The Importance of Organic Butter

December 24, 2008 at 9:51 am

Melissa Graham

Not everything I eat is organic. While I would love to, it’s just not yet feasible. Leaving out the issue of expense, I eat out and order in. In Chicago, we have only one certified organic restaurant, so unless every time I ate there each and every time I didn’t feel like cooking, my diet will necessarily include non-organic foods.

Read my complete breakdown of local, organic butters.

There are certain foodstuffs, however, that I try to buy organic whenever possible – dairy products top that list. Conventional dairy uses a lot of chemicals – there are pesticides and fertilizers used to grow the feed and then there are growth hormones and antibiotics to keep the cows healthy under stressful living conditions. Because the largest consumer of dairy in my house is my five year old son, I buy organic – I’m not comfortable seeing what the long term effects of consuming these chemicals will be upon him. For example, according to the Pesticide Action Network of North America, non-organic butter is ranked first as the food most contaminated with persistent organic pollutants (“POP”), a class of some of the most dangerous toxic chemicals. The chemicals enter the loop when a cow eats feed contaminated with POP, it then becomes concentrated in the cow’s milk and is concentrated even further when the milk is manufactured into the butter. I highly recommend eating either USDA certified organic butter (big “O” organic) or buying it from producers who use organic methods but are not financially able to meet the USDA certificate process (little “o” organic).

The Organic Consumers Association has posted an excellent resource from the Sierra Club: a guide to which dairy farmers and producers do not use genetically engineered bovine grown hormone (rBGH) in their cheese products.