New recipes

Not All Organic Milk Is Equally Healthy, Says New Consumer Group

Not All Organic Milk Is Equally Healthy, Says New Consumer Group

The Cornucopia Institute says this national brand produces better organic milk than others.

You walk into the grocery store, and head to the back (it's always way in the back) for some milk, only to be confronted with what seems like an increasing problem: Too many choices.

Even leaving out the alternative milks (which could soon be in a category of its own), there are a number to choose from: Lactose-free, traditional, something called A2, as well as all the organic brands to choose from. Perhaps you lean toward the organic, maybe because you've heard the cows are treated better, or because you're hoping it's a little healthier for you or your kids.

Stay up to date on what healthy means now.

Sign up for our daily newsletter for more great articles and delicious, healthy recipes.

But are all organic milks equally as healthy compared to conventional milks? And why (and how?) is the store-brand organic so much cheaper than the name-brand stuff?

According to the consumer advocacy group The Cornucopia Institute, an "organic" label isn't held to nearly as strict standards as it could or should be. The selection of organic milks at your local store ends up including a wide variety of milk producers that aren't making a healthier product.

Speaking to Food Safety News, Cornucopia’s co-founder Mark Kastel said: "“In essence, we thought that ... the USDA organic seal was doing the Cliff Notes version of research for safer, more nutritious food...." But it turns out that "in many cases, either directly or through the industry lobby group the Organic Trade Association, [some producers] have either successfully watered down the working definition of the organic label or convinced regulators to look the other way in terms of enforcement."

Shopping for the healthiest milks for your family? Read on:

In order to give consumers more accurate information, the institute has published its Organic Dairy Scorecard, which scores dairies on a variety of criteria, from whether the cows are grass-fed, how the calves are treated, whether they are certified organic, and even what the ownership structure is, and how transparent the dairy is. Then they collate that into a 0-5 cow rating system for ease, with the best dairies receiving 5 cows.

Photo courtesy of Walmart.

Stonyfield Farms is among Cornucopia's top winners available nationwide, as well as General Mills' Liberte , and Annie's Homegrown products. More than 160 different brands from across the country were included in the report. You can view the full list of the best organic milks available here, as well as the brands that these experts say to avoid.

According to the report, when produced properly, organic milk can be significantly healthier. In an announcement to Food Safety News, the organization wrote: "published, peer-reviewed research has indeed documented a demonstrative difference in certain nutritional components of milk from cows that receive a substantial percentage of their feed from fresh pasture. And these compounds, including omega-3 fatty acids, CLA [a fatty acid thought to help with weight loss], and antioxidants are thought to have health and immune enhancing properties."

Consumer Reports: Non-dairy milk sales up, but are they healthier?

Mooove over, milk! Sales of non-dairy milk -- almond, soy, coconut, even milk made from oats -- are up 61% in the past few years.

And the trend reaches beyond the lactose-intolerant and vegan crowd.

In fact, more than half of plant-milk buyers in a Consumer Reports survey said they think it's healthier than cow's milk.

Well, CR says don't be so fast to dis on cows's milk.

Cow's milk is rich in protein and supplies much of the calcium in most people's diets, but when you replace it with plant milk, you may actually be missing out.

Are you ready to replace milk from a cow with milk from a plant? Consider starting with soy, which is closest to cow's milk nutritionally.

Soy milk has about the same amount of protein, or more. And if it is fortified it can have similar vitamin and mineral content. But watch out for added sugars,

Almond milk is the most popular plant milk. The top-rated had slight to moderate almond flavor and little to no astringency or chalkiness -- but CR said it has low protein content and poor protein quality.

The top oat milk has a slightly sweet oat-y taste. It has slightly less protein than soy or cow's milk. It does have some fiber, but not enough to contribute much to your daily requirement.

Coconut milk generally has mild coconut flavor. It has little to no protein and is high in saturated fat.

CR suggests taking a close look at the labels. A lot of plant milks contain added sugar and stabilizers so opt for one with the best nutritional profile and the fewest additives.

Consumer Reports says if you do opt to moooove on from cow's milk, buying organic will reduce the environmental impact that results from pesticide use.

K-State Research and Extension

Released: Oct. 23, 2015

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Greek. Probiotic. Live cultures. Heat-treated. The verbiage on yogurt containers can be dizzying. A Kansas State University nutritionist said that while there are differences in the array of yogurts available, most aid digestibility and have other nutritional benefits.

