The Milk Situation

Americans have been souring on dairy milk for decades. Here’s how farmers are trying to win us back.

Comments: 285

  1. Staples like milk, butter, eggs, and flour should be cheap and widely available. The soy/almond and other premium "milks" are marketing gimmicks and wasteful vanity purchases. There is a reason Target and Trader Joe's do so well with their in-house private label offerings. Deliver quality ingredients at a good price. Is that so hard? If companies want to increase profits, they respect consumers instead of seeing us as an object to be manipulated.

  2. There are states that set prices for milk and milk products and stores can’t sell below those prices. The federal government continues to buy surplus production, some used for military, school lunch programs, etc, but a great deal of it stockpiled. At the same time, US companies buy organic milk from overseas to meet domestic demand. These market interventions distort both prices and supplies.

  3. @GS, I agree, And I make my own soy milk, which I don’t filter so I can eat the whole soy bean, and because I don’t drink it (I drink water, coffee, and tea instead). I use it for cereal (usually cooked steel cut oats or oatmeal), and for cooking and baking. I buy organic beans in bulk online, and the resulting soy milk is inexpensive, fresh, and very healthy. And we actually prefer it to commercially made soy milk.

  4. Maybe don’t try to control everyone else’s diet and choices.

  5. Nothing tastes better than a glass of milk. Except milk straight from the jug. With Oreos.

  6. @James Milk with chocolate cookies should be required by law.

  7. @James I am a lifelong fan of dairy milk and will continue drinking it until the day I die. Plant-based imitations don't hold a flame to the real thing.

  8. @James A matter of taste, apparently. Even when I was a child, milk tended to make me gag.

  9. I agree that like Canada, the US dairy industry needs to assess what the demand is and limit milk production to cover the demand. Instead of bemoaning a past where milk consumption was high diary farmers need to understand that concern for health, climate, and animal rights, have altered consumers' perception of milk forever. And this is not going to change any time soon. It's best that dairy farmers jump on the bandwagon of milk alternatives. While the cheese and yogurt market continues to grow, I foresee this market slowing down eventually too for the same reasons the milk industry has. Its time to refocus efforts and work on perfecting plant based milk, yogurt, and cheese alternatives.

  10. @naradar, I know a young dairy farmer whose family went out of the business; they sold their cows from their relatively small farm. This was tough and sad. But when I asked the former dairy farmer if he might produce vegetables instead, he laughed in my face, and told me that he never eats them — unless his wife “forces” him to. His wife’s family owns an orchard and sells delicious fruit locally, including apples (over 26 different varieties), pears, peaches, plums, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and more. And they are delicious!! Nothing tastes as good as buying locally.

  11. @naradar I make my own yogurt and ricotta. When classes are offered, I take gouda and cheddar classes. I can't live without cheese and ice cream. I will pay high local organic milk prices to be able to feed my addictions. We may be a small market, but us dairy lovers are fierce.

  12. @naradar Good luck making cheese that doesn't taste like rubber without milk.

  13. I grew up eating milk and beef along with my 2 brothers. We're all over 6,' in my case 6',3" and taller than both our parents. just sayin'

  14. @T. B. Folks, it's a wrap! Concrete proof that milk and beef accelerate growth.

  15. @T. B. yes; growth hormones used to be a prevalent in milk via dairy cattle diet

  16. So what? In what way is taller better? Signed, a hard-lovin’ little son-of-a-gun.

  17. The retronym “dairy milk,” is interesting. All milk used to be dairy milk and it came from the breasts of a mammal. Now that scientists working for big corporations have invented soy milk, oat milk, almond milk and many other flavored white liquids, we need the term dairy milk to distinguish from ersatz look a likes.

  18. @Rick don’t you really mean soy almond and oat juice. The producers of the above products have taken advantage of the fantastic record of quality and purity of the farmers who have produced milk that is safe and delicious

  19. Big corporations? Soy milk and almond milk have been around for centuries in China and the Middle East, respectively, and have been known in the West almost as long.

  20. @Rick "All milk" was dairy milk? No. Almond milk has been around since the 13th century. The only milk a human really needs is his/her mother's.

  21. Humans, once weaned, do not require milk.

  22. @Karen It is not required, but it is a healthy source of protein and calcium. I work in childcare and we are required to serve the children milk with their lunches. There simply isn’t a replacement for growing bones and bodies. -NW

  23. @Dr D Broccoli, spinach, collard greens, edamame, kale, swiss chard, romaine lettuce... What do they all have in common? More calcium in 8 oz. than a glass of milk the same size. Milk is not a sufficient way nourish children. Variety in a plant-based diet is truly the only way.

  24. @Dr D, Oh, my, I feel so worried about all those children who are allergic to milk. Or lactose intolerant. However will they grow their bones and bodies? Actually, Karen is correct: Milk is not a necessary part of our diet. Eating a balanced whole plant food diet (avoiding processed and commercially prepared foods and animal products) may in fact be healthier. For example, there is evidence that fracture risk increases as milk consumption increases. And many populations don’t drink milk, and can actually be quite healthy — with good bones and bodies. The idea that milk is necessary is the result of very effective advertising.

  25. Big foods response to change is to try and fight clearly-labeled plant-based alternatives as falsely labeled (even as they put fake pictures of cows grazing an idyllic meadow on the milk bottles). They don’t get that consumers are rejecting their core offering, and rather than innovate, they are trying to legislate a solution. That’s never worked before.

  26. I loved milk as a child and as a grown up, I shun it. I don’t know many products that actually has an inherent ingredient that makes people sick (lactose). Maybe the milk industry can do market research on how many adults in the US gets sick after drinking milk and figure out how to fix the problem. I know there are lactose free milk but every time I see a tall glass of white, I have a tendency to scan for the nearest bathroom.

  27. @Jia Li milk has changed tremendously since you were a child. It is now heated to 163˚F for 15 seconds, and this causes a huge change (damage) to the taste, and also causes many people to have adverse reactions. Milk in the 50's, 60's and early 70's was heated to just 145˚F and held at that temp for 30 minutes. It is a gentle pasteurising that barely impacts on the flavour, and enables many more people to drink milk without suffering adversely. But the dairy industry chased profit by moving over to the fast high-temp pasteurising approach. A real pity.

  28. @Jia Li - There are lots of products that have an inherent ingredient that make people sick like gluten or peanut oil. Then there are beans that tear lots of people up. And....there seem to be more on the plant side than on the animal side.

  29. @tom harrison As someone who is soy intolerant, the gastrointestinal distress associated with consuming soy is a very strong deterrent to doing so.

  30. I would buy more dairy milk if shelf-stable UHT milk were widely available at the same price as refrigerated milk. I consume much more milk when on assignment in Germany than I do in the United States for this reason alone.

  31. @David Fergenson In France shelf-stable UHT milk is cheaper than pasteurized milk. There have been times in my life when I wished I could have saved money that way, but I can't stand the stuff, and seek out pasteurized. And then they invented "microfiltered" which when you read the process by which it's produced, really should be labelled "artificial milk-like product". You have to read the labels.

  32. Please do yourself a favor and read The China Study. There are significantly lower rates of cancer in Asia and other countries that do not eat dairy and utilize meat as a side dish. Dairy and sugar play a significant role in the development of cancer and other illnesses. Case closed.

  33. @fatedtogethernessineternity Look up the criticism of the original China study. It's the most problematic statistical exercise ever cited as dietary evidence, based on simple (not multivariate) correlations or controls. But at the time so few Chinese drank milk, one imagines that those who did were the older, obese, meat-eating, western-diet Chinese.

  34. @fatedtogethernessineternity Case still open. The study you quote involves dairy plus meat and sugar. By your sudden interjection of two new variables your argument looses validity.

  35. I can’t overstate what is obvious: Milk is species specific to meet the the growth needs of it’s young. Humans are the only species that intentionally consume the milks of other creatures and do so past the weaning stage. Most people should pause and do their own rumination on this fact. The consumption of animal based dairy is unethical, extremely damaging to the environment, and hugely unhealthy. It becomes apparent and shouldn’t be surprising that when we stop exploiting other species there are benefits to human health and to the environment of our planet.

  36. @Jeff Hugely Unhealthy it is not. Plenty of studies show milk reduces the chance of colon cancer, does not increase heart disease, and of course is a major source of calcium. Look up the studies in medical journals or Consumerlab. And don't think almond milk is good for the environment, or that oat milk is good for people. (I'm a health advocate, not a dairy farmer). A lot of us vegetarians consume dairy as a SUBSTITUTE for meat protein, so that should be factored in to environmental considerations. Organic milk from mostly grass-fed cows should not be a major concern for environmentalists or health advocates.

  37. @Jeff I've always wondered what the point is of pointing out that no other species drinks other species' milk. There are a lot of things that only humans do, mostly because we have evolved the brain power to do them. Being the only species to do something isn't necessarily a disadvantage.

  38. @Martha Dairy consumption is linked with increased hip fractures (shown in multiple studies). Dairy calcium is NOT good for bones.

  39. Yoga philosophy views milk as a perfect food. It calms the mind and gives strength and endurance to the body. But the milk we have is basically corrupt compared to the milk that the old texts are talking about. This view of milk was established by people who kept cows in a natural, kind manner. You were only to milk a cow after it had fed its calf. The cow would be fed natural forage. The milk was be to consumed immediately after milking, not homogenized, not pasteurized, only boiled before drinking. It was also to be mixed with spices that cut back on some of the mucogenic properties. Realistically, you'd have a cup or so, maybe less. If I could get milk sourced in this way, I would consume more of it. As it is, I try to get local, pastured, unhomogenized, slow pasteurized milk when possible, and don't use too much.

  40. @Dan When spending summers with my grandparents we got our milk from their cow. They also had chickens for eggs and grew their own vegetables. We would drive for miles to buy whole wheat spaghetti and other health foods that are available in the supermarkets now. This was in the 1960's-1970's. My neighbor behind me gives us eggs, we still grow our herbs and vegetables but I still buy and enjoy dairy. There are several small dairy farms and it is not hard to find alternatives to the mass dairy farms. When I drink coffee I want half & half or nothing at all

  41. @FerCry'nTears "It is not hard to find alternatives to the mass dairy farms." if you have the privilege of time and money to locate and patronize such farms. And in terms of meeting demand, it only works as long as most Americans don't have that kind of access. Beyond that, we end up exactly where we are now—with enormous herds held in horrible conditions. Oat and hemp milk are endlessly more sustainable. You don't have to give up cow's milk, either, but treat it like a single malt Scotch—make it a special thing for special occasions.

  42. @SB I do agree that it is a special thing to have access to these small farms. Sometimes I am saddened when I hear about all the farmers who have failed when there seems to be a disconnect here with the consumer. I am not interested at all in these other milk products but have no other opinion about them otherwise. If somebody prefers alternatives to cows milk I am happy for them. I'm fairly simple- coffee, not cafe latte, vanilla ice cream, chips with salt, cold milk with my meal

  43. I no longer drink milk as it does not agree with me. However, I love pizza and yogurt and ice cream. Green Valley makes a lactose free version of yogurt and kefir that have the calcium and vitamin D I need. Almond milk is just drinking a sweet liquid carb.

