Bad News: Your Organic Milk Might Not Be Organic

What would you say if I told you that if you buy and consume lots of "organic" milk, the chances may be slim that your dairy is actually organic?

Unfortunately, it's true. Because the U.S. organic market is so gargantuan (it rakes in more than $40 billion in annual sales, which includes imported products from roughly 100 other countries), the USDA allows farmers to actually hire and pay their very own inspectors to certify them as "USDA Organic." 

Basically, many dairy complexes, such as the High Plains dairy in Greeley, Colorado (a main facility of Aurora Organic Dairy), are so large, it's difficult to make sure that every complex is abiding by all the strict rules and regulations to meet the USDA organic regulations.

The Washington Post reports that when it comes to milk, organic dairies are required to allow their cows to grass-feed throughout the growing season, rather than get their nourishment in barns and via feedlots.

However, apparently even though companies like Aurora Organic Dairy, which supplies milk to Walmart, Costco and other big retailers, claim that their cows are always grazing, when the Washington Post visited Aurora, that didn't appear to be the case.

"The requirements of the USDA National Organic Program allow for an extremely wide range of grazing practices that comply with the rule," Sonja Tuitele, an Aurora spokeswoman said in an e-mail, in defense of this observation.

"We take these assertions very seriously, as we are a 100% certified organic producer, and our organic practices are the cornerstone of our operations," she continued.

Most consumers pay up to two times as much money for organic milk; in fact, the Washington Post reports that organic dairy sales actually amounted to a hefty $6 billion last year in America alone.

How does this make you feel about shelling out your cash for allegedly organic dairy products? Is it enough to make you want to switch over to a plant-based alternative?