"The nutrient content of different kinds and brands of yogurt varies a lot for calories, protein, carbohydrate/sugars, fat and other nutrients," said Mary Meck Higgins, human nutrition specialist with K-State Research and Extension. "If yogurt is your go-to dairy food, know that while almost all fluid milk is fortified with vitamins A and D, only some brands of yogurt are. Several brands have extra amounts of probiotics. Many yogurts have added colors and either added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Some have added preservatives and thickening agents. Some yogurt is certified organic. Some are made from soy rather than cow's milk."

"Read the ingredients list and Nutrition Facts label before you buy yogurt," said Higgins, who is also a registered dietitian. "Compare brands, so that you know what you're getting."

Plain fat-free yogurt (regular or Greek) has the lowest amount of calories compared to flavored types and higher-fat yogurts, and has no saturated fat, no added sugars and no added food dyes. Regular-fat yogurt made with whole milk has the most saturated fat, followed by low-fat yogurt, followed by non-fat yogurt. Flavored yogurts have the most carbohydrates.

"A 6-ounce serving of almost any brand of yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B-12," Higgins said.

Because most yogurts have live and active cultures of probiotics, which are the kinds of bacteria that are beneficial to our health, most yogurts aid digestibility, she said. These bacteria are added to milk as part of the fermentation process involved in making all yogurt. They convert lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk, into lactic acid. That gives yogurt its tart and tangy flavor.

If the yogurt is heated after being cultured, it no longer has live probiotic bacteria and is labeled "heat-treated." However, if the yogurt package states it contains "live and active cultures," then it had at least 100 million cultures of live probiotics per gram of yogurt at the time of manufacture.

"Probiotics may prevent both diarrhea and constipation, improve lactose tolerance, reduce gastrointestinal infection and inflammation, improve the immune system, help with digestion, offer protection against detrimental bacteria and help re-establish healthy gut flora after taking a dose of antibiotic medicine," Higgins said. She noted, however, that not enough research has been done to make an evidence-based recommendation on which strains of probiotic bacteria are the most beneficial, nor to give advice on how much or how often they should be eaten to maximize their effect.

Higgins cautioned against eating raw (not pasteurized) yogurt. It puts one at risk for a foodborne illness from disease-causing microorganisms, such as salmonella, E. coli, listeria and Campylobacter.

Going Greek

Greek-style yogurt is more concentrated, thicker and has a creamier texture than regular yogurt, and typically costs more. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate how Greek yogurt is made. The ingredients vary from brand to brand. Most Greek yogurt is made by straining regular yogurt to remove much of the liquid whey and lactose. A different process is used by some companies, who add milk protein concentrate (such as whey concentrates) and thickeners (such as gelatin and modified corn starch) to regular yogurt to make their Greek yogurts.

The method used to make Greek yogurt affects its nutrient content greatly, Higgins said, so different brands vary as to how many nutrients they have.

"If going with Greek-style yogurt, look for one that has about the same number of calories, more protein, less carbohydrate, less sugar and less sodium than a serving of regular yogurt. Read the Nutrition Facts label before you buy," she said.

Once you buy

Higgins provided tips on storing and serving yogurt.

• Keep yogurt refrigerated. Discard any that has been at room temperature for more than two hours.

• Babies under the age of 6 months should not be given yogurt. Health experts advise offering plain pasteurized whole-milk yogurt to children ages 6 months to 2 years old.

• To be more in control of the ingredients, buy plain yogurt made with just milk and live cultures. If desired, flavor it yourself. Add fruit (chunks, chopped, crushed, pureed, juiced) or mashed avocado, or a small amount of unsweetened cocoa, strong brewed coffee, mint, dill, basil, garlic, vanilla extract or maple flavoring.

• Use plain regular or Greek yogurt as a healthful substitute for sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream or mayonnaise, and for some of the butter or oil in most recipes.

• For the least cost per serving, buy a large container of plain yogurt. When you get home, flavor it, if desired, and transfer it into see-through single-serving-sized reusable containers with tight-fitting lids. Refrigerate them, and enjoy ready-to-eat, easy-to-grab healthful treats whenever you prepare a meal or snack.

K State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K State campus in Manhattan.

