Organic milk is defined by the USDA as that which is obtained from cows that are fed organic food. Organic foods are those that are obtained without the usage of any synthetic substances, artificial fertilizers, pesticides, drugs, or hormones, to speed up the process of farming. This method is also known as organic farming. Organic milk is one such product of organic farming. It has become very popular among farmers as well as consumers.
There are many health benefits of consuming this milk. The most prominent among these is that it is obtained from those cows that are not fed on any artificial fertilizers. This saves our body from more than 300 harmful chemicals that could be present in regular milk. Moreover, it is also rich in its nutrition content. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins like beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, potassium, and many other healthy nutrients.
Reasons for Longer Shelf Life
A longer shelf life means that this milk can last for a longer period of time as compared to regular milk. It can remain unspoiled for about a month, and sometimes even more than that. However, due to this reason, its cost is also relatively higher than that of regular milk.
The answer to its long shelf life can be found in the manufacturing process. It meets the Grade A standards that are marked for selling milk. To match these standards, it is thoroughly pasteurized at very high temperatures. This process kills most of the microorganisms that are responsible for spoiling milk within a few days.
Normally, companies that sell this milk use the process of 'ultra-pasteurization', where the milk is heated in such a way that the microorganisms cannot settle back down even when it is kept in the refrigerator. In this process, the milk is heated for at least 15 seconds at a temperature of more than 200 °F. This is the reason why its shelf life is 20 to 30 days more than that of regular milk.
The normal expiration date for regular milk is four to six days from the date of manufacture. For organic milk, the expiration date is more than 20 days and up to 40 days from manufacture. This process brings about a negligible change in the taste of the milk. Many people experience a 'cooked like' taste even when they drink raw organic milk. Apart from this, ultra-pasteurization is also useful for those dairy producers who have to ship the milk to the distribution centers.
Due to all the above benefits, the price of this milk is a bit high. On a precautionary note, once you open a carton of organic milk, make sure that it does not come too much in contact with the outside air, as this can cause it to get spoiled.