Why organic milk that is UHT processed is unhealthy and certainly not a better choice than regular supermarket milk despite the sky-high prices and misleading marketing which leads consumers to believe it is healthy.
Fact: Organic milk companies are pulling the wool over the eyes of the consumer to boost profits.
By marketing their UHT milk as certified USDA Organic, an ever-increasing consumer base willingly buys it. The prices are roughly double the price per gallon of regular, pasteurized store milk. The sad truth is that ultrapasteurized (UHT) organic milk is just as unhealthy as regular, pasteurized store milk.
I’ve often thought if I HAD to choose between them, which milk would I select as being better: regular pasteurized milk from the store or ultrapasteurized organic milk? That’s a toughie. Neither choice is optimal as there is no clear winner.
Both are highly processed milks, both contribute to poor health and chronic illness in general.
Pasteurized Store Milk. Clearly Not Good for You
On the one hand, you have regular, pasteurized store milk that comes from sick, confined cows that are injected with hormones and other drugs. The cows are fed unnatural, GMO, pesticide, and antibiotic laced feed with no access to fresh air or green grass. These poor animals stand on cement floors their entire lives. No surprise that they usually die within about a year and half. Incidentally, the true lifespan for a healthy dairy cow should approach 15 years.
Milk from these confined cows NEEDS to be pasteurized. It is nasty stuff loaded with pus and pathogens because of the filth and chronic mastitis the cows endure.
Ultrapasteurized Organic Milk. Still Bad for You!
On the other hand, you have ultrapasteurized, organic milk. A consumer with only partial knowledge of how milk is processed is easily lured into buying this milk. On the surface, it seems so much healthier. After all, the cows don’t get any antibiotics, steroids or hormones, right? It’s certified USDA Organic. Doesn’t that mean something?
While the cows producing organic milk may not be subjected to the drugs and antibiotics used on conventional dairy operations, the milk coming from an organic-industrial complex is even more highly processed. For example, ultrapasteurized (UHT) organic milk must be subjected to a temperature of 280F for at least 2 seconds.
This compares with standard pasteurization temperature of about 161F. Such a high temperature results in a product that has extended shelf life. UHT milk can remain unrefrigerated for up to 6 months in aseptic packaging.
I find it outrageous that Organic Valley and Horizon frequently display their aseptically packaged, organic dairy in the refrigerated section of the health food store!
Turns out that consumers (particularly those in the US) are much more likely to be duped into buying organic milk if it is displayed in the refrigerated section. Buying organic milk unrefrigerated on the shelf goes against intuition and just doesn’t seem very natural, does it?
Moms buy individually sized aseptic packages of Organic Valley milk and put them in their children’s lunchboxes with ice packs! If they only knew that this milk is so dead that it doesn’t even require refrigeration they might rethink their choice of beverage.
Auto-Immune Disorder Link
Why is ultrapasteurization so bad? The high temperatures used to ultrapasteurize organic milk damage the fragile milk proteins totally and completely. The same thing happens when sweetened condensed milk is manufactured too.
When this happens, the enzymes the body produces to digest these proteins do not work as they no longer “fit together” like puzzle pieces. The undigested proteins then make their way into the bloodstream due to “leaky gut” syndrome, which nearly all Westerners suffer from to some degree. At that point, the body identifies them as foreign proteins and mounts an immune response.
This translates into symptoms better known as allergies, asthma, eczema, and other symptoms of autoimmune disorders! Ultrapasteurized milk is so completely sterilized that sometimes it cannot even be cultured into homemade kefir or yogurt.
This stuff is dead, dead, dead folks.
There is no way that it can be considered healthy even if it is labeled USDA organic.
The enhanced immune response that occurs from drinking ultrapasteurized milk has the potential to lead to milk and dairy allergies pretty quickly. I remember when my first child was nursing, I drank a lot of Organic Valley ultrapasteurized milk.
My son spit up so badly during that time that there was some concern that he had a reflux disorder. Remarkably but not surprisingly, when I stopped drinking the Organic Valley milk, his reflux problem resolved. No treatment was required.
I have no doubt that if I had continued drinking this milk and had weaned my son onto it that he would undoubtedly have a milk allergy today. Fortunately, I wised up in time to get off that poison!
Trading Drug/Pesticide Residues for Estrogen Mimickers
While a consumer may be reducing his/her exposure to antibiotic and pesticide residues by choosing Organic Valley milk, this is by no means a guarantee to less chemical exposure. Processors of organic milk frequently heat the milk to the required 270F AFTER the milk is in the aseptic package or plastic jug! Another option, just as bad, is to fill the package or jug with boiling hot milk that has not yet cooled down!
This releases high levels of endocrine-disrupting phthalates (the notorious BPA as well as several others) used in the packaging into the milk! Most everyone now knows never to heat food in a microwave with plastic wrap on top for this very reason. It’s a shame more people aren’t aware of the tremendous endocrine-disrupting potential of drinking ultrapasteurized, organic milk!
What to Drink Instead of UHT Organic Milk
As you can see, it is an extremely hard decision to pick which milk is more unhealthy: regular pasteurized store milk or ultrapasteurized organic milk.
Better not to have to make the decision at all! Seek out fresh raw grassfed milk straight from the cow (or goat) from a farmer in your local area. And, if you are fortunate enough to have a source for this type of health-giving milk, don’t run out and buy a half-gallon of ultrapasteurized organic milk if you temporarily run out of the fresh from the farm variety. In those situations, it is best to simply go without. The risks from consuming UHT organic milk even on occasion are simply too enormous to ignore.