  44. No surprise when there are now dozens of plant-based milk alternatives that taste better, stay fresh longer, and don’t inflict lactose-induced misery. I remember the dark days of the last century when you could only buy chalky soy milk at health food stores.

  45. A lot of opinions here about milk and dairy farming based on little and often incorrect views. (All I can say is, best get out of the way of a cow in heat.) Plant-based "milks" DO compete with dairy farmers. Pretending otherwise is nuts (or legumes). And consuming these chemically-engineered products, regardless of which kingdom of organisms they're derived from, comes with little evolutionary "precedent". Many if not most human groups have co-evolved with domesticated cattle, both dairy and beef. This cannot be said for plant-based wonders like high-fructose corn syrup or most partially-hydrogenated (trans)fats. Rather than look for the latest purity test for our industrial food products (that quickly become marketed to us), like A2 protein, just make your own food and get to know where the rest comes from. Buying local and "small-scale" is the best bet. There are many CSA buyers clubs/networks... even craigslist works.

  46. @carl bumba You can make your own nut milk and oat milk -- it's much easier than making your own cow's milk. And there are indeed chemicals in cow's milk, including pharmaceuticals and hormones.

  47. @carl bumba, I make my own soy milk at home, from water and organic soy beans. Nothing else. And soy milk has been made for over a hundred years, starting in China, and in this country for more than 50 years. And unlike cows, my soy milk does not come from an animal treated with antibiotics and injected with growth hormone, much of which is genetically engineered — which is what the “r” in “rBGH” means: recombinant (Bovine Growth Hormone), and fed who knows what — crops grown for animal consumption can be much more heavily sprayed that those grown for human consumption. Small amounts of contaminants are allowed in milk; presumably, they are heat-killed by pasteurization, but the remnants of the bacteria remain in the milk, and some may be endotoxins. Well, that’s just for starters.

  48. @carl bumba Fine solutions for those of us with time to source things, money to buy them, and more time to prepare them. The vast majority of Americans have been engineered into a position of constant financial scarcity. This just isn't viable at scale. I also wonder how you can connect plant-based milks to high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated fats. I'm a happy consumer of store-bought plant milks, and none of that is happening there. The ingredient list for unsweetened almond milk is "water, almonds." That's it.

  49. “The types of milk that are selling these days are the grass-fed, organic “specialty” milks that turn the dairy case more colorful. Consider the average American dairy case: Its heart is a sea of neutral plastic jugs, which are as visually exciting as a drawer full of worn-out socks. Things get louder and more colorful once your focus moves to the organic shelves — and then even more so once the dairy gives way to the sparkle of almond, oat and soy milk.” If the thought is, sales of grass fed cow’s milk is increasing because of their colorful containers versus their conventional counterparts- let me shoo away that notion, entirely. Pasture raised cow’s milk cost about twice as much as regular nonorganic, factory-farmed milk. The color of the label maybe will influence which brand of pastured milk an eater chooses to buy, but it’s the taste and health benefits that consumers are seeking not the attractive container.

  50. Interesting that milk consumption has dropped in America by 40% since 1975. That is roughly when the dairy industry moved away from low-temp (145˚F) 30 minute pasteurising, in favour of high-temp (163˚F) for 15 seconds. The impact on the flavour of milk is substantial, and not good. The only merit of the high-temp short-time pasteurising is economy, as it is 120 times faster than the older protocol. If dairy farmers want to save their industry, they should start pasteurising the milk themselves, using the old protocol, to sell into their local market. That's what we do on our small dairy farm in Scotland, and the milk from our 60 cows sells well everywhere we can reach with it, despite being more than twice the price of supermarket milk.

  51. @orchid88 That sounds heavenly! Even in farm country I have to look hard to find brands of milk that taste like the milk of my childhood.

  52. All the dairy products we enjoyed in Scotland were FAR superior to anything I can get in the US

  53. @MF Ringenberg yes, Scotland has superb dairy farms. But if you can get ahold of some milk that has been pasteurised using the old protocol, you'll be amazed.

  54. Sure, I'll try to help a few dairy farmers: For all those interested in a traditional Irish diet - it's dairy, in all forms (the potatoes were a later gift from the English.) This also widely applies to Northern Europeans diets, not surprisingly.

  55. Interesting too is the plastic packaging that most milk is sold in today. Even organic milk can be found in plastic which I find ironic and most likely unhealthy. All this plastic packaging is not being recycled and is contributing to all the garbage in our world today. So while being questionable for ones health, milk is also not being packaged in a way that is compostable or recyclable except if you buy it in glass, which can be hard to find.

  56. @Kathryn M plastic milk jugs are one of the most recyclable packaging products. The fleece we where is made largely from recycled plastic milk jugs. The paper half gallons are much more problematic for recycling. That said I would prefer to see milk consumed in glass. The price would be higher but more people would be employed in The dairy industry returning the bottles no complaints from me

  57. @Wpearce You can buy milk in glass bottles. There is usually a deposit of a couple of dollars that the store refunds when you bring return the cleaned bottles. It also keeps your mild colder in the refrigerator.

  58. Mr. Barlow must not be aware of farmers implementing holisitic management systems, in which one acre of grass actually can feed a cow all year long, in addition to hosting tree crops or leader-follower systems. The Plant-vs Meat narrative dominating our discussions obfuscates more than it clarifies the real issues around the soil-water-food-climate nexus.

  59. @Neal One acre of land can grow huge amounts of vegetables and legumes that directly feed many people, instead of feeding one cow.

  60. I like regular 2% milk. It seems perfect for anything I need and I only use about a quart a week. It doesn't sit well with me though. If I could find an alternative that was easy to digest, but not overly thick (almond milk is good, but a touch too heavy) I would become a loyal customer immediately. I have no loyalty to drinking the juice of Bossie's udders and the funny commercials never really sold me on anything other than that Beyonce was really adorable.

  61. Putting aside the factory farming issue for a moment, the dairy industry makes it very difficult and expensive for me to use U.S. dairy products. I am lactose intolerant and sensitive to the A1 protein that is found in milk produced by the Holstein cow, the dominant species found on U.S. farms. I can't find A1, lactose free cheese or yogurt locally. I shop in a store about 12 miles from my home to find cheese from certain countries of Europe that use A2 milk and enzymes, not rennent. But the main reason I limit dairy is how cows are raised and slaughtered. Women, can you imagine being pregnant all the time? Think of all the complications and considerations you think about when pregnant. Yikes, what a life. A cooperative dairy in Oregon promoted itself as family farmers with cows out on the pasture. Little did we know that in order to sell products outside their small production area they contracted with a factory farm business in the eastern part of the state. I stopped buying their product and don't visit their popular tourist attraction. Change is difficult, but I agree that Canada has the right approach. It will be difficult to convince the Congress here. Politics will divide the country more. Sigh. I'ts up to consumers to change the market.

  62. People who think plant-based milks are healthier should ask to see the box at their favorite coffee shop, and read the list of ingredients. That is if they care about calories, fat, sugar, and processing ingredients.

  63. @Rena Joy Pasick, It is possible to buy some plain milks; for example, EdenSoy and WestSoy organic plain soy milk are made from water and soybeans, with no other additives. Two ingredients. But even milk is adulterated; Vitamin D is added, and other ingredients may be as well. Read your labels. EG: “Fortification is the process of adding nutrients to the milk to replace nutrients lost during processing or to improve the nutrient profile of a product. For example, vitamin D is added to most fluid milk marketed in the U.S. and vitamin A is added to all reduced-fat, low-fat and nonfat milk. In addition, concentrated nonfat milk can be added to increase the content of nonfat milk solids such as protein and calcium.” ( The proper comparison of the plant milk at the coffee shop is with chocolate milk or similar products.

  64. @Dr. J Fortifying milk with Vitamin D is not 'adulteration'. That very phenomenon is the reason why from the 1930s onwards, people in the northern hemisphere who don to get the luxury of getting vitamin D from sunlight, especially African Americans, no longer suffer from the diseases that come with Vitamin D deficiency

  65. @Rena Joy Pasick The unsweetened soy milk I buy contains fewer calories, less fat and less sugar than cow's milk. It also has fewer ingredients than most milk, being made from only water and soybeans.

  66. As a small-dairy farmer and a beekeeper, I'm rather taken aback by Helen Harwatt's quotation that almond milk is "much less" harmful to the environment. Almond orchards cover a million acres where herbicides are used on the ground to prevent competing plant growth. ALL of the available commercial beehives in this country are required to pollinate the almond crop, and beekeepers have experienced huge losses during almond pollinating for reasons that are still unclear. There are no native pollinators to help since the almond orchards are an ecological desert for pollinators. A lot of the problems in our food industry are about scale, so buy small and local.

  67. @Clare half the water in Californi a is used for meat and dairy production, and it takes more than twice as much water to make cow milk as almond milk. A quarter of the land in the U.S. is used for meat and dairy production. There is no plant milk as damaging to the environment as dairy milk. Almonds are a tactic used by the dairy industry to move the focus away from itself. But if you’re really concerned about almonds, there are lots of other plant milks to choose from...all better for the environment than dairy milk.

  68. @Michele Clare is correct. The devastation wrought upon the honeybees by commercial almond production is a future catastrophe.

  69. @Michele - We don't typically get as concerned about water here in Washington as they do in southern California which is a desert that people tried to turn into green lawns and open swimming pools to evaporate. Almonds will only grow in the southeastern part of the state due to weather. Cows are all over western Washington and love the abundance of grass. Cows are not a great choice for southern California.

  70. I grew up on a farm. Back then, our cows were not forced to eat grains. They stayed on the fields during the day, ate fresh grass and weeds or hay. The milk back then tasted better, there was no sugar added. We skimmed the cream off, a special treat for our farm cats and us as well. I blame many of our health issues -including my own- on the way I ate, and ultimately on the food industry -and that includes the dairy farmers. I have an autoimmune disorder. Drinking cows milk and eating dairy products hurts me. I didn't want to believe it, rebelled against it, but became quickly pain-free when I changed my diet. First I was forced, now I refuse to eat or drink unhealthy products. Change your ways guys! Make your product healthy and affordable, and we might come back!

  71. @Bri I'm with you, Bri.There is nothing made from cow's milk that I don't love, but it triggers inflammation that makes me hurt all over. A few bites of ice cream, a tiny bit of butter, I can manage, but more than that, and my lower back begins to hurt and from there it spreads--shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips. What really fascinates me is that very old injuries--e.g., the site of a torn ligament in my ankle that healed years ago--will begin hurting again. So, yes, the pain forced me to give it up, too, but I'm not quite as self disciplined as you are: I still give in to temptation occasionally, and I always pay the price!