Demand for Alternative Dairy Is Here to Stay, as Consumers Seek Balance Between Sustainability, Health and Taste

38% of consumers keep 2 percent milk stocked at home, but 12% keep non-dairy milk, a similar share to those who buy 1 percent and skim.

82% of those who drink alternative milks do so because they enjoy the taste, while 56% are motivated by environmental concerns.

When Elmhurst Dairy was founded nearly a century ago, the family-run company sold dairy products produced from local New York cows. In 2016, it shuttered, re-emerging the following year as Elmhurst 1925, a plant-based milk brand that entirely removed animals from its equation.

“We had a very rich history in the dairy industry, but as people’s needs in their diets shifted, and they wanted to shift to products that were better for their bodies, or the environment or animal welfare, it quickly became apparent that we were moving into a plant-based revolution,” said Heba Mahmoud, the brand’s senior director of brand marketing.

The move is indicative of the times, with non-dairy milk moving beyond its status as a yuppie-era trend and now sitting as a suitable substitute on the shelves of major U.S. grocery and coffee chains.

Now, roughly a decade into non-dairy beverages’ slow and steady ascent in the U.S. marketplace, products such as soy milk and oat milk are nearly as common in American households as some kinds of traditional cow’s milk, new polling shows.

Competition for fridge space is becoming stiffer, industry players from traditional dairy brands and plant-based milk makers said, with even more options on the horizon, including food technology companies catering to environmentally concerned consumers.

Cow’s milk still takes up more room in the public’s fridges — 2 percent and whole milk in particular — but non-dairy milk is just as common as 1 percent and skim milk, according to a Morning Consult survey conducted March 18-22 among 2,200 U.S. adults.

Roughly 1 in 3 consumers (32 percent) use non-dairy milks at least once a week, with almond milk standing out as a favorite, according to a March 12-15 Morning Consult survey.

Non-dairy milks are proving more popular than other alternative foods, with two-thirds of the public saying they’ve tasted a non-dairy milk, compared to 52 percent who say they’ve tried a plant-based protein and 41 percent who have tried tofu.

Major coffee chains could be contributing to this adoption, making alternative milks mainstream among consumers who choose to substitute them in drink orders, although often for a slightly higher price, said Keri Szejda, founder and principal research scientist at North Mountain Consulting Group LLC, which works in the emerging food tech and alternative protein space to advise clients on consumer research.

Dunkin’, for instance, introduced almond milk to its lineup in 2014 and followed with oat milk last year after receiving “overwhelmingly positive feedback” from consumers, especially among younger demographics, said Paige Gregory, brand marketing manager for the company formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts.

Companies that produce non-dairy beverages are anticipating that demand will continue to rise, based on their earnings figures over the last few years.

Scott Lee, vice president of marketing at Ripple Foods, which entered the market in 2015 using pea protein to create non-dairy products such as milk and ice cream, said he’s seen interest in the category grow over the past six years, with category growth up more than 20 percent year over year in 2020.

Pacific Foods, producers of plant-based products for more than three decades, saw sales of its alternative dairy drinks increase by double digits from 2019 to 2020, said Kari Davis, the company’s brand manager of plant-based beverages.

And Danone North America, which counts non-dairy brands Silk and So Delicious as part of its portfolio, saw its plant-based segment increase in the “high teens” on a like-for-like basis for the fourth consecutive quarter, said Andrew Hartshorn, senior vice president of plant-based food and beverages.

Danone has seen rising interest in flexitarian diets, he said, or diets that are primarily plant-based but allow for the occasional cheeseburger.

“We see many consumers building their diet to include meat and plant-based alternative options,” Hartshorn said. “The flexitarian lifestyle is becoming more and more mainstream.”

But roughly half (49 percent) of Americans keep only one type of milk on hand, according to the March 12-15 Morning Consult survey, suggesting that competition in the dairy and alternative dairy space is intense, especially considering the long-standing legacies of some classic dairy producers such as Organic Valley and Danone’s Horizon Organic, and the ever-growing number of alternative brands.

Leaders at several of these companies agree that heightened competition is good for overall industry growth, with increasing alternative options drawing in more consumers who have never been big milk drinkers.

Pushing back on the stereotype that the alternative milk market is largely driven by women and progressive elites, demographic data shows that men are just as likely to have tried alternative milks as women, and that alt-milk drinkers don’t skew heavily toward those with liberal political ideologies.

