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Milk in BC / Vancouver Island


agray
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Does anybody know if there's a significant difference between organic and 'regular' milk here in BC (Vancouver Island especially)? We're trying to get more local organic produce, buy well-raised organic meat, etc, but milk seems to be a difficult one. The only local choices are Island Farms and Dairyland (both owned by mega-giant Saputo, I believe), or else getting Avalon milk from Vancouver through someone like Spud.ca. So it travels quite a way.

And organic milk costs a whole lot more. 4L of Island farms is about $4.35 while their organic is twice as much. Avalon / Valley Pride organic is three times as much, almost, at about $12 for 4L.

I can tell the difference between an organic, pastured chicken and a factory-farmed one just by taste alone - I also don't want to support factory farming. But unlike in the US, I know that dairy farming here is different - the supply is managed, and most farms are still family farms with 50 or 60 cows. And I presume most of them get to graze. So, unless I'm incorrect about dairy farming, it seems a bit less cut and dried. Would the main difference just be the feed given to the cows (use of pesticides in the fodder, etc?)?

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Excellent question. I don't know the answer but here is a link to a recent Globe and Mail article on this very question: Is organic milk a healthier option?

Aside from the feed difference you've identified, the treatment of cows with antibiotics seems to be the other key difference:

On a conventional farm, the milk from the treated cow is discarded for a period of time referred to as the withdrawal period. This includes the time the cow has been on the antibiotics plus the time it would take the drug to be excreted from the system.

On an organic farm, once a cow requires antibiotics, its milk is never again used for human consumption.

In either case, strict guidelines and testing are in place to ensure that the milk that reaches the consumer is free of antibiotic residue.

Cheers,

Anne

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Thanks for the article link - that pretty much answers the question, actually. The feed difference seems relatively minor, since pasture is not heavily treated with pesticides etc, and the antibiotics are the only other difference.

Since hormones like BST are prohibited in Canada, looks like there's not a huge difference.

www.cookbooker.com - Rate and review your cookbook recipes.

Cookbooker Challenge: July/Aug 2010 - collaboratively baking & reviewing Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home.

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