  72. @BriThe poison and genetic genetic engineering that it takes to raise the green for grain fed cows is one of the likely reasons for milk being a lower quality product that in the past. Go organic go pastured go small

  73. Would love to get my hands on some good shelf stable powdered whole milk-antibiotic free. Or even the skim variety--but shelves are bare. That would be one way we could get through the long quarantines and have great options for dairy.

  74. Treat the cows well . Pasture raised . That’s what I do

  75. I suspect the aging of the population with greater concern for diet has led to a decline in milk consumption along with an increase in the lactose intolerant population. In the 1950s, there was the Walker Gordon Farm outside of Princeton, NJ, that welcomed visitors. The highlight was a rotunda tastefully decorated with bovine murals where a giant turntable known as the "rotolactor" operated. Cows would board this and be milked by men in white uniforms using milking machines. This device was previously displayed at the 1939 World's Fair. This was a popular attraction in both locations. There is a story supposedly from a letter written by a child evacuated during the London Blitz. The child complained that in the city, milk was obtained from a nice clean bottle, while in the country, it came from a dirty old cow.

  76. Industrial farming seems cruel to the cows and I like water.

  77. Make more cheese if there is so much extra milk.

  78. @Jacquie They do. It’s stockpiled in huge warehouses because we’re producing too much milk.

  79. Does America have a strategic cheese reserve?

  80. @Jacquie The government warehouses are filled to the brim with surplus cheese.

  81. "its supposed cruelty" Way to have journalistic courage! Dairy is incredibly cruel. Not to mention unnecessary, horrible for the environment, and quite possibly bad for humans. I feel for struggling dairy farmers but this is an industry that needs to stop.

  82. @GS - The auto industry is horrible for the environment. Have you sold your auto yet? I have not bought a gallon of gas in 10 years now so I could drink quite a bit of milk to break even with the average vegan on these comments who still sports a large SUV.

  83. A planet of 7.5 billion peeps, on the way to 11 billion, cannot also support cattle. Cows require too much water, feed and land, and produce Yoooge amounts of waste, including ozone-destroying methane. "Environmentally raised cattle" is akin to "clean coal" - both oxymorons. Cows or kids, peeps. What's your choice? This article gives lip service to the reality that dairy comes from Big Agribusiness, like ADF, Land O' Lakes and Dean Foods (recently bankrupted by non-dairy products), but then shows photos of the modern equivalent of Pa Kettle and his switch to Cow Tourism to make a living. When Congress Critters bemoan the fate of "America's farmers", and the need to throw ever greater amounts of taxpayer-funded welfare at 'em to "help them survive", it is NOT Pa Kettle that gets the money. It's just more Welfare for Big Ag, sloppin' at the trough as always.

  84. @Miss Anne Thrope - "A planet of 7.5 billion peeps, on the way to 11 billion...Cows or kids, peeps. What's your choice?" Its obvious that there are too many people not too many cows. So, the obvious answer is to start spaying and neutering folks just like dogs and cats.

  85. Milk has been pushed on us since the end of WW2 when falling consumption hurt the industry. Don’t fall for it. Like everything this country, if it’s marketed a lot, you should be suspicious. In addition, every dairy farmer I know sells us all out by voting Republican, so I have little sympathy for them. They dearly want to be subsidized- but everyone else be damned.

  86. @Bill S. Late 50s and 60s we school kids lined up for the milk machine in every hallway.

  87. @Bill S. People are finally waking up!

  88. I love the continued glorification of the dairy farm that is all predicated on the continual rape of cows and the stripping of calf's from their mothers. Also all the cow milk everyone drinks has pus in it because utters become infected after persistent milking for years on end.

  89. milk is disgusting.

  90. "Supposed cruelty," even after the farmers cited describe a life spent inside a barn? Perhaps you forgot to mention the barcalounger and flat screen TV?

  91. @John Walker Small producers cows and password cows don’t spend their entire lives in the barn the opposite might be true except for milking

  92. Joaquin, bless him, is one of my favorite actors. But he really made me scratch my head with that speech. I don’t think we should knock anybody for having a strong belief in anything, and if veganism is his thing, more power to him, but the speech was a little misguided. It really sounded like he wants to let cows live wild — “taking the milk that the cow is supposed to use to feed her baby.” Okay Joaquin. Why did our long-ago ancestors domesticate cows? We don’t ride them like horses. We don’t walk them around on leashes (actually I know a guy who does this with his fancy schmancy prize-winning cow but I digress), we don’t shear them for wool. So why did we domesticate them? The same reason we domesticated chickens. Because most humans are omnivores. Not to get philosophical here, but what is the point of a cow? Have you ever been around a cow? They’re not the sharpest tools. Really, I‘d like Joaquin to explain why he thinks cows are on this planet. I sound like a dumb redneck to some people, I’m sure. But trust me, I’m educated and I detest the Republican Party and the woes of Big Ag as much as most educated people. Having grown up around farmers and cattlemen, I will tell you that they are some of the best stewards of the land I know. They are environmentalists, they don’t mistreat their animals, they love their profession, and part of me wonders if we’d all be happier if we got back to our root, living sustainably. Farming people just view the world so differently.

  93. @Corrie My grandparents were also cattle farmers. The had acres of pasture and forested land and the animals roamed free. I loved encountering them unexpectedly in the wood. That has essentially nothing to do with how most cattle are raised and the horrors visited in process on both them and the environment. I have been around cattle, and they love a good head scritch as much as any dog. They cry out when in pain, just like you and I do. I am continuously disappointed by the willingness of people to deny value to others unless those others serve their selfish ends. What is the value of a cow? What makes you the judge of another life's value?

  94. @Corrie Do you realize that humans are the only creatures on the planet who consume the breast milk of another species throughout their entire lives? Regardless of whether or not cows are "wild", the idea of drinking milk is pretty gross once you actually think about it. I also agree that its safe to assume that most farmers don't abuse their animals. But there are enough (absolutely horrific )videos of abuse out there, that is also safe to assume that they're NOT isolated incidents. Turning animals into a factory commodity never works out. It always gets ugly.

  95. @Corrie Seriously, you think other species are only on the planet to serve humans in one way or another? That’s quite sad.

  96. If cows were a country they would be the number 3 emitter of greenhouse gasses in the world. Enough already.

  97. @AW - And humans are number one. Enough already!

  98. Still gotta have it to wash down some chocolate chip cookies.

  99. @Cliff As it was written, so it shall be. Just treat it like you would a single malt Scotch—an occasional treat.

  100. It's all about killing the cow after she no longer can produce. Let the industry die. Let's at least give the pretense that we value life besides our own skins in the day of coronavirus and hoarders of the essentials.

  101. So much confusion around milk, including the Milk Mustache and Got Milk? ad campaigns. They weren't one, but two distinct campaigns. Milk Mustache was sponsored by the Milk Processors Education Program, a Washington DC-based check -off program. Got Milk? was sponsored initially by the California Milk Processors, then nationally by Dairy Management Inc, a trade association of dairy farmers headquartered in Rosemont, Ill. More evidence: strategically different efforts to stem decline in per capita milk consumption. Milk Mustache (print ads only) encouraged people of all ages to continue to drink milk throughout their lifetimes for the health benefits, most importantly that of calcium at a time when everything from orange juice to Tums was touting their calcium content. Got Milk? (TV only) on the other hand encouraged milk lovers to not run out of milk because it went perfectly with cereal, chocolate cake and cookies. Milk Mustache was created by New York City ad agency Bozell Worldwide. Got Milk? by San Francisco's Goody Berlin Silverstein. Goodby strategist Jon Steel tells their milk story in the book "Truth, Lies & Advertising." I was the strategist at Bozell and unfortunately didn't write a book.

  102. @Idaho Native "Got Milk?" and the Milk Mustache merged in the '90s. The celebrities with milk mustaches mentioned at the top of the story were all in ads that included the 'got milk?' slogan.

  103. @Scott True, to a degree. Jon Steel and I travelled the country "selling" our respective campaigns to the various milk organizations as the producers (dairy farmers) and processors got together to combine resources behind one of the two campaigns. They chose Milk Mustache but asked if "Got Milk?," a worthy catchphrase, could be incorporated into it. Both campaigns continued separately each operating under its own differentiated strategy.

  104. Ugh. How about we leave milk to kids.

  105. The fate of milk, like of just about everything else, is determined by competitive marketing. Facts are sought out only if they help sales or the positioning of products. Distractions and misleading presentations take care of facts that would hurt sales. Competitive marketing provides the framework within which we make decisions we think are individual and fact-based.

  106. The fact is that all these non dairy milk products are just sugar water, with limited nutritious value, outside of the nutrients added at the factory. I'm all for animal welfare, so I'll buy my dairy products from small producers who care for their animals properly.

  107. @MarkKA I'm not sure where you're getting this information from ,but there is ZERO sugar in most of the common brands of coconut, almond andoat milk. Blue Diamond, Oatley, and Silk all manufacture far more of the unsweetened kind than the sweetened and ALL of it is very clearly labeled unsweetened. You may want to take a moment to read the label.

  108. @MarkKA You do realize that milk has added nutrients, right? Otherwise, you wouldn't be getting the "health benefits." The FDA literally regulates what nutrients MUST be added in to milks, like whole, skim, etc.

  109. @MarkKA Besides the fact that many of the non-dairy milks are unsweetened, an 8oz cup of milk already contains 13g of sugars. That's the same as putting three teaspoons of sugar in a small cup of coffee.

  110. I, for one, can't figure out how people use so much milk. A quart of soy milk typically sits in my fridge for a month before finally being used up. Besides baking cakes and cookies once in a while and eating an occasional bowl of cereal, there aren't many other uses I have for it. Yogurt is a far superior product, in my opinion. I make my own from raw, organic, grass-fed Jersey cow milk and go through about a quart a week, mostly eaten straight from the jar. I find it far more digestible. It also keeps for weeks whereas raw cow's milk sours in a few days.

  111. @Scott Try baking with coconut cream, oat or almond milk, vegan butter, etc.

  112. @Alex , I do bake with those ingredients, including the soy milk that I mentioned above.

  113. I get A2 milk from Costco for my family and it’s packaging is colorful but I was hopeful it would soon come in plastic or glass jugs instead of the paper cartons that may or may not be recycled in various towns. Reading this article about dairy industry thinking it’s product is not marketed fancy enough I have low hopes of a greener package design.

  114. We drink oat milk. It is least environmentally taxing beverage and tastes great! Dairy milk is so last century, energy and land consuming. We need to move on, except for cheese.

  115. @Richard Paul Not to me oat milk doesn't taste great. We still use some but pouring it into our coffee is like pouring in, well, oatmeal. I also stopped using it for making bread, pancakes, and waffles. As the article says nothing beats the taste of butter fat. Because milk has real fat it makes pancakes and waffles less sticky so they require less oil. For all the consumption of "milk" squeezed from oats, almonds, hemp, and so forth, are those earth-savers consuming less beef and pork? Yes, factory barns are cruel but what about stock yards and slaughter houses? No thanks. I gladly trade a hamburger for a little milk.

