Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mother's going GREEN Day 105 - What is in your milk?

I was prompted to write about this when I visited the grocery store by myself and picked up some organic milk. Since starting to live a greener lifestyle we have yet to switch over to organic milk. My husband has not been prepared to pay the $6+ for a 2 litre jug when you can buy a 4 litre jug for just over $4.

Let me explain our families milk consumption and perhaps you will appreciate where my husband is coming from. We go through 4 litres of milk in two days sometimes two days and a bit. I have always loved milk and will have a very large glass of it a day. My son will have 1 sometimes 2 small glasses a day and then my 2 year old daughter well she LOVES her milk and drinks a lot of it almost a litre a day. Perhaps this is too much for her and we should cut it down some but for now this is how it is. Then there is the milk on the cereal and milk in coffee and you can easily see how this all adds up. On average we spend $65.00 on milk a month. If we went strictly organic this would be $190.00 a month.

I also more recently noted that milk may contain antibiotics and growth hormones specifically Bovine somatotropin - rBST (rBST is a synthetic version of the cow's own growth hormone) Growth hormones are injected into cows to increase their milk supply thereby increasing the milk produced by farmers to meet the demand for milk. This made me feel a little uncomfortable considering the amount of milk our family consumes. And what scared me even more is that for all my pregnancies I craved milk so our household demand for milk increased to 4 litres a day. Could I have exposed all my children to these hormones and antibiotics in the milk? - this had me quite concerned.

Thankfully, after some research I found out that Canada has banned rBST and antibiotics in milk. But this is not the case in many US states and other countries. In Canada cows are not given any synthetic hormones and if a cow is ill and does require antibiotics it is separated from the milked cows.

From this video I learned that rBST causes up to 16 adverse health affects in cows which in turn then require the use of antibiotics and all eventually land up in the milk being consumed by humans. This video may be of interest to all my US blog readers. Check it out.

I did learn from this web posting that for us Canadians the only difference between organic milk and the 'regular' milk is what the cows have been eating in order to produce the milk. Are they eating organic grains and grass? If yes the milk they produce is organic and if not then the milk is not organic. Organic milk also means that the cows have had some freedom to graze, rather than being a "factory" cow.

What is a Mom to do? If I lived in the US the answer would be simple. Organic Milk and/or rBST free milk. In Canada I am not sure - The cost is a lot for our family.

My goal though would be to reduce our demand on milk and use it in moderation. Perhaps then we could afford the Organic milk, if we had less demand for milk as a whole. Which I guess is were these kind of problems stem from - over demand for a product weather it be fruits, vegetables, milk, chocolate, meats etc... the list goes on.

So whats in your milk?

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