Alternative milk drinkers do tend to be younger — millennials and Gen Zers prefer non-dairy options more than the general population — and are more likely to live in urban areas than rural ones, according to polling. At Dunkin’, non-dairy options are most popular on the West Coast, Gregory said, although by only a small margin.

Still, interest continues to move inland from the urban coasts. Szejda said that, based on focus groups she’s conducted, people across regions have heard of and tried dairy alternatives, even if those in rural areas are not yet purchasing them as often as urban dwellers.

Most alt-milk drinkers (82 percent) choose to skip dairy because they prefer the taste of non-dairy milk, according to the March 12-15 Morning Consult poll.

The popularity of alternative milks has also expanded the dairy space to include consumers with dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance, with health concerns also among the top motivators for people who reach for non-dairy milks. A similar share said they drink non-dairy milk because they think it is better for the environment.

That assumption generally holds true, according to Isaac Emery, founder and principal consultant at Informed Sustainability Consulting LLC, which works with large nonprofits and small businesses in the food space to help them understand and communicate environmental and sustainability concepts.

“Animal foods — especially cows, goats and sheep — have much bigger environmental impacts than most other foods, like anything that’s from a plant,” Emery said. “The less we can rely on animals, especially the less we can rely on animals for foods that don’t need to be from an animal, the better for the environment.”

Sustainability in the dairy industry is a nuanced topic, with environmental impacts changing even between different plant and nut bases.

Dairy giants such as Organic Valley are exploring how to address the ways using cattle impacts the environment, including the fact that they release methane, via methods such as feeding cows specialized diets to reduce those emissions, and using renewable energy sources at its facilities to scale down its carbon footprint.

“I think we’ll see more brands in the dairy sector doing more with renewable energy, as well as innovative manure management practices down the line,” said Nicole Rakobitsch, director of sustainability at Organic Valley.

For other companies and consumers, sustainability is even more important in branding than an “all-natural” label, so much so that some believe the future of the space could lie increasingly within a lab.

Take Perfect Day Inc., for instance, which considers itself part of an emerging category of food companies that rely on cellular agriculture to create their products.

Perfect Day uses a process called precision fermentation to create a protein powder used for dairy production — essentially giving the digital sequence of DNA that’s responsible for making milk in cows to a microflora to copy — and provides it to direct-to-consumer ice cream companies to create co-branded products that are animal-free, but not dairy-free, said Nicki Briggs, Perfect Day’s vice president of corporate communications.

The powder can be used by traditional and alternative dairy companies alike for more sustainable production, as it eliminates the need for animals — and their inherent environmental impacts — just as plant and nut bases do.

The fact that it’s lab-made might be a barrier for some, but Briggs said Perfect Day consumers are happy to marry a few of their most important considerations when shopping for dairy: taste, texture (matching dairy’s creaminess) and sustainability.

“We’re constantly hearing from consumers that they want brands to do better when it comes to things like sustainability, but taste is really key for them, and they’re not willing to sacrifice that,” Briggs said. “Instead of competing with major food and dairy companies, we can work with them to achieve this.”

Is Organic Food More Nutritious?

Right now, no one can say for sure whether organic food is any more nutritious than conventional food. A few studies have reported that organic produce has higher levels of vitamin C, certain minerals, and antioxidants -- thought to protect the body against aging, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. But the differences are so small that they probably have no impact on overall nutrition.

"So far nothing is definitive, but there really hasn't been a lot of money expended on looking at the nutritional benefits of organic products," says DiMatteo. She points out that studies done before the USDA national standard went into effect are likely to be invalid, as there were then no reliable controls on organic production methods.


There is one nutritional certainty, though. If you want to get the most from your food, eat it while it's fresh.

"Nutrients like vitamin C do oxidize over time. So even though the nutrients might be higher in organic food to begin with, if it's sitting in your refrigerator, you could lose that benefit," says Zelman.

Plus, fresh food just tastes better. This may be one reason people sometimes report that organic foods have more flavor. Because organic farms tend to be smaller operations, they often sell their products closer to the point of harvest. So don't be surprised if the organic fruits and vegetables in your market taste more "farm fresh" than the comparable conventional produce.

I'm glad you asked! (Or did you. )) You can definitely make homemade coconut milk! This will ensure no added preservatives, processed sugar, or toxic packaging. You can control exactly what goes into it!