  116. @Richard Paul - I also drink oat milk. But I wouldn't call dairy so last century. And my oat milk has about half the protein and nutrients that my dairy milk had so now I have to try and make that up. And, now I have to still worry about GMO grain and pesticides. But the oat milk makes (to my taste) a great latte with home roasted Ethiopian coffee and I quit the milk and Hershey's chocolate syrup because of it. My real issue with dairy these days is hormones and cholesterol which aren't a concern with oat milk. And did I say that I like that lattes with oat as much as I did mochas with cow? Almond milk just would not froth up very well and I could actually afford to make oat milk at home.

  117. @Richard Paul so, yeah, plant-based cheese has a way to go- and it’s better today than it was a year ago. Dairy cheese makers have had, what, 10,000 years to perfect their craft? Let’s give the Oat/Hemp/Almond folks some time to make something delicious and less cruel.

  118. 'Despite the quaint imagery many people still associate with milk’s creation, almost all of it is produced at a factory scale.' And that's a downright shame. First of all, those cows on factory farms never get to spend any time outdoors. That's just plain wrong. To their corporate owners, they are nothing more than widgets. There have been credible media reports of undercover spies going to work on factory dairy farms and exposing the horrific abuse that the cows endure at the hands of uncaring human workers. Secondly, bovine growth hormone is routinely used on U.S. dairy farms to artificially inflate milk production (a practice that is illegal in Canada and many other countries). Consequently, the health of the cows as well as the quality of the milk suffers. As for the reference to the Canadian 'quota' system (as we call it here). Well, it's a sensible and necessary safety net for the smaller family farms. Unfortunately, our evil factory farms are protected under that same system - even though they don't need the protection.

  119. @Astrid Once again, buy local, buy organic, buy pastured.

  120. There is no reason a healthy human beyond infancy needs dairy products. It is unconscionable that we continue to subsidize and promote a product which has no real reason to exist. I just don't see how declining consumption of dairy is a problem. It was way too high in the past. This is like tobacco growers decrying the decline tobacco use and marketing vaping. We don't need creative ways to make dairy more appealing.

  121. I love a glass of ice cold milk after working out in the gym. Say why you want but Bessie has a far better product for you than the likes of white vegetable juice. If I wanted juice I’d drink juice not some legume byproduct or grain substitute.

  122. @Douglas Klein You know what’s weird? I think most Americans would be horrified at the thought of drinking a glass of human milk, but think it’s completely normal to drink milk from another species. When you really think about it the whole thing is creepy.

  123. I don't much buy any "milk" products, dairy or otherwise, save for when a recipe may call for it, but if/when I do drink "milk" I much prefer the non-dairy versions, reason being... dairy milk tastes gross, it has a weird "texture" and never seems cold enough. The non-dairy versions are often bland and can be overly sweet. Water, anyone?

  124. "almond milk takes half as much water to make than the same amount of dairy" Perhaps in California or other arid states, where cows consume forages grown with irrigation. Here in VT, our cows graze on naturally (rain) watered pastures 200 days a year. We have groups of heifers that go to remote pastures and graze exclusively from May through October. I could go on at some length, but you get the point. I realize that it is easier said than done, but "know thy farmer" is always the best bet.

  125. @Pete Baloney. “ Imported feed has allowed Vermont dairy farming to dramatically increase in efficiency, and while this drives down the price Vermont farmers can demand for their milk, the increased production costs the state in other ways, Wironen said. “The places producing (Vermont’s milk) and bearing the water-quality costs are not the places benefiting from cheap milk,” he said. For nearly a century, Vermont farmers have imported far more phosphorus than they require to grow their crops and feed their cattle, Wironen’s study found. Since 1925, farmers in the state have imported more than 1,000 metric tons of excess phosphorus each year. Much of that phosphorus finds its way to Vermont’s public bodies of water, where phosphorus pollution in recent years has nourished toxic blooms of cyanobacteria, an organism sometimes referred to as blue-green algae that has discolored some of the state’s biggest lakes.”

  126. You are describing the Vermont dairy industry the way it was in the 1950s. Those “grazing pastures” have been planted with corn, which is what cows eat on conventional dairy farms. The pesticides and fertilizers that are sprayed on those corn fields have polluted the state’s waterways. The lake where I used to go to Boy Scout camp is closed to swimmers. The reality of life on Vermont dairy farms is now completely the opposite of what you see on a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream carton.

  127. Dairy is doomed, and good riddance to this cruel and polluting and unhealthy industry. We need to stop subsidizing it, and we need funds to help transition dairy farmers to healthier and more sustainable careers. btw, if your local store is out of oat milk, flax milk is excellent. Oat milk is wind pollinated, and flax milk self-pollinated, so both are easier on the bees than almond. But even almond milk, as noted in the article, is way less destructive than dairy.

  128. Dairy Farmers sell their milk to processors who,first thing ,remove 10% of the fat. Milk price to the Farmer is based on 3.5% butterfat. Anything above or below that mark is penalized or rewarded by a butterfat differential, but the whole milk you buy in the store will NEVER be more than 3.2% butterfat. So that's a good thing, right? Anyone who has ever had whole milk, unadulterated by processors, knows how wonderful the taste. And depending on the breed of cow, her diet, and terrior, that wonderful taste will be as varied and unique as the finest wine. And it is good for you and especially growing children. And you won't have to make your kids drink it. Low fat ,or worse, fat free milk may not taste bad, but it does not taste good...and never will unless mixed with chocolate or some other additive. There is still something wonderful in the world to discover and it's right in front of you. You may have to do a little work to get it.

  129. We are lucky to have a small local dairy producer here. Glass jugs and jars, some flavored and seasonal (chocolate! eggnog!) skim, 2% or whole that always sells out. Try getting some on Sunday night. They also make fabulous butter, flavored butters, ice cream and cheese. Above all, milk just tastes better out of a glass jar! The deposit on the jug is much preferred to throwing out plastic coated paper (not recyclable) or more awful indestructible plastic jugs floating in the water. This dairy also offers tours for families and kids so people can see where their milk comes from. How is that wrong?

  130. @Chouteau , sounds great. I have zero access to that.

  131. @Chouteau I bet the dairy does not show the young kids what happens when a cow - probably and often chained to a wall for years - gives birth to a male, how that male will be sent to slaughter, how the mother's milk is taken from her to feed people who don't wish to know the whole truth.

  132. @Chouteau How is that wrong? Because it's cruel.

  133. I don't think there is going to be any "winning us back" when it comes to dairy. There are too many good alternatives out there and too many people who finally understand how cruel the dairy industry is (small farms aside that practice humanely and sustainably). We do not need the milk of another mammal to be healthy!!

  134. @M. Staley I've been told that some small farms do not treat their dairy cows well. We all need to be better informed about the source of our food. As a farmer told me once, Get to know your farmer. And yes, I'm with you about the cruel dairy industry. Plant-based drinks are excellent.

  135. @M. Staley That being said, humans have been consuming dairy products for 10,000 years.

  136. The continuing federal dairy price supports, the cheese block pricing structure and school lunch program have all contributed to this problem. There should have been a tapering of dairy supports literally decades ago. We don’t need all of the milk that is produced. And let’s hear more on the cow calf program that has contributed to some profitability.

  137. I buy my milk from a dairy that operates out of Burnt Chimney, VA, near Roanoke, called Homestead Creamery. They use half gallon & quart sized glass bottles (an additional charge of $2.00 per bottle is refunded when the bottles are returned to the store) and their milk is the best I've ever had, hands down. They are family owned, have their own cows, and also use milk bought from other local dairy farms. And, no, it is not publicly traded nor owned by a large corporation. Buying from and supporting local farms is one of the best things we can do to combat corporate farming. The other, of course, is growing our own food.

  138. @Karen My daughters LOVE dairy milk but they were developing terrible eczema from the store bought pasteurized organic. We started buying fresh raw milk in glass bottles from a local farm. Their eczema was gone within a week and the quality of the milk is so far beyond the mass produced grocery store stuff.

  139. @SM That might be due to the organic milk probably being UHT pasteurised. UHT is Ultra High Temperature, and gives the milk a 6 month shelf life, stored at ambient. 80% of organic milk in the US is UHT milk. Ironic. The farmers go to all the trouble of being organic, only to have it ruined by it being heated for 2 seconds to 275˚F.

  140. The problem with the alternative milks (almond, soy, coconut, etc) is that they are as un-ecofriendly as regular milk or worse. Great example is almonds and the sheer amount of water they need.

  141. @Rocket J Squrriel This is absolutely false. Even almond milk, which is relatively irrigation-intensive, requires less water to produce than dairy milk. Land use and emissions for oat, soy, almond and rice milks are tiny compared to dairy. The dairy industry is working hard to shift the focus from their own unsustainable practices, but the bottom line is that milk from anything but cows is better for the planet.

  142. @Rocket J Squrriel Incorrect. No plant milk is as environmentally damaging as dairy milk, and all use far less water to produce, including almond milk. The dairy industry just points their finger at almonds to distract you from their water consumption.

  143. @James Don't forget the devastation the almond industry has wreaked on the honeybee population. There’s more to it than emissions.

  144. I do not get it "In 1996, three years after the campaign’s debut, Americans were drinking, on average, about 24 gallons of milk a year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2018, that number was down to 17 gallons. (Meanwhile, thanks to yogurt and cheese, dairy consumption per capita is way up.) First of all, may be people are not drinking or using milk , but directly. Says dairy products are way up, what is the problem then. A comparison : 2 pounds of feta cheese made from almost 1.5 Gallon milk. Yogurt in many ways a more versatile product to consume in various way. A good coffee- cappuccino always need a real milk not any substitute what is sold nowadays in the markets. Without a milk a latte or cappuccino is not a coffee at all. (Italian Gold Standard, Turkish-Greek tradition).

  145. @SU I drink coffee and cappucino and now always drink only oat or coconut milk. "Real milk" is becoming a thing of the past. People younger than me drink plant-based milks and eat plant-based foods; it's the way of the future and the future is here now.

  146. @Alex Some folks like all the sugar and artificial flavorings in the milk substitutes. Some of it may be plant based but take a look at the ingredient list some time.

  147. I love milk. Cow's milk. My farming ancestors relied on it for centuries. I grew up enjoying it on breakfast cereal and being expected to drink a small carton of it at lunch time and a glass at dinner, whether I wanted to or not, though I usually did. These days, I cook my son's oatmeal in it every morning, and drink a fair amount myself in cafe lattes. To the folks who say there is no need for milk in a healthy diet: That's true for a lot of the foods we eat if you single them out. I recently had a unique opportunity to tour a wonderful large family-owned dairy farm in California, which boasts the biggest dairy industry in the US. Unless you're one who considers cow milking under any conditions unconscionable, dairies like the one I toured could in no way could be considered inhumane. I don't know what the commenters who are saying the cows aren't outdoors or the cows are treated cruelly are talking about. And the dairy farmers in California are capturing the cow manure to be made into renewable natural gas that is used to replace diesel fuel in the trucking business, which reduces fossil fuel use and helps clean the air.

