Organic chocolate milk is certainly more expensive than conventional chocolate milk, but it is better for you? Here we examine if the quality is really worth the expense.
What Does Organic Really Mean?
To be classified 100 percent organic, foods have to pass a strict governmental certification. This means they can't use synthetic chemicals in the growing or preparation of the food (no man-made chemicals in their fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics or food additives). This applies to the preparation of the cacao beans used in chocolate milk. It also applies to the cows.
Large, non-organic dairy farms need to maximize their milk production. Often the cows suffer for this need. However, cows that produce certified organic milk have to meet certain living and care requirements. They must be fed only organic feed and not given any synthetic medications or hormones. They must have spacious pens, and be allowed access to outdoor grazing and direct sunlight. The milk the cows produce in this situation is "organic."
Cow that produce non-organic milk do not have to meet these requirements. They exist only to provide safe, high quantities of milk. Therefore, they are often given hormones to increase lactation. Some believe these bovine growth hormones cause health problems in the people who drink the milk, particularly in girls and women. However, only a small portion of American dairies use these BGH hormones. It isn't difficult to find conventional milk that identifies itself as non BGH.
The yummy part of chocolate milk is the chocolate. 100 percent organic chocolate is made without any chemical intervention. You run no risk of exposure to pesticides. Also, many organic chocolate milk powders are fair-trade, which is a bonus to consumers willing to pay a little more for a lighter conscious. Organic specifications also apply to whatever sweetener is used with the chocolate. Most organic sweeteners include natural cane sugar. You won't have to worry about high fructose corn syrup messing with your metabolism in organic chocolate milk. However, be prepared to pay a lot for these sweet and healthy advantages.
Is Organic Chocolate Milk Healthier or Safer?
It is important to know that the classification "organic" has nothing to do with the provable safety or nutrition of milk. It just tells you how it was prepared. All milk, organic and non organic, has to pass FDA standards to be available on the market. That means they have to prove that they are safe and contain the nutritional value listed on their box. A glass of organic chocolate milk and a glass of non organic chocolate milk will usually carry the same amount of protein, calcium and sugars. Nor is organic milk more dangerous than conventional milk. It is pasteurized and guarded against for impurity, just without chemical additives. The safety of non organic chocolate milk, due to additives and cattle conditions, is in constant controversy.
There is no denying that many people think organic chocolate milk is better than conventional. Both milks are safe and nutritious by FDA standards. However, conventional milk, with its additives, often doesn't meet consumer's personal safety standards. Many people just prefer to support the kind of 'gentle world' spirit engendered by the production of organic chocolate milk, and don't mind paying extra to do it. Other people can't imagine paying extra hard earned money to give an unmedicated cow more leg room. Choose your chocolate milk based on your own priorities. Both versions can be delicious.