Here are some recipes for homemade coconut milk:

Are all canned/carton coconut milk brands made alike? Nope - for example, you very well might find a carton coconut milk with minimal added ingredients, which is fantastic!

Where can I find coconut milk? You can find coconut milk in groceries stores in the International aisle - specifically the Asian section. You might find an even better deal on coconut milk in your local Asian grocery store.

Does coconut milk taste like coconut? Yes, it does. Coconut milk in a carton is a bit milder since it's more diluted.

What is the best brand of coconut milk? Well, this is subjective. My personal favorite brands of canned coconut milk are Thai Kitchen and Trader Joe's. My favorite carton coconut milk is a tie between Silk and So Delicious.

What's the difference between coconut milk and coconut cream? Coconut cream is JUST the fat, coconut milk has a higher water content. You can refrigerate a can of coconut milk and the fat will settle & harden at the top if you want to extract it.

Can you substitute carton coconut milk for canned? In some recipes, absolutely! However, in recipes where a higher fat content is needed (like to make coconut whipped cream), you need to use canned coconut milk.

Now that you know the pros and cons of canned and carton coconut milk, which will you choose next time you go to the grocery store? (Personally, I stick to the cans due to the simple ingredients!)

2 of 16

More on organic beef

Though there are strong regulations about the use of hormones in cattle, "not all beef producers are following those regulations strictly, and some studies continue to find hormone residue in cattle," Dr. Schettler says. When you buy beef that&rsquos been certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you&rsquore not only cutting out those hormones, you&rsquore also avoiding the massive doses of antibiotics cows typically receive, which the USDA says may lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in people.

A greener choice

Beyond the wallet and personal health, there are lots of reasons consumers may want to choose organic.

"The advantages to consumers in buying organic are both personal—lowering risk—and societal—less environmental impact from the growing of the food. Organic food represents a distinct choice for the food buyer. Do you want to support the conventional system, which relies on intensive fertilizer and pesticide use, or not? Your local organic farmer is the alternative," said Russell Libby, the executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association, the oldest and largest state organic organization in the country.

Organics don't have to strain the pocketbook either. Libby said consumers can buy organic directly from farmers, at farmers' markets and farm stands at prices that are often competitive with supermarket prices.

So the bottom line? Not all conventionally grown foods contain residue nor are organics always the more virtuous choice. A good rule of thumb: Skin can protect the fruit or vegetable from any pesticide exposure so when the outside can be peeled away, it may not be worth spending the extra cash for organic.

The Environmental Working Group publishes an annual list of "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean" lists of conventional fruits and vegetables. This year apples topped the dirty list with 98 percent of apples containing pesticides, while onions were named the cleanest.

Not All Raw Milk is Produced Equally

I write to you in my capacity as chairman of the board of directors of the Raw Milk Institute ( RAWMI, ).

RAWMI is a nonprofit, raw milk standards, food safety, produce- training-and-research organization. We find it our obligation to reach out to you to share data and research that perhaps you and the authors of the recent American Academy of Pediatrics anti-raw milk policy position statement may not know or be aware of.

Your widely publicized position against any raw milk consumption is something we find oddly out of trend, out of sync, and in near complete conflict with the most up-to-date research and the peer reviewed and internationally published research and findings:

1. The UC Davis IMGC “International Milk Genomics Consortium” research,
2. The widely distributed UC Davis “Splash News Letter,“ which distributes and publishes the most recent findings on raw milk both here and internationally.
3., known as the “GABRIELA study,” which onfirmed the dramatic decrease in allergies and asthma in 7000 children who drink raw milk.
4., known as the “PARSIFAL study,” which showed that 14900 kids who drank raw milk were then protected from allergies and asthma.
5., known as the “PASTURE cohort” study, which showed the beneficial immunoglobulin effects of drinking raw milk when pregnant and suggested that the raw whey protein may play an essential role in the immunologic protection.
6., known as the AMISH study, which showed that Amish children had less asthma when they drank raw milk.
7. Multiple high quality QMRA risk assessment studies performed in the EU classify raw milk that is produced as intended for human consumption as a “low risk food.”
a. Escherichia coli 0157 and Campylobacter jejuni related to consumption of raw milk in a province in Northern Italy. J Food Prot. 75:2031-2038. (Giacometti et al 2011)
b. Quantitative risk assessment of listeriosis due to consumption of raw milk. J Food Prot. 74:1268-1281. (Latoree et al 2011) (This study replaced a previous, flawed US government assessment.)
c. Quantitative microbial risk assessment for S. aureus and Staphylococcus enterotoxin in raw milk. J Food Prot. 88:1219-1221. (Heidinger et al 2009)
d. As yet, no high-quality QMRAs for Salmonella spp. and raw milk

