5%, including no GMO’s.
- Made with Organic Ingredients – means that the product was made with minimum of 70% organic ingredients, with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMO’s.
- Products which are made with less than 70% organic ingredients, may list specific, organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.
One of the more popular organic dairy farms is Stonyfield Organic Farm in NH. They make organic, and non-organic products, to cater to customers from all walks of life. Organic products, whether agricultural or dairy, are slightly more expensive, in comparison to their non-organic counterparts. The higher prices are a direct result of lower demand for organic products, as well as the cost of production, packaging, and labeling of these products.
Stay tuned to my next upcoming post, where I will provide you with some very useful information about organic and non-organic yogurt.