  148. @MB My family had a ranch near Springwille in the San Joaquin Valley, saw lots of very large dairy operations that were nothing like what you are describing. Where was the one you toured? I am not at all against dairying, but I am realistic about it.

  149. @Gale Strauss Organic milk is bottled from multiple small family operations north of the San Francisco bay area. Even the 2% has cream on top and if I understand correctly its not pasteurized as hot. It tastes GREAT, like real milk always did! If you drive up near Santa Rosa and go west down the two lanes roads you encounter lovely green pastures full of happy looking black & white California cows.

  150. “I think dairy farmers are some of the country’s best environmentalists,” said Mr. Barlow, of the Kentucky Dairy Development Council. Mr. Barlow may be referring to small organic dairy farms, which are likely to practice good stewardship of the land and animals in their care. But I live near a large 500+ cow dairy farm, and it has been quite a wake up call. I'm appalled by the way this multi-generation "family farm" abuses their land and treats their animals. There is nothing romantic or attractive or ecological about it.

  151. @GP I only buy dairy from small, sustainable and humane dairies (there are a few here in America's Dairyland). Can't envision not drinking milk or eating cheese and yogurt. For those lucky enough to not be lactose-intolerant or have dairy allergies, it's nutrient-dense and delicious.

  152. @GP I am in Vermont and it's the same here. 1000 animal operations, totally confined in huge barns (at least usually free stall), god awful treatment, milked 3 times a day, fields all over planted w/'Round up Ready' corn, sprayed w/herbicides, etc. Concientious family farming, my tired old behind.

  153. I personally now drink coconut "milk" rather than cow's milk. And the reason is the industrial milk production that is animal abuse plain and simple. Nobody has mentioned the fates of the calves that are immediately taken away from their mothers and the mothers are impregnated again asap. It is possible to run a more humane dairy farm with cows out on pasture. Still, if one cares about animals , factory dairy farms are simply not acceptable.

  154. @BA Coconut milk production is also industrialized.

  155. But the baby coconuts aren't dying in the process.

  156. @magicisnotreal I suspect that the nut milks are high in calories - what is the comparison?

  157. “You hear people say, ‘Let’s don’t have the cows in barns.’ But one acre of corn silage will feed a cow all year long. And if she’s grazing, there’s no way that can take place.” Except that cows are ungulates engineered to digest grass, not corn. Corn is indigestible to a cow—it makes them sick. Hence, the need to 'treat' them with antibiotics. Get the cows out of the barn and into the pasture, and you'll replenish and enrich the soil (without the use of chemical fertilizers). Until pastured dairy cows become the industry norm, as they were for thousands of years, dairy producers are the enemy, not the friends, of climate change advocates.

  158. One thing has been overlooked in the article: small pasture based dairy's ecological benefits. The grass pastures are a carbon sink, keeps land free of development, and preserves healthy soil. Farmers could conceivably be paid just for their ecological services of keeping pasture in place.

  159. Sustainable pastured-only, grass-fed dairy as part of a regenerative agriculture system is net positive for the environment and a much healthier product for consumers. Factory farming of animals is the enemy here, not alt-milks versus dairy milk.

  160. I have an unusual expertise in this area. Dairy farms are generally not inhumane, unless you count immediately separating cows from calves, and often killing the calves, or using them for veal, or keeping the females to replace the older cows. Oh, and you know what an older cow in this industry is? About three years old. Constantly pregnant or milking causes a reduction in production at about 3 years making them uneconomic, and off to the slaughterhouse they go, for those delicious steaks. Unless the cattle are solely grazed and the manure left to break down in the field (pretty unusual to have that kind of land available), the manure is collected and washed into big holding areas, about the size of a football field and maybe 15 feet deep. There is no oxygen available about 2 ft down and beyond, so anaerobic microbes produce methane, which is about 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. I still eat dairy products, but I don't delude myself that there is anything humane or environmentally friendly about the industry. There isn't.

  161. @Desire Trails Don't know what your unusual expertise might be but, in dairies with which I am familiar, heifers are usually bred as long yearlings and after 9 months gestation and calving, begin their first lactation as 2 year olds. They are not considered old at three and more likely are just entering full production.

  162. @Desire Trails yes, your expertise is not outlined, so we can only guess. But my wife is a dairy farmer, on a small Scottish island. She milks 60 cows. She had one cow that lived to be 28 years old, and was still calving and producing milk at 27. The cows graze in grass pastures by the sea for more than 6 months of the year. The dairy industry tends to get painted with one very broad brush. But that generally leaves out any mention of these small family-run dairy farms, which have good animal husbandry and practises.

  163. @Desire Trails Thank you for the education about cows "aging out" and their calves. Two more reasons not to eat dairy.

  164. I don't drink milk, but I do like heavy cream. I get it from a local dairy that treats their cows great. The cows have fans, a soft sided barn, back scratchers, water beds and robots that keep the floors clean. The cows prefer to stay in the shade of the barn, and they are trained and rewarded for sidling up to the robotic milker. They jockey to get in there. These cows are really happy. Every year this farm has an open house and it's so nice to go into the cool barn to scratch their heads. We get a half gallon of cream every week. We put it in our coffee, and I mix it with coconut/almond milk in a glass to take my supplements.

  165. @Susan In the olden days, people would give the cream to their children, and feed the skim milk to the pigs. Today's farmers could command a premium price if they would sell raw milk. There is definitely a demand for it, it has its own health benefits, and it's hard to find in many places, Iowa included.

  166. @Susan Also I meant to say that I love the photo that accompanies this article.

  167. I'm a 50-somthing east coast city gal, and I love milk. In fact, if I could have only one food on a desert island, it would be milk!

  168. I stopped drinking milk years ago when I learned how much dairy milk is full of hormones and pesticides. No thanks. I love almond milk and coconut milk. No more dairy, thank you.

  169. @fast/furious Almond milk is good but uses copious amounts of water to grow and produce. Coconut milk is also good, but high in saturated fat.

  170. @nom de guerre Almond milk is effectively an emulsion of 6 almonds, 1 medium Tums, and half a standard vitamin pill in each 8 oz. I did the calculations from the nutrition labels. [] Further calories depend only on how much sugar is added. This is one of the great marketing ploys of the past decade. Do as you prefer and find tasty. However, never never give your infant or child almond "milk" in place of actual milk.

  171. @fast/furious There's pus in that thar milk! In the US the FDA allows 750 million pus cells in every liter of milk. In Europe, regulators allow 400 million pus cells per liter. In Australia there is no limit on how much pus is allowable. Yum!

  172. You want to sell milk? Then treat animals humanely, as in no factory farms, truly free range in large pastures, no abuse, no prophylactic antibiotics, no gmos. If that's even possible.

  173. Yeah, I used to be one of those people who insisted that because I only bought sustainably-produced small-farm milk that I was not part of the problem. But these sorts of problems are ones that need to be tackled rationally, not emotionally. It's not about what you or I want or like. It's about what all 8 billion of us, and the planet, can afford. Relying on another mammal's milk for our adult sustenance may have been a workable solution, even a humane one, at one time in our species' history, but the time comes to shed old habits. They die hard, that's for sure!

  174. If you are a milk drinker who is fortunate enough to live in an area with Amish dairy farmers, that's a great way to get your milk. Small organic dairies are a good source, too. I am not a milk drinker but use locally produced ( Local meaning less than 50 miles) milk for home made yogurt. The milk from our nearby Amish farms has a taste that is noticeably superior to conventionally produced milk. What I buy is not certified organic, because the Amish in my area tend to minimize interactions with government, but it is for all practical purposes organic milk. It comes in returnable glass bottles. Expect to pay more, but it's worth every penny.

  175. @Malinoismom Unfortunately only a microscopic percentage of Americans live in areas with nearby Amish dairy farmers, and even among those of us (myself included) who have nonhomogenized milk available from pasture-fed, free-range cows at farms within the region, an almost equally microscopic percentage will go to the trouble of buying it at the source. (Which is required, given that FDA rules prohibit the sale of such milk anywhere *but* a farm – but producing it in industrialized fashion with tens of thousands of de facto brood mares hooked up to perma-teats is A-OK.)

  176. To grow almond trees successfully requires enormous amounts of water. Bee hives full of bees have to be trucked to almond orchards to ensure pollination. Look at the entire picture when determing the cost of producing almond milk.

  177. @Betsy To this I'd only add that 95% of America's almonds are produced in California's Central Valley, where the region's farms collectively consume a full 20% of the state's *entire* annual water supply – this for a sector that comprises less than 3% of the state's GDP. Far worse, California's droughts are already dire and will only worsen further, given the catastrophic effects of climate change on the entire state's snowpack runoff (which is the majority source of all of its potable water). Might I suggest a lovely oatmilk instead?

  178. @Betsy Growing almonds where they are native requires no extra water at all. I used to live in a village in Mallorca (Spain) where the two crops were almonds and olives. The land was never irrigated and the trees thrived on seasonal rainfall. (As did the people.) The almond crops were bountiful despite being regularly raided by my friends and me. (Green almonds are wonderful!)

  179. I love Dairy milk. I'm happy I can purchase it for $3.69 a gallon with my food stamps. When the price of non-dairy milks drops from $5.00 for a half-gallon I might consider switching. But I doubt that will ever happen.

  180. @James , If you have a Trader Joe's nearby they sell their organic soy milk for $1.69 a quart ($3.38 per half gallon).

  181. Forced preganacy, their calves taken away, and after around 4 years, marked for slaughter. Dairy is cruel. Factory farming is cruel. One of the biggest impacts we personally can have on global warming is to stop eating/ greatly reducing meat consumption. But know how food got on your table.

  182. @Mae Lee Dairy is nutritious and deeply integrated into many healthy diets, not to mention a reliable and efficient method of getting adequate calcium in one's diet. Reducing meat consumption is a reasonable goal, since 12 oz steaks are vastly more than anyone needs physiologically, but that is a far cry from no meat. Everyone should eat substantial amounts of vegetables in their diets for good health. That is, however, perfectly consistent with eating meat and dairy in modest quantities. I am less concerned with the cow's feelings than with the woman's avoidance of osteoporosis.

  183. @DrKanner Mae Lee was not talking about cow's "feelings" but the inhumanity of subjecting millions of animals to lifelong pain and torture and denying them any semblance of a creaturely life. I'm an older woman and I'll gladly put up with the discomfort of osteoporosis to reduce the inhumanity of factory farming.