Another option is to make healthy milk substitutes like this recipe for coconut milk tonic or homemade sprouted oat milk until the next local dairy delivery.
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I live in Japan and have searched and searched for healthy milk. These are the best ones I have found:
1. Raw milk from almost 100% pasture-fed Holsteins — $10 for 720ml (about 3 cups!)
2. Milk from Brown Swiss cows grazed on non-sprayed pasture, pasteurized at 75C (higher than Vat. Pasteurization) — $5 for 1L (4 cups)
3. Milk from Holsteins, partially pastured + fed non GMO grains (not organic though), vat pasteurized at 65C for 30 minutes –$3 for 1 L
I truly can’t afford the raw milk. 🙁 Bought it for my son for a year when he was 2, but had to give it up after cleaning out my bank account! The Brown Swiss milk is almost 100% pastured, but the pasteurization temperature is higher than the Holstein milk, which is only partially pastured. Sigh! WWYD? Giving up milk is out of the question!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Hi Linda, Japan is indeed very expensive. I traveled there back in the late 80’s when the exchange rate was something like 200 yen to one US dollar. Do the best you can … cut out every single junk food item in your pantry. An alternative is coconut milk tonic .. 1 quart filtered water, 14 oz whole coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1-3 TBL maple syrup or coconut sugar. I know you can get whole coconut milk pretty reasonably in Japan so perhaps this would be a way to go some of the time.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Hi Michelle, your parents are in no way the problem. Hard working families like yours are to be commended and are worthy of great respect. Let’s put the blame where it belongs: with the Organic Valley ultrapasteurization processing. This is what turns the milk from your parent’s farm into such an indigestible allergenic food. Processing is the problem, not the milk from your parent’s farm!
It’s sad to hear what my parents do so often misrepresented: my parents own a small dairy farm, and they raise their animals conventionally.
There are twenty-four stalls in their barn and another handful of heifers and dry cows running around in the pasture. Yes, I said pasture. Milk from the store sometimes comes from cows who have seen grass. Apparently, this is shocking news.
Our cows all have names. They all have personalities; we know the personalities because we work with, pet, feed, and even play with these animals on a daily basis. And the oldest in the barn is over twelve with several right behind her.
And yes, they occasionally get treated with antibiotics. Then again, when my aunt was breastfeeding and got mastitis, she got treated with antibiotics, too, because the pain was horrible and the issue needed to be resolved. Surely no one would begrudge her for doing so, but if a cow is treated and her milk is kept from the milk supply, she’s still labeled as a bad, conventional, out-to-kill-small-children cow, just like her owners.
Oh, and one more thing: my parents both work full-time off the farm so that they can afford to run the farm. Which runs at a loss every year. But they–and every other farm family I know–do it because they love it and they believe in the product that they produce.
But thanks for making us look like monsters.
I don’t think they are attacking small dairy farms like the one you speak of.
The ones we are trying to avoid are the huge cafo like places that treat the cows badly , where cows don’t see grass, where they stand in their own feces etc. Milk does not need to be ultra pasteurized. That must be a marketing thing b/c I can’t think of why else they would do that.
Please educate yourself. Many large dairies are just as safe and healthy for people and animals and are conventionally run. Our society has removed itself so much from the farm that many people that comment on stories like this only believe and know what has been force-fed to them by media extremists.
Conventional milk and food products are safe and healthy, and the animals are treated very well. It’s always the few “bad apples” that get the majority of press coverage, so consumers tend to automatically group those into a category that covers all conventional production.
And FYI, organic, large or small, confined or allowed to roam anywhere, cows are cows. They don’t care about walking in feces. They are ANIMALS and it’s NATURE. Animals are not human, nor should they be treated as such.
Take a look:
” Kalona SuperNaturalâ„¢ uses a process called VAT pasteurization, where a fixed volume of milk in a vat is slowly agitated at 145 degrees Fahrenheit–this process has a uniquely negligible effect on the pure flavor of the milk. Our end product is as close as pasteurized milk can get to farm fresh flavor. “
Wow – this answers I question I have been wondering for for months! I noticed in the grocery store that the organic half & half has a sell by date is six weeks out, whereas the regular half & half ‘s sell by date is only 10 days out. I tried searching online to figure out why, but I couldn’t find anything. Thank you!!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
HI Sarah, can you ask your local healthfood store to order Natural by Nature nonhomogenized, low temp pasteurized whole milk in glass bottles? Usually, if you make a request, they will honor it particularly if you have several families that all ask together and the store knows there is a ready market for this product and it won’t sit on the shelves unsold.
This is so frustrating. I have been searching for a healthier milk for my family. I want the best for my 4 and 1 year old. Raw milk is illegal in Wyoming, so my choices are limited. There are some locals trying to get cow shares but the ranch is 1.5 hours away. In the winter especially it is not a good choice. Not sure what to do. I don’t like the feeling I’m poisoning us every time I pour a glass of milk.
There is a brand that our local vegetarian store stocks called KAlona supernatural. I have tried the milk (low-temp pasteurized non-homogenized) and they make an awesome yogurt!
Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
Organic butter should be ok .. I still do not buy Organic Valley or Horizon butter though just for the sake of principle, though.
Does these same issues occur with organic butter? Thanks for any info you can give on that.