Got (Organic) Milk?

Illustration of a happy, dancing cow.

In a small study of milk from stores across the United States, researchers found traces of current-use pesticides and antibiotics in conventionally produced milk but not in milk produced using organic methods.

They also found higher growth hormone levels in the conventional versus organic milk samples. While most samples were within limits considered safe by the FDA and EPA, several samples of conventionally produced milk exceeded FDA limits for a few of the antibiotics tested.

“Milk is a valuable source of important nutrients that are often underconsumed by U.S. children and adults,” says lead author Jean Welsh, associate professor of pediatrics at Emory School of Medicine. “It’s important that consumers are able to drink milk, as advised in dietary guidelines, without concern. While more research is needed, our results suggest that consuming organically produced milk, when possible, will help minimize any possible impact.”

Dana Boyd Barr, professor of environmental health at Rollins School of Public Health, is senior author of the paper and director of a laboratory that studies human exposure to chemicals. In general, say the authors, “sufficient exposure to pesticides may lower birth weight, contribute to delayed motor and neurological development, and increase cancer risk.” The study’s results were published in Public Health Nutrition. 


"Study detects residue of pesticides, antibiotics, and more growth hormone in conventional compared to organic milk" (6/26/2019)

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