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Is Milk Organic?

Organic Milk is a huge business in the US. Many families forgo organic produce, but insist that the milk their children drink be organic. Horizon is one of the biggest brands, selling billions worth of organic milk every year. A premium offering by Horizon is its DHA Omega-3 milk. One of its advantages is that it has high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to boost brain health.

However, the omega-3 here is not the result of organic practices or better nutrition of the grass-fed cows. It is a processed ingredient – DHA algal oil – added to Horizon’s milk. The oil is industrially produced from algae that is grown in gargantuan vats, feeding on corn syrup. Which begs the question – is the end product organic – yes or no?

From a purely technical perspective, the term organic can be used only if a product adheres to a long list of requirements set by the USDA. Industrial additives are not allowed in organic products. When algal oil was initially added to Horizon milk, an oversight on behalf of the USDA allowed the company to continue boating the product as organic.

However, it now quite clear that this is a violation of the spirit of organic food. On the other hand, there is nothing inherently unhealthy or unethical in growing algae in a big factory.

What do you think?