Many dairy cows in the US are treated with the compound rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) which increases their period of milk production. A recent study compared standard milk, organic milk, and non-organic milk labeled as not being treated with rBST. The results of the study found only very minor differences between the different types of milk and that none had any detrimental effects on human health. The American Council on Science and Health does a better job of explaining the study and rBST here and here (probably because they are real doctors and I am not).
The trend of labeling milk as rBST-free is another example of companies cashing in on the organic movement and consumer fear. Why pay a premium for milk that makes you no safer or healthier?
As most readers of this site probably know, organic food and farming is huge in the northwest. The vilification of pesticides and anything deemed “unnatural” has been gathering steam for some time. This topic can be difficult to understand due to the broad range of effects claimed on health, societal well-being, and sustainability. Rather than tackle the far too broad and probably useless question, “Is Organic Food and Farming Worthwhile?” I plan to write a series of posts examining specific claims and aspects of organic food and farming. Hopefully from these specific claims and investigations we can better construct a view of the pros and cons of organic farming.