  184. @DrKanner But dairy is not shown to be protective against osteoporosis, whereas it is heavily associated with hormonal cancers (especially prostate and breast). Check the work of Harvard's Walter Willett: "The major justification for consuming large amounts of milk—three servings a day—is that it will reduce bone fracture risk. But there is, in fact, no evidence that consuming more milk reduces fracture risk." Add his work to that of Yale's David Katz, MD, MPH, who includes environmental and animal impact in his nutritional recommendations in "The Truth About Food", and there's a solid medical case for ditching dairy and choosing, say, calcium- and protein-rich soy milk instead.

  185. Love milk to drink, and so do my grandchilden. It is nutritious and delicious. Needs no improvement. We are lucky to have a local dairy that delivers weekly in glass bottles that are re-used. One of life's simple pleasures.

  186. Seems like a rather false dichotomy to pitch animal milk vs plant "milk". For one thing, it's incredibly privileged to insist that animal milk is harmful when it's the way the many cultures have extracted protein and nutrients from grasslands for generations. And while plant "milk" yields are only going to get better, it's mostly in the OECD countries that this option is even possible. Asian countries, touted in other comments as the home of non-milk-using diets, have pivoted strongly to milk as a nutritional supplement, especially post WWII. So again, the comparison is complicated. Also, many of the "cows are bad for the environment" arguments are rather second-order complaints. Those complaints could usually be better addressed by "fewer humans" rather than "fewer cows". And if you talk to any dairy cow producer they'll happily inform you that you can't just release dairy cattle into the wild. They've been bred to produce so much milk that they would suffer pain and sickness if they were left on their own. So even if the will were there, the dairy industry just can't be abandoned immediately. Market forces may finish off dairy's former role in the American diet. But pontificating about moral eating to others usually just shows how few times you've gone hungry.

  187. "It's incredibly privileged to insist that animal milk is harmful when it's the way the many cultures have extracted protein and nutrients from grasslands for generations." @Daniel Seriously? We're no longer living off "the fruit of the land." Rather, we have millions of cows that produce milk in industrial settings, and are kept continually pregnant to ensure continued, year-round production. It's not mentioned in the article, but said cows are routinely fed a witches' brew of pharmaceuticals to stave off the myriad infections that come from depriving cows of the all-grass diet their dual stomach-based digestive systems are uniquely designed to process. (They're instead fed grain – solely because it's cheaper.) Our means of dairy production are as "privileged" of an environmental disaster as our means of meat production, and in both cases bear virtually no resemblance to their forebearers in the pre-industrial age. This "privilege" is doing a bang-up job of destroying our ozone layer & upper atmosphere, regardless of any attempts to nonsensically spin these as "second-order complaints."

  188. I'm in Seattle, hiding from all humans, and so bored that I am here on a Saturday debating milk with vegans. And I don't even drink milk anymore.

  189. I trust the Times because of their vetting, especially on scientific claims. Yet there was scant discussion over whether milk aggravates acne, insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease is grounded in good science. The prevalence of growth hormones administered to cows may well be overblown. But milk, but not its fermented products, is inherently rich in microRNA and insulinotropic amino acids. In nature, the proliferative signaling it provides is universally beneficial in all mammals in the postnatal phase. However, chronic mTORC1 signaling, the master hub that regulates the balance between proliferation versus repair and preservation, is highly correlated with modern diseases of aging. What is milk's role?

  190. Two things not mentioned in the article-how does the calcium in cow milk stack up against plant milks and price. In my grocery store plant milks are a lot more expensive than cow milk.

  191. Ever wonder where cows get their calcium? Is it from eating ice cream or from drinking milk? NO. It's from eating plants. Ever wonder where cows get their protein? Is from eating meat, processed meats or cheese? NO. It's from eating plants. Cut out the middle cow. Eat a Whole Food Plant Based diet. It does a body good.

  192. @Greg Gerner never was there so much privilege oozing from a comment like this one. There is currently not enough land for everyone to eat only a plant based diet. Furthermore, plants to not contain as many amino acids, so you have to eat a lot more of them to get as much useful protein than you would in meat. And finally, there is little in terms of food as efficient as eating a cow. The cow eats things we cannot eat, grass that grows abundantly and then renders us something that is highly efficient in nourishing the body. Be vegan if you’d like, but understand it’s not a viable solution that we all become vegan.

  193. @Josue Azul I'm not a vegan, but I accept the obvious and established truth that raising cows or any other animals is much less efficient as eating a plant-based diet from local crops. The reason: you need lots of land for those cows to graze on and to grow their feed. Then you raise the (methane-producing) cow and slaughter it and finally eat it--but as Greg Gerner's post asserts, skipping the cow and just eating the plant crops is MUCH more efficient, much less land-intense, and much better for the environment.

  194. @Adele Nevertheless, there are places on Earth where people are able to live permanently only by virtue of the herds they maintain. For example, pastoralists in E Africa depend on their animals to turn scrubby plants into animal protein and milk.

  195. How on earth can non-dairy milk be promoted as non-processed? It seems like the ultimate processed food. On the other hand, you can drink milk right from the cow.

  196. @B Lundgren Unless you're *literally* at a farm, you can't drink milk "right from the cow." You can't even drink "single-origin" milk (a la coffees): USDA rules require it all to be homogenized, which is always done in an industrial-style fashion. As such, nearly all dairy products sold in America are just as "processed" as any variety of nut or grain milk. Not exactly living off the fruit (or, rather, grass) of the land.

  197. @Jeff Agree milk is processed before it gets to the supermarket - but, as you note, you can drink milk right from the cow if you're in the right place. You can't drink almond milk right from the almond no matter where you are.

  198. @Jeff It depends on what state you live in. PA allows you to buy raw milk. The farm I buy my milk at tests before any is released. The state where my youngest son lives does not allow raw milk to be sold but a dairy farm near him sells raw milk for “pets”, with the warning that it is not certified for humans. I also get to see how the cows at my local organic farm are treated.

  199. A purely anecdotal history. I've disliked (or worse) milk my entire life. Many battles fought as a child, with a strong reliance on Fox's U-bet. Upon reaching a certain age, I was greatly relieved that I'd never have to drink milk again. Flash forward 50 years......I've become interested in regenerative agriculture, holistic grazing, etc. As such, I thought it was high time to try raw milk. Sidestepping questions of health, I was surprised to find that raw cows milk was very pleasant tasting, with a creamy mouth feel not available in pasteurized milk. I completed the experiment by drinking some supermarket milk, which was decidedly inferior.

  200. Compared to plant milks, dairy is incredibly unprocessed. It is basically heated to kill germs and cooled back down. Homogenization is a process that pushes the milk through high pressure and breaks the fat molecules up so they don’t rise up and make cream. I work at a dairy manufacturer and we also bottle the plant milks. They all have their benefits and disadvantages. Plant milks are much more processed and environmentally just as (if not more) destructive than cow milk. They also are not as nutritious. But they are an excellent option for the many people who can’t drink milk and I am glad there are more options out there.

  201. @bobg ; Raised on raw milk remember how bad pasteurized milk tasted. karl

  202. @bobg back in 1906 public health officials in Massachusetts developed the pasteurising protocol of heating the milk to just 145˚F for 30 minutes. This was the protocol used throughout the US after WWII, until the end of the 1960's. It has the huge advantage that it barely impacts on the wonderful flavour of raw milk. Circa 1970 - 75 the dairy industry moved over to high-temp short time pasteurising. 163˚F for 15 seconds. Far cheaper as a process. But it ruins the taste of milk. Then add to that the impact of homogenising, and its no wonder you hated milk when younger. A few smaller dairy farms still use the old protocol, and it is definitely worth your while seeking them out. One example is Pittsford Dairy Farms in upstate NY.

  203. I drink a bit of milk if I’m having cereal A few times a year I get a hankering for warm milk. It seems to get sweeter when warmed. And when I need a treat, chocolate milk. All in all I drink about six quarts a year. If cow milk disappeared, I wouldn’t care.

  204. @New World , I'm in a similar position, *however*, cow milk also makes butter, cheese, yogurt and gelato. I would sorely miss those.

  205. Sustainability and climate impact have become enormous factors in the way people feel about and purchase dairy milk and its substitutes. “Dairy is the second highest emitting livestock product, accounting for 4 percent of all global emissions.” "Clean eating” — a catchall phrase for a mostly plant-based diet free of processed foods ― means not only considering farming climate impact, but also consuming ONLY humanely produced products. This is something NO major dairy brand can certify. And is hardly mentioned by the "besieged" dairy industry. The Certified Humane program is the best way to judge meat, poultry, egg and dairy products as humanely raised products. If it's not Certified Humane, DON'T BUY IT.

  206. @Texas There is no such thing as humane slaughter or egg production. You are believing a marketing strategy that has nothing to do with reality.

  207. As an organic farmer I think this article skipped an important point. For the past year there has been a National discussion on the dangers of eating conventional oats. The use of glyphosate has been linked to cancer. Glyphosate or Roundup is applied to most oats grown non-organically Often as frequently as 3 times during the oat plants lifecycle ; at seeding, during growing, and at harvest as a desiccant. The use of oats for a “milk” requires large quantities of oats saturated in this herbicide. As Americans want to get healthy I suggest we all do research into agricultural chemicals, especially when farm crops are made from chemical laden grains like oat milk.

  208. @Jean Hediger also consider sugar: Glyphosate is sprayed on the cane sugar a day or 2 before harvesting. So all non-organic cane sugar is badly contaminated with Glyphosate. And vegans also need to reflect on the vast use of water to grow almonds, and how that has harmed multiple aspects of California's natural habitat over the past 80 years or so.

  209. @orchid88 , The use of glyphosate as a desiccant is something that a lot of people are unaware of. I follow organic agriculture pretty closely and even I was unaware of this until just recently. I assumed that if the crop was non-GMO then it wouldn't be sprayed with glyphosate. For that reason I've switched to organic flour for baking -- even though there is no commercially-grown GMO wheat, it is still usually sprayed with glyphosate to help it dry down.

  210. "dairy [accounts] for 4 percent of all global emissions ... Beef ... for 6 percent of emissions." This is the most important fact. It's one reason why I do not drink milk nor beef. Dairies and ranching are practices which should be deprecated, not saved. Time to move on. Change is the only constant.

  211. @Chris And what about the effect of growing corn and beans. You may have missed but one time millions of bison wandered around in the same places those cattle now live.

  212. @Navydave good point. Presumably some people would think the white immigrants saved the world from environmental catastrophe by slaughtering those millions of Bison back in the 1800's.

  213. I think 100 years from now people will look back at our society that overlooks the ethical lapses of exploiting animals at industrial scale for personal habit and ask ‘What were they thinking?’ in the same way we now think about slavery and other failings of humanity.

  214. Baby Boomers grew up drinking milk, lots of it. Didn't seem to hurt them. There was an almost total absence of obesity during their childhoods.

  215. @Travelers yes, and now the evidence from 14 studies in 7 countries looking at the Body Mass Index of nearly 21,000 children shows that children raised on whole milk are on average 39% slimmer than children being raised on low-fat milk. The promotion of low-fat milk began in the 1970's, mainly due to the influence of one fraudulent Harvard report from 1967, which was paid for by the sugar industry. That report blamed cardiovascular disease on the consumption of animal fats, and completely exonerated sugar (surprise surprise). The NYT did a good article on this a few years ago:

  216. @Travelers Well until they came up with that 2% junk.