8. The CDC data, which reveals zero deaths from raw milk in their databases since 1972, when the databases were established. The two CDC raw milk cases associated with deaths were illegally imported Mexican “bath tub” cheeses and not fluid raw milk from a US origin.
9. The CDC databases, which show at least 70 deaths from pasteurized dairy products, mostly from Listeria Monocytogenes. These include 49 deaths in 1985 and at least 9 deaths from pasteurized milk and cheeses between 2007 and 2013.
10. California Department of Food and Agriculture Grade A raw milk market standards and testing.
11. Raw Milk Institute standards and testing results as published at, which show that raw milk produced under “grass-to-glass” food safety plans and testing is a very low-risk food.
12. All RAWMI LISTED raw milk producing dairies ( US & Internationally ) have a perfect food safety history with zero reported illnesses since being LISTED by RAWMI. All food safety RAMP plans and testing data are published and available at
13. In California, 625 stores carry state-inspected, intensively tested retail raw milk. It is a thriving market. Moms and families experience immune system recovery from all sorts of gut-based and immune illnesses.
14. We must all remember that breast milk is raw milk. We must all remember what UC Davis researcher and founder of the International Milk Genomics Consortium Dr. Bruce German said about pasteurization: “Pasteurization is an 18th century solution to an 18th century problem. . . we must and can do better.” Breast milk is not sterile and has at least 700 kinds of bacteria that help with the babies’ immunity!
15. Remember that pasteurized milk is the single MOST allergenic food in America as listed at the FDA website. Pediatricians tell patients not to consume (processed) dairy products because of this serious and known threat of allergic reaction. Eight children have died because of anaphylactic reactions since 1998 secondary to pasteurized dairy products. Why would any mother give her child with the most allergenic food in America when tested, non allergenic, safe raw milk helps children recover from asthma with its consumption?
16. According to the CDC, nine people per day die from asthma, many of them children, when treated by western medicine. . . no children have died since 1972 on raw fluid milk.
17. There have been zero incidences of TB in any raw milk because legal raw milk requires that the cows are tested annually to be TB free. This concern is 100 years old and unfounded.
18. By design and evolution, raw milks contain a low level population of bio-diverse bacteria, active enzymes, active proteins, amino-acids, special purpose oligosaccharide sugars, and other whole intact vital living elements. The UC Davis IMGC research says that breast milk contains at least 700 kinds of bacteria including on occasion some human pathogens. The NIH Human Genome and Human Biome studies explain why this is such an essential part of the immune system and health of normal healthy mammals and humans. Without the resident colonies of bacteria that reside in the gut, the health of the human is in serious jeopardy. At least 80 percent of the human immune system is based on the biodiversity of bacteria that thrive in the gut. Modern medicine, antibiotics, sterilized long shelf-life, processed foods and other modern conveniences have reduced gut biodiversity and dramatically suppressed the immune status of Americans, and especially our children. Doctors must know this because doctors are committed to healing and health.
19. Many California-based pediatricians DO prescribe legal, state-inspected raw milk to children because it is so effective in building immune strength, and controlling and preventing allergies and asthma.
20. Raw milk kefir has also been shown to rapidly heal Crohns. See for a very compelling story of a young women who chose raw milk over a colostomy bag and now no longer suffers Crohns. Many other ex-Crohns raw milk consumers have made this easy choice as well. I would ask. . . what doctor would choose a colostomy surgery for their patient before suggesting consumption of raw milk kefir? “Do no harm” with the least invasive approaches would definitely apply here. I cannot think of any logical, ethical, moral, or even cost effective medical argument that would prevail when comparing a colostomy bag over consumption of a raw milk kefir? This is the level of passion that drives this compelling discussion!

