Sunday, January 26, 2014

Education for Breakfast

A bottle of milk. 
I made the switch over to soy milk, almond milk or nearly anything other than that which came from cows for my cereal indulgences in the 1990's (although still eating Honey Nut Cheerios). But today I'm going to try something different for breakfast.

Baldwin Brook Farm lists the names of its cows on the label: Bambi, Cozette, Lexi, Ginger, Lilly, Coffee, Posie, Hoppie and Ghee. They're in Canterbury, CT which is about an hour away. Baldwin Brook sells at Elm City Market on State and Chapel, as well as P&M on Orange Street in East Rock.

Reasonably priced.
At $3.89, that's not such a bad price. It covers all the grounds on which I opposed to drinking milk in the first place. It's a small grass-based raw milk dairy that is family owned and operated. It's fresh raw milk, meaning that it's not pasteurized. It contains no antibiotics. And most importantly it contains no artificial growth hormones. These, sometimes referred to as rBGH or rBST, are banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and all European Union countries as of the year 2000. Growth hormone additives have been a part of the food supply since the 1970's and have arguably contributed to the antibiotics resistance problem we are now currently becoming more aware of. The growth hormone rBST can also cause health problems in cows, like mastitis, which is an infection.

In theory, using growth hormones in milk requires the use of more antibiotics on cows, to prevent the increased risk of mastitis. Supposedly there are regulations keeping these antibiotics out of the food system, but according to the CDC, we're experiencing rising rates of antibiotics resistance, which most likely has some connection to the increase of the use of the antibiotics in the animals producing our meat and dairy.

The cows in Canterbury are entirely exempt from all of this, however, because their owners have made a conscientious decision to raise their cows apart from all of the compounded complications in 21st Century agriculture. I'm also inclined to believe that the cows are also not allowed to watch television, either.

Egghead Bonus
Just to keep it dairy, there's a paper on rBST available online, by William D. Dobson, from the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
It was published in 1996 and is titled "The BST Case."

Baldwin Brook's website also has more information on raw milk, if that interests you.

Baldwin Brook Farm
P&M Market in East Rock
Wikipedia article on "Bovine Somatotropin (rBST)"
CDC link to Antibiotics Resistance Statistics