  217. We are losing dairy farms left and right here in Vermont. Once they are gone, they never come back. We need to find an alternate, high value use for the stuff. Maybe, with a little chemical wizardry, we can run our transportation vehicles on it, transforming milk into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel substitutes. Bovine power to the people. It would add a whole new definition to "white gas".

  218. @RM our experience might be relevant. My wife is a dairy farmer, with just 60 milking cows, on a small island in Scotland. 3 years ago (after the bulk milk price had collapsed) we began bottling our milk, in returnable glass bottles. (Would you pay extra for wine if it was in a plastic container?) And most importantly, we pasteurise the milk using the old-fashioned protocol of heating it to 145˚F for 30 minutes. That was how milk in the US and the UK was pasteurised in the 50's and 60's. These days nearly all milk is heated to 163˚F for 15 seconds. That process is 120 times faster, and therefore much cheaper. That's the only merit of it, but the damage it causes to the taste, and ultimately to the dairy farmers, is huge. We are selling nearly all the milk our cows will produce, and selling it across Scotland, despite the fact that it is at least twice the cost of standard supermarket milk.

  219. @RM Here's a solution. Quit breeding, grow plants that can be used for plant milk. Its not like hte human body needs cows any format.

  220. We used to think of cigarettes as an adult habit that had to be denied to children. Nowadays, milk has become an unhealthy habit that needs to be denied to anyone over the age of 2.

  221. Cow's milk is bad for the environment, bad for your health, and bad for you soul, as it requires supporting an industrial complex that harms innocent animals. The less we consume, the better for the world.

  222. I have not seen any comments regarding the simple fact that cow milk exists (and has evolved for thousands of years) ONLY to nourish baby cows, not baby humans. ALL of the "information" that has come from milk producers, for centuries, ignores that simple biological fact.

  223. @Jay Moskovitz And almonds evolved to nourish growing almond trees. And oats evolved to nourish a new generation of oat plants. And so on, and so on.

  224. @Jay Moskovitz Most things people consume were around and "meant" to nourish other beings long before there were people. It's not as if human beings invented meat or vegetables or grains. We just developed them once we found they were edible thousands of years ago. If drinking animal milk weirds you out, don't drink it.

  225. @judith Not true. Plants evolved so that their seeds ( or other parts ) are palatable to other creatures. They feed other creatures, so their seeds will be dispersed, or something will think to cultivate them. Read Michael Pollan’s the “Botany of Desire” Not quite the same as keeping animals prisoner to steal their milk and babies.

  226. Dairy farmers in America are like hamsters spinning a wheel. The support price of milk falls so they try to produce more milk to make up the difference and the price supports drops again. For whatever the reasons Americans are drinking less milk and smaller dairy farms are going bankrupt. The Canadian system is more rational but milk does cost more there. If the Canadian system would lead to the end of mega dairy farms with tons of manure polluting wells and streams it would be a very good thing. Among the very many things white nationalists are wrong about it is the ability to digest lactose. That ability was not present in the indigenous European hunter gatherer people they emulate but was in the farmers and herders that came from Central Asia and displaced them. I speak as a lactose intolerant white person.

  227. Let all the PETA warriors give themselves inflamatory digestion problems with their various over-processed plant-based concoctions. I'll stick with full-fat organic milk, and I appreciate that the hipsters have made the product cheaper for me.

  228. @Nate Not over-processed. Even you could make soy milk or oat milk at home. There are several maybe more videos on YouTube that walk you through it. Much less expensive than having a cow in the back yard.

  229. @Tfranzman Why would I want to make such a nutritionally inferior product loaded with Omega 6's? Oh. Yum. Not.

  230. DES in our American non-organic milk is a block. DES injected into our dairy cows comes through into the milk, causing early fertility for little girls, according to professional studies. Studies on boys have not been published.

  231. Drinking the breast milk of another mammal on the regular is a rather bizarre behavior. We as humans should evolve. The dairy industry should focus on niche products consumers purchase occasionally. Of course they will refuse because the large profits are in convincing Americans to consume this carcinogen at every meal to the detriment of their health. The dairy producers should evolve.

  232. @TN Skeptic Following that logic, surely it is unacceptable to eat the genetic embryos of plants (all seeds)? Or their tender shoots (hello - salads)? Or their life-giving fluids (maple syrup)?

  233. @TN Skeptic Bizarre, indeed. But much of humanity has evolved to do just this - as well as other bizarre things, like eating meat.

  234. @TN Skeptic Maybe it's nostalgia and not really strange at all. Warm milk helps many fall asleep.

  235. Joachin Phoenix was right: The cruelty is real, not "supposed" as the writer would have us believe. There is a saying which goes, "There is a chunk of veal in every glass of milk". Cows who are constantly kept pregnant have their young taken from them at birth. If the calf is a male, he goes into the veal industry. Dairy products are the worst when it comes to extreme animal cruelty. Please consider other alternatives.

  236. I love milk and have since my family moved to a farm at age 6. We had a Jersey cow and drank milk that was warm (and full fat) from the cow. It often had a brown speck or two in it. The cow grazed in the fields during the summer and ate hay (harvested from neighboring fields) in winter. Once a year she had a calf, then her milk became undrinkable for humans. Only meant for calves. We had to get milk from down the road for a while. These days I do the best that I can in a big city. Alas, there is no warm, raw milk. But I can find milk from a farm with Jersey cows, along with real cream (not the ultra pasteurized rubbish). I also buy small amounts of beef from a butcher that sources everything locally. I pay a premium price for it, but I don't have the same digestive system as a cow, so I need to eat some meat once in a while. If I had four stomachs and chewed my cud for hours I would be a vegan (but I wouldn't eat seitan or tempeh - talk about processed food - ugh!). Folks really need to get a perspective on global warming: it is not caused by cows, it is caused by vehicles and factories and PEOPLE!

  237. @Judith Yes, colostrum milk is best left for the calf (and frozen for any bottle calves). But it's OK for us to drink (though salty) - it lasts only a few days.

  238. @Judith We are light years from the wholesome milk you drank as a child. From the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization: 26 percent of the earth’s terrestrial surface is used for livestock grazing. One-third of the planet’s arable land is occupied by livestock feed crop cultivation. From the Sierra Club: In the United States, livestock production is responsible for 55 percent of erosion, 37 percent of all applied pesticides and 50 percent of antibiotics consumed, while the animals themselves directly consume 95 percent of our oat production and 80 percent of our corn.

  239. @KS Livestock production is responsible for 37 percent of pesticides? Really? I doubt it. And furthermore, you failed mention the obvious corollary, even if true: 73% of pesticides are used on crops. Properly managed, ruminant agriculture is carbon negative, sequestering more than it makes. See the research on White Oak farms in Geogia, or how Allen Savory has turned deserts into lush vegetation by proper grazing.

  240. I hate to point out the bleedin' obvious, but milk is only produced by mammals. The last time I looked, oats, soy, almonds, coconuts, etc. are not mammals so do not produce milk. They can produce juice, extract or some other word, but it is not milk.

  241. @Robin well, I am fine calling a white creamy liquid that goes in my coffee or cereal or smoothie milk. I know it's not from cows but this battle was lost long ago

  242. @Robin "Something produced by mammals" is NOT the only definition of milk. Find yourself a good dictionary and have a look. Industries can't co-opt the language for their commercial purposes. If dairy can't make a go of it without censorship, maybe they need to reevaluate the desirability of their products.

  243. @Robin , According to the dictionary - as well as everyday usage - you are incorrect. The word 'milk' has been used to refer to plant juices for centuries. This is not a new thing.

  244. I buy my milk and cheese from a nearby organic farm (no shipping costs environmental or other wise). The cows are grass fed Jerseys. I have seen studies that show that cows that are grass fed produce far less emissions than cows that are fed corn and high protein feed. I use to have some trouble with lactose but since I have been drinking the raw milk from grass fed cows my problems have gone. When I am away visiting friends or family and consume “standard” milk the symptoms return. I am 76 and have (at this point) none of the usual orthopedic problems.

  245. @K D there is a 3rd option. If you are in a state that doesn't permit the sale of raw milk, look for milk that has been pasteurised at 145˚F for 30 minutes. This is the protocol we use on my wife's farm, here in Scotland. The "normal" pasteurising protocol these days is all about being cheap and quick: heat the milk to 163˚F for just 15 seconds. That extra 18 degrees brings about massive biochemical changes in the milk. We hear again and again from people who say they don't do well with normal milk, but when they drink our milk, they have none of those adverse reactions.

  246. @K D Sorry, but what you read is wrong. Grass has higher emissions from the cows than grain. I'd like to believe otherwise, but that's the reality. But dairy cows aren't fed grains, anyway, by and large. Grains are used to add quick fat to meat cattle.

  247. @Jus' Me, NYT , The assertion that dairy cows aren't fed grains is dead wrong. I grew up on a small dairy farm in Maine and have visited numerous similar farms. All "conventional" dairy farmers feed grain, whether it's corn that they grow themselves or pelletized corn/soy/wheat that they buy from the Midwest. Also, take a look at a large dairy farm and tell me how much grass you see. Those cows don't even leave the barn, let alone eat any grass (besides the hay that gets mixed in with their grain).

  248. I'm 62, and I love milk, esp whole milk, not that other watered down stuff. I but about two gallons per week and I make hot chocolate; I mix it with Muscle Milk after a workout; I eat lots of natural cereals with whole milk for breakfast. I eat real ice cream and real butter. And, I'm not overweight, in fact I'm kinda thin. Why whole milk? Because it tastes good.

  249. @Pb of DC in fact the notion that semi-skimmed milk can help keep one's weight down has been resoundingly demonstrated to be entirely false. 14 studies in 7 countries stretching back over the past 20 years, looking at 21,000 children, found on average that children being raised on whole milk are 39% slimmer than children being raised on low fat milk. The pattern the researchers found was clear: children drinking whole milk tend to snack on carbs far less often than children drinking low fat milk. Here's a link to one of those studies, which was published 4 years ago:

  250. Although I still like to drink milk after being weaned 96 years ago I am not going to defend milk but yogurt and cheese are good for our digestive system. Yogurt especially has been linked to longevity: "The Bacillus of Long Life:" at:

  251. @Turgut Dincer Maybe the bacillus is good for digestion but you haven't made a case for cow milk.

  252. Google the pounds per of milk per year per cow, by year. Google the average number of years a diary cow produces. Ask where all those cows end up after their very short life. Ask the farmers if those cows ever leave the barn. Drive by a feedlot and take a good look around.

  253. @Minskyite my wife is a dairy farmer in Scotland. Her 60 milking cows spend at least 7 months of the year outside, in the grass pastures. One of her cows lived to be 28 years old, and was still calving and producing milk at 27. Not all dairy farms are what you seem to have in mind.

