Have you noticed how teenage girls are getting their periods much younger today than girls did when we were growing up? They are also developing physically in other ways at younger ages. This is disconcerting to me as the mom of two little girls. There hasn't, to my knowledge, been any scientific cause and effect relationship identified yet, but there are suspicions. One of those suspicions is the artifical growth hormones (RBST) that cows had been injected with. Milk and beef that young girls have been eating and drinking for the past ten years has been coming from such cows.
When I read about that suspicion last year (which I want you to know I'm not a conspiracy theorist), I thought it would be a good idea to choose milk for my family not treated with the hormones when given the choice. Thankfully, it is much easier than it was even a year ago to find milk not treated with the hormones. Milk from cows not treated with them is labeled as such. BJ's, Costco, and Food Lion milk all are labeled as such. LeHigh which 7-11 here advertises as having is the brand of milk sold at BJ's. Aldi's milk is not advertised as such. And I have noticed on a few others that they don't say they aren't treated with RBST. Target advertised one time in their Sunday ad that the milk wasn't treated, but when I checked their milk later, it didn't specify. I haven't checked it again in a while, so I don't know if their labels have changed.
Last year, the Baltimore Sun ran a really good article about Milk and the differences between the types of milk available. I was so glad to have read it! Here's a condensed version of that article: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/features/green/2009/06/buying_milk_can_be_a_challenge.html
This article just basically tells what the different types of milk are. In the end, I felt that it wasn't worth it to try and buy Organic milk because I wasn't sure what I'd be getting, but to buy milk without the artificial growth hormones was something I could do.
This is an article about Organic vs. Natural that I thought was also interesting...
I do have some friends that are in the Raw Milk camp. But, there are downsides to that too. It was actually in Uncle John's Bathroom Reader that I read about how and why Pasteurization was developed. So many children died from Listeria and other diseases before they began to pasteurize. If you are one of my friends who drinks raw milk, please know that I totally respect you =) and your decision to go that route. But, I worry when I read about the outbreaks of Listeria (which there were several of last year) in communities who drink primarily raw milk. There are articles on both sides of the fence and I realized while researching something else that you can find an article to back up whatever you want to believe on the internet--but it's getting harder and harder to know what is true because of it. (That's actually one reason why I still like books better!) Anyways, sorry for the rabbit trail.
Such a simple thing--buying milk--seems to have become pretty complicated.