Last week, the National Organic Standards Board recommended the Department of Agriculture (USDA) draw a harder line on what’s considered an organic food or not, drawing the ire of some larger growers who believe introducing industrial farm practices in organic farms may be the only to satisfy the nation’s appetite for these healthier foods.

At issue: Can the milk produced by cows confined to large feed lots — rather than being allowed to graze in fields on their own — truly be considered organic? According to the chairman of the National Organic Standards Board, some dairies allow cows to graze for only two months a year, only when they’re about to give birth. That probably has much to do with why the board recommended to the USDA organic rules be strengthened to clarify that organic milk can only be produced by cows allowed to graze during the growing season.

The ruling stemmed from a complaint about an “organic” dairy farmer in Colorado who was accused of providing little access to grazing.

The fact remains, organic milk is still pasteurized, a destructive process that eliminates valuable enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, kills beneficial bacteria and promotes pathogens. I strongly recommend you redirect your energy to find real raw milk sources. Ideally, you’ll find a local farmer who will be willing to sell this. Encourage him to consider restricting grains from the cow’s feed to improve the quality of the milk.

If you are unable to find a local dairy farmer who will cooperate with you, visit the Where Can I Find Real Milk Products Web site. Should one not be located near you, you may want to try the variety of raw milk products we offer in our Web store.

USA Today March 9, 2005