It is a truly an American experience that “official professional policy lags demonstrated pioneering efforts” by many years. It is clear that the AAP policy position is in this “lagging policy” category. In California, 625 stores carry raw milk, which has been demonstrated to be low risk. It is consumed by about 80,000 delighted people and children every week. Other markets in the US have demonstrated this same growth and relative safety. It would be disingenuous and misleading to characterize this “low risk raw milk” as the same raw milk that is produced as intended to be pasteurized, or raw milk that existed in certain dairies 100 years ago, or even raw milk that comes from questionable or illegal untested sources today. It is absolutely imperative that AAP differentiate between the types and qualities of raw milks. Not all raw milk is produced equally.

A blanket policy statement that all raw milk is the same is a policy error and completely unfounded and untrue. Different standards, inspections, conditions and testing result in different levels of risk.

Breast milk is raw milk and doctors know that “breast is best!” for many compelling reasons. Children thrive on raw milk because it is complete as intended for the immature digestive tract. Pasteurized milk is very difficult to digest and for this reason cannot be given to infants.

The FDA website identifies processed milk as the most allergenic food in America. Pasteurized milk is a product made from milk. . . it is no longer milk. It is designed for Shelf Life and not Gut Life. In fact, properly informed pediatricians counsel their patients away from pasteurized dairy products if allergies are suspected. Yet the Academy strongly recommends pasteurized milk and claims that there is no difference between raw milk and pasteurized milk nutritionally. The research says otherwise. According to Dr. Bruce German at UC Davis, the foremost researcher on raw milk in the world, store bought processed milk does not provide the same digestibility or benefits for asthma and allergies as raw milk does. He also has said “Pasteurization is an 18th century solution to an 18th century problem and we have the technology and standards to do much better.” Researcher Dr. Von Mutius confirms Dr. German’s findings with her own EU-based raw milk research and confirms that raw milk is effective for treating asthma and allergies.

We no longer have the problems associated with TB, filth, Typhoid fever and or poor water quality that was suffered in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. We also no longer have the problems with raw milk that were experienced during that same time when that raw milk is produced under rigorous standards and testing. This is the 21st century and we need pediatricians to operate with a full tool box and training in all available methods to address the needs of their children and their immune systems.

We ask that the American Academy of Pediatrics take the lead and consider adopting a scientifically grounded and appropriate raw milk policy. An example might be:

Not all raw milk is produced equally. Raw milk is a low risk food for human consumption where it is produced and inspected under rigorous, transparent standards and testing. Raw milk has been shown to be easily digested and provide immune benefits to patients with asthma and allergies. However, raw milk that is produced as intended for pasteurization can be a high risk food if consumed raw and should be pasteurized prior to consumption.

We all know that pioneering new practices and use of new technologies mean that official policies will lag behind. If you can publish this commentary in your Journal, it would go far to bridge some very wide ideological gaps that divide the last hundred years of raw milk history and medical experience.

More and more families go to their pediatricians to report excellent growth, fewer colds and flu, freedom from cavities, few or no ear infections, relief of eczema and thriving children, only to add “with trepidation” that the family drinks raw milk. The pediatricians then reprimand families for their neglect and the dangerous choices being made for their beloved children. It is time that families and their doctors “become one with their children’s welfare” with immune and nutritional health status as their highest priority. A change in this blanket ban on raw milk AAP policy position would go far to help both children and their doctors.

Nine people die each day from asthma, many of them children. None have died from raw milk since the CDC started their databases in 1972. We do not claim that raw milk or any food is perfect and yes there have been some illnesses, but in balance, the benefits far outweigh the risks, especially when considering the very high standards that legal retail inspected and tested raw milk must pass. Please publish this statement in your Journal. Our country’s caring pediatricians need this additional information to more fully inform their opinions and effectively and more appropriately treat their precious little growing patients.

Mark McAfee, Chairman of the Board
Raw Milk Institute
7221 South Jameson
Fresno, California 93706


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


I think they’re necessary long-term studies to determine what actual clinical implication of the fact that 30% have found pesticide residues in non-organic food.

Thanks for this very nice article about organic food.

I always prefer organic food..i have my own farms and grow vegetation there..nothing can be compare with the quality and reliability of organic food and vegetables.

yes i choose organic food because they’re safer. Fruits and vegetables labeled as organic are generally grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Livestock raised under organic practices aren’t fed antibiotics or growth hormones.

I buy organic food because its peak ripeness instead of spraying chemicals on them to make it look ripe.