We have all had it drilled into our heads from a young age that milk is extremely nutritious. And it is.

It’s a wonderful source of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Milk is also packed with vitamins and minerals that are central to a healthy lifestyle and balanced nutrition. It is an amazing source of calcium, which is the most abundant mineral found in the body. 99% of the body’s calcium is found in bones and teeth, where calcium levels fluctuate and change with age. This is why it is so important for people of all ages to consume a sufficient amount of calcium especially during childhood, adolescence and old age.

Required Daily Calcium Intake By Age:

Birth – 6 months: 210mg

6 months – 1 year: 270mg

1 year – 3 years: 500mg

4 years – 8 years: 800mg

9 years – 18 years: 1,300mg

Children require 1,300mg of milk a day to build strong bones as they grow. This can be achieved with getting them to drink 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk per day as well as serving them calcium rich foods daily.

I wanted to share some interesting information I recently gathered in regards to Canadian milk production versus American milk production. Canadian milk farmers do not use growth hormones in their milk production processes. There are also zero antibiotic residues found in any Canadian milk or milk products. This differs greatly from the production of American milk. Why?

rBGH and the United States

rBGH (bovine growth hormone) is used on cattle to increase milk production amongst dairy cows in the United States. All American-produced milk and milk product is genetically modified unless it bares the label “NO rBGH.” rBGH was first manufactured and developed by Monsanto Co. and marketed as Posilac. By 2000, Posilac was banned in Canada, Japan, Isreal, New Zealand, Australia and all European Union countries. Many American companies have since introduced rBST and rBGH-free products in an effort to offset the overwhelming public outcry against the use of them.

Associated Health Issues

A dairy cow that has been injected with Posilac will produce up to an additional eight pounds of milk on a daily basis during her lactation phase. Posilac works to decrease the rate of decline of production after the cow enters her “production peak.” However lucrative, these cows suffer greatly and face significant and painful health issues and conditions as a result of being injected with such drugs as Monsanto’s Posilac. Although the use of Posilac increases milk output by 11-16%, dairy cows injected with Posilac are 25% more likely to develop mastitis and 55% more likely to show signs of lameness. Mastitis is a painful disease resulting in the inflammation of breast tissue. Studies have also shown a 40% decrease in fertility in cows treated with rBGH.

The Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that milk from rBGH treated cows is safe for human consumption. Still, many countries banned the use of rBGH on dairy cows due to the animal and human health risks associated with its use. The Insulin-like Growth Factor (often referred to in its short form, IGF-1) is considered a normal growth factor, but excess levels of IGF-1 within the body have been linked to colon, prostate and breast cancer in humans. How are excess IGF-1 levels achieved? rBGH stimulates the cow’s liver to produce more IGF-1 which is then passed on to the milk the cow produces.

100% Pure Canadian Milk

In accordance with the Canadian Dairy Regulations and Codes of Practices, the Canadian government established animal welfare codes, guidelines, standards and legislation to insure the utmost care and handling of all farmed animal species found in Canada. According to a study conducted at the University of Guelph, the Canadian government regulates and eliminates the use of hormones, pesticides and antibiotics with the use of maximum residue limits (MRLs).

In regards to Canadian milk production, it is the responsibility of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario organization to collect milk samples from production sites, which are then subsequently sent off to a laboratory for testing. If any given sample exceeds the government-regulated maximum residue limit, the milk is withheld from being released to consumers. The use of veterinary drugs on animals is also regulated to ensure that potentially hazardous chemical levels found in Canadian food remain stable and safe for consumptive use.

Contrary to what some people may think, naturally occurring hormones found in Canadian milk and associated milk products are safe for human consumption. It is the use of the bovine growth hormone (rBGH), and its synthetic counterpart bovine somatotrophin (rbST), in milk production that poses several health risks to those who consume it and the animals who are injected with it. Read your labels and check your sources. Learn more about what you're putting in your (and your child's) body.

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