  254. @orchid88 They sound more like pets, than industrial dairy cows. You and your cows are by far the exception.

  255. Dairy products taste good. Think ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, Brie cheese, pizza, grilled cheese sandwich, sauces made with butter, gyros with feta cheese, tapioca pudding, blue cheese dressing, milk shakes . . . So you don’t like a big glass of white milk, so what? I bet most people like other dairy products. Did you know that majority of dairy farm in New York are small to mid size, family owned, many are Amish or Mennonite. No, not perhaps the majority of cows, but of dairy FARMS. Many are organic and those cows do spend their summers on pasture, often in land unsuited for row cropping or other use . Dairy farm families shop in local stores, pay local taxes, volunteer at the fire department and ambulance corps, support local schools I don’t vilify you for making useless consumer goods, making rich people richer, dashing around amazon warehouses, sitting in offices, or driving gas guzzling trucks and cars? Why do you feel entitled to vilify us for milking cows?

  256. I grew up on a farm in the '40s and '50s. We had a small diary, and we drank the fresh milk from a hand-picked heifer. The vast majority of the milk went to the local creamery. Back then, milk was delicious, but the milk of today tastes nothing like that. We also allowed our cows to graze in a pasture all day. Today, cows are kept in a pin where they walk all day knee deep in their own excrement. I recently lived within 1/4 mile of a large diary in my old hometown. The entire area stunk so bad that you couldn't breath the air outside, and a fine filth fell from the sky that covered my car so that I had to spray it off before I went to town. I've moved out of the area, but the inside of my car and vents still smell so bad that no one will ride with me. Flies coated everything for miles around and were so thick on leaves that they turned the trees brown. The milk I buy in stores now seems watered down, and what taste it does have is nothing like that of the old days. I'm not surprised people have drifted away from it.

  257. @David Sheppard the biggest single change in milk quality was the shift from low-temp pasteurising, at 145˚F for 30 minutes (the common practise in the 50's and 60's) to the short-time high-temp pasteurising practised now - 163˚F for 15 seconds which is the standard industry practise now. Add homogenising to the picture, and yes, good old fashioned milk did indeed taste far far better than the milk found in the supermarkets today. In the pursuit of every penny of profit, dairy farms became industrial units, and cows became milk producing "things" to dispose of after a few short years of a miserable life. It doesn't have to be like that. If you go to NY state at some point, visit Pittsford Farm Dairies in upstate NY. They process the milk the old-fashioned way. If you should come to Scotland, there are good examples here too.

  258. Get rid of the plastic jugs and go to paper cartons - or even better, glass - and these dairies will have a lot better chance ...

  259. @Tracy D I prefer to buy in the plastic jugs because my recycling company will take those, but not the paper cartons.

  260. @Ginger in fact the paper cartons have a thin layer of plastic on them, which is why they cannot be recycled.

  261. Milk is not good for people, the environment and especially the poor cows whose bodies are stolen and turned into machines for the duration of their lives. Just google harmful effects of milk consumption. Then google harmful effects to the environment from dairy farms. Finally, google the cruel lives of dairy cows. Then try any of the wonderful, nutritious, flavorful milk alternatives. This is a no brainer. Put dairy farms out of business.

  262. @JJ Flowers You mean those low protein wannabe's? They shouldn't even be allowed to call themselves milk. And if you think growing all those oats, soy, and almonds don't have their own environmental downsides, you know nothing about farming.

  263. Surprised there's no mention of Fairlife (real, filtered) milk. I'm a little appalled that it's from Coca Cola, but it's lactose free (by filtering, not the addition of an enzyme, which I think changes the taste). It's also much higher in protein than ordinary milk, which makes my morning cereal healthier. I've switched to it almost exclusively because I'm lactose-sensitive, even though I am a European-origin white person.

  264. @Sonder it could well be that you have adverse reactions to milk that has been pasteurised at too high a temperature. My wife is a dairy farmer, here on a small island in Scotland, and we pasteurise using the protocol that prevailed in the 50's and 60's, which is to heat the milk to just 145˚F and keep it in the tank at that temp for 30 minutes. The more modern method is far cheaper, as it involves heating the milk for just 15 seconds, but the milk has to be at 163˚F. Those extra 18 degrees brings about massive and unfortunate changes in the milk. We hear many reports from our customers that they can drink our milk without any problem, but cannot have supermarket milk due to the reactions they get. And every dairy farm I know of in the UK and in the US that use the old protocol get the same feedback from their customers.

  265. @Sonder Sounds more like a processed, fortified milk drink.

  266. What am I missing? If per-capita dairy consumption is actually "way up thanks to yogurt and cheese," why are dairy farmers faring poorly? Is this because liquid milk is subsidized by the government? Less liquid milk consumption means less government money flowing to dairy farmers, is that it? If this is what's going on, I'm not seeing it as a bad thing.

  267. @Ginger about 6 years ago a perfect storm of global market conditions came about that hammered dairy farms, in the US and in Europe. Demand (for powdered milk) in China suddenly slowed down significantly; Russia's grab of the Crimea led to sanctions from the EU, and Putin's response was to ban all dairy imports from the EU. And the 3rd element was the dropping of the long-standing Milk Quota system in Europe, just 2 to 3 years before the Crimean troubles came about. Dairy farmers in the EU were no longer restricted in their milk output, and the "smart money" was on expanding production. So a massive expansion of milk supply was happening just as two huge markets for it went down. This affected dairy farmers across the western world. Many went out of farming, and there were also many suicides. Dairy farmers work hard and long hours, and tend to think they will surely be ok, if they just work hard enough. When the bank wants to foreclose on your farm, it is terribly painful. The situation has only recently somewhat recovered. Lord knows what the impact of the coronavirus now will be.

  268. Organic Valley coop based in WI markets organic milk and cheese from small farmers who pasture their herds. Costs twice as much as milk from tortured cows, but is many times better, taste and ethically-wise.

  269. I have friends who are dairy farmers, they do have issues. I love whole milk, I have never ever been a fan of reduced fat milk, it is watery. While cold whole milk has a great taste and a super mouth feel. And it is loaded with protein. The problem as I see it is they did not look ahead, their Associations are stuck in the past. My advice has always been to move away from drinking milk to cheese. And NOT that nasty stuff most people eat here in America. Orange rubbery blocks with little to no taste. I call it orange cheese just for that reason. But I do go to France every year and I can easliy get access to and purchase over 250 different types of cheese. Dairy cattle cheese, goat cheese and lamb milk cheese. And it comes in many different forms and tastes very different also. Amost every meal in France has cheese. And the varieties avaliable are fantastic. Even the British have many types and varieties of cheese also. We stick to cheese sticks and stuff like that. That is where our dairy farmers have failed in that their national organizations have not kept up with changing peoples tastes, but rather still just try to get people to drink milk. We are finally seing the growth of specialty cheese producers. That is where this milk should go. Right now you can pay $30/pound for some american cheese. Is it worth it? YES, it is very tasty. And you do not eat a lot so that price is OK . My favorite: french Comte.

  270. Claims that the A1 protein is difficult to digest are not supported by research. See for citations. Similarly, there is no evidence that hemp is any more "regenerative", whatever that really means, than most other annual crops. It craves nitrogen, which is in some cases leading to increased fertilizer use.

  271. Here in Wisconsin hundreds of "small" family dairy farms go out of business every year, and ads auctioning off their tractors and other equipment take place year-round. Meantime the state government essentially subsidizes mega-farms with 1,000+ cows and round-the-clock milking of animals that never leave the concrete-floored barn. This is probably irreversible as folks aren't lining up to be small dairy farmers. However, you can easily solve the problem of rubbery tasteless cheese by buying cheese online from scores of "factories" that process the milk and, in many cases, make world-class cheeses that compete with the best from EU artisans. Buy it and put it in the fridge-it keeps!

  272. Dairy farmers need to research producing some rich, tasty cheeses, like other countries produce. Stop pasturising--it kills any semblance of flavour. Age for at least one year (more is better) and move away from Velveeta and squares of "almost cheese" for sandwiches, and turn out something good on a sandwich, alone, or on a fresh-baked piece of crusty bread. Create new flavors with natural ingredients, and use up that dairy milk.

  273. Everything else aside, what kind of industry is wholly dependent on separating a mother from her baby within hours of its birth so we humans can have its milk? Regularly and for years.

  274. Not one word about cows over dosed with growth hormones, antibiotics, and GMO feed. Then there's the torture and bereft calves removed too young from their mothers. Pass the almond milk, please.

  275. Eating glandular secretions from another species is not natural, its not economic and its not humane - we can do better.

  276. As a Biodynamic dairy farmer I have come to realize the connection between how we treat our cows and the quality of our milk. Our cows graze on pastures throughout the green season. Their calves stay with their mothers for 5 months before we wean as gently as possible. All the calves are raised here on our farm for at least 2 years to provide an opportunity to live a vibrant (if still relatively short) life. The cows horns are not removed and their tails are not docked. In general, we strive to change the way we relate to cows from a dominant, extractive form to one in which we co-create a healthy living ecosystem. This, I think, is the future of dairy. When we drink milk from cows kept in confinement, their bodies mutilated, their calves taken away we can subtly "taste" that in the milk. No wonder people have stopped drinking it.

  277. Number me: the federal government needs to get over it’s obsession with marijuana that affects the growing of hemp. One legal hemp farmer lost his entire crop to stupid policemen that thought it was marijuana even when the farmer showed them all his documentation. Two: Milk cows do not lead idyllic lives as depicted in milk ads. They are constantly pregnant and the bulls are sold for slaughter. That and the fact that milk cows have been so hybridized that they are fragile creatures. I had a dairy farmer that milk cows routinely “just up and die” for no apparent reason. Three: The original outlawing of marijuana was a straight up racist law aimed at black people. That is fact.

  278. @Paulie - I haven't had a morning bowl yet and don't have Rachel Maddow here to connect some dots for me - so how did we get from dairy cows to racist marijuana policies? I want some of your kush:)

  279. A quantum physicist is needed to figure pricing formulas. The best milk should go to cheese, not bottles.

  280. Too bad the dairy industry is either unable or unwilling to emulate the egg industry that has apparently reformed itself by using humane procedures in egg production (cage free, organic). These corporations are obsessed with showing us pictures of their workers tenderly caressing hens. So far I haven't seen a farmer hugging a cow.

  281. Milk is sure as heck better than soda, and goes better with chocolate chip cookies.

  282. Americans are now so removed from the food they consume that they'll believe anything or anybody. Almonds, other nuts and soy as somehow being better for you and having little environmental impacts? Wrong. Raised in mono crops, drenched in pesticides and, oh, yeah, they're not milk at all. Advice from Gwyneth Paltrow on anything? Grow up. As for who buys what, why don't we leave that up to the markets? Adapt, innovate or fail. But it's not anybody's